The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida issued a ruling to enforce COVID-19 protections for over 3,500 individuals incarcerated in the Broward County jail system.
The November 19 ruling is the result of a lawsuit filed by S&C in June 2020 in collaboration with the National ACLU, ACLU of Florida and Disabilities Rights Florida against the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. The lawsuit contended that the Sheriff’s Office failed to adequately protect incarcerated individuals from the spread of COVID-19 in the County’s four jails.
The Sheriff’s Office originally negotiated a settlement, approved and ordered by the Court, agreeing to adopt protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Upon learning that the Sheriff’s Office was not adhering to certain of these protocols—such as universal COVID testing at intake—S&C and its co-counsel filed a motion in September 2021 to enforce the settlement provisions. After a full-day evidentiary hearing, the Court agreed that the Sheriff’s Office had violated several key obligations under the settlement with which it was obligated to comply.
The S&C team representing the plaintiffs included Suhana Han, Akash Toprani, Maeghan Mikorski, Elizabeth Olsen, Hattie Middleditch, Kiran Mahal, Nicole Spaetzel, Amy Torres, Dylan Handelsman, Caleah Whitten, Riley Hanrahan, Jessica Goldman, Albert Kwan and paralegals Sarah Tichansky, Kenza Nadifi, Ella Capen, Helen Carr and Kata Heffron.