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Quine v. Beard

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 28, 2017

SHILOH QUINE fka RODNEY JAMES QUINE, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO ENFORCE RE: ECF NO. 98

          JON S. TIGAR United States District Judge

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Shiloh Quine's motion to enforce the settlement agreement. ECF No. 98. The court will grant the motion in part and deny it in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         In 2014, Plaintiff Quine brought suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”), “seeking access to adequate medical care, including sex reassignment surgery, ” and certain structural changes in CDCR's treatment of transgender inmates. ECF No. 98-1 at 3. A year later, the parties reached an agreement to settle the case (the “Agreement”). The parties informed the court of the terms of the Agreement during a July 28, 2015 settlement conference.[1] The Agreement was formally lodged with the Court on August 7, 2017. ECF No. 49.

         Under the Agreement, CDCR agreed to provide sex reassignment surgery to Plaintiff. See ECF No. 49. That surgery occurred and is not the subject of the instant motion. The Agreement also required CDCR to make the following structural changes:

CDCR shall review and revise its policies to allow inmates identified by medical or CDCR personnel as transgender or having symptoms of gender dysphoria access to property items available to CDCR inmates consistent with those inmates' custody and classification factors, including property items that are designated as available to a specific gender only. Before those policies are final, Plaintiff shall have the opportunity to comment on its specific language, including provisions that limit certain property because of safety and security concerns. In addition, CDCR is reviewing and revising its policies concerning medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria, including surgery.

Id. Part III.G. Plaintiff claims that CDCR has failed to comply with this provision of the Agreement.

         The parties met and conferred about CDCR's property policy several times but could not reach an agreement. The parties then brought their dispute before Judge Vadas. The Agreement contemplates this process. It says:

The Court shall retain jurisdiction of this litigation while this Agreement's terms are being executed. Any disputes between the parties concerning this Agreement shall first be presented to Magistrate Judge Nandor J. Vadas for informal dispute resolution without prejudice to a party's right to seek formal relief from the Court.

Id. Part III.H.[2] Judge Vadas held a telephonic hearing on May 25, 2016, and issued an order on June 9, 2017. ECF No. 74. Judge Vadas directed the parties to continue to meet and confer about the property policy and identified several necessary revisions. First, Judge Vadas ordered that “[t]he policy should be revised to allow ‘inmates identified by medical or CDCR personnel as transgender or having symptoms of gender dysphoria' housed in male institutions at least some access to the following items currently only permitted in female institutions: Pajama/Nightgown, Robe, Sandals, Scarf, T-Shirts, and Walking Shoes.” Id. at 2. Second, Judge Vadas found that the “[t]he policy should be revised to allow ‘inmates identified by medical or CDCR personnel as transgender or having symptoms of gender dysphoria' housed in male institutions access to chains/necklaces in the same manner as inmates housed in female institutions.” Id. Third, Judge Vadas concluded that “the policy should be revised to allow ‘inmates identified by medical or CDCR personnel as transgender or having symptoms of gender dysphoria' housed in male institutions supervised access to the following items currently only permitted in female institutions: pumice stone, emery boards, and curling irons.” Id. As for “bracelet, earrings, hair brush, and hair clips, ” Judge Vadas concluded that those items “pose significant safety and security concerns that may justify a policy that does not allow ‘inmates identified by medical or CDCR personnel as transgender or having symptoms of gender dysphoria' housed in male institutions access to them.” Id. Finally, Judge Vadas ordered the parties to “continue to meet and confer regarding inmates' access to binders, including whether binders should be provided to transgender male inmates as a state-issued clothing item or for purchase as a specialty item.” Id. The parties continued to meet and confer about the property policy but still could not reach an agreement. Believing no further compromise was likely, Defendants elected to begin the regulatory rulemaking process to formalize the revised property policy. ECF No. 102 at 9.

         This Court held a case management conference on January 4, 2017. When it learned that disputes remained related to the property policy, the Court set a deadline of March 1, 2017 for the filing of a motion for enforcement of the settlement agreement. ECF No. 93. This motion followed.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Agreement provides that this Court retains jurisdiction over the enforcement of the Agreement. ECF No. 49 Part III.H. “The construction and enforcement of settlement agreements are governed by principles of local law which apply to interpretation of contracts generally.” Jeff D. v. Andrus, 899 F.2d 753, 759 (9th Cir. 1989) (citing Air Line Stewards v. Trans World Airlines, 713 F.2d 319, 321 (7th Cir. 1983).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff identifies three ways in which CDCR has allegedly failed to comply with the Agreement. The Court addresses each in turn.

         A. Who Is Covered by the Property Policy

         First, Plaintiff argues that CDCR breached the Agreement because the proposed property policy does not cover inmates who have “symptoms of gender dysphoria.” ECF No. 98-1 at 7. Instead, Plaintiff claims that “CDCR's revisions only apply to inmates ‘who have been diagnosed as transgender[] as documented on the CDCR Form 1280C3' by medical.” Id.

         Plaintiff is correct that the Agreement clearly contemplates the property policy covering both “inmates identified by medical or CDCR personnel as transgender or having symptoms of gender dysphoria.” ECF No. 49 Part III.G (emphasis added). But the document Plaintiff relies on for her argument is CDCR's regulation governing the referral and transfer of transgender inmates to specific institutions. ECF No. 100-4. The proposed property policy, by contrast, explicitly includes inmates with symptoms of gender dysphoria. Regarding clothing, the text of proposed regulations says: “Transgender inmates and inmates having symptoms of gender dysphoria as identified and documented in SOMS by medical or mental health personnel within a CDCR institution shall be allowed to possess the state-issued clothing that corresponds to their gender identities.” ECF No. 104-1. Regarding personal property, the proposal explains that the “Transgender Inmates Authorized Personal Property Schedule (TIAPPS) (4/28/17) identifies a separate list of allowable personal property afforded to transgender inmates and inmates with symptoms of gender dysphoria . . . .” Id (emphasis added). In other words, CDCR's proposed property policies do cover inmates with symptoms of gender dysphoria, not just those who have been diagnosed as transgender. The fact that CDCR has a different (higher) standard for transferring an inmate than for granting that inmate access to certain personal property items does ...


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