delays and promises, and without any tangible indications of accomplishments, the Court refuses to stay its hand based on yet more promises of future reforms. First, the District has not proposed any reforms which would correct the illegal provisions included in its 1987 rules. As explained above, these provisions demonstrate the District's continuing efforts to block access to the grievance procedure through unreasonably short limitations periods and inadequate notice, and its efforts to divest control from supposedly independent hearing officers through the selection system and the broad scope of administrative review. The decision to incorporate these provisions in its 1987 rules after being on notice for several years of the plaintiffs' challenges, confirms the District's hostility to an independent, effective grievance process and undermines any claims that it has a long term commitment towards remedying the procedure.
Further, each of the proposed "reforms" made on the eve of trial have yet to be instituted. The District's recent proposals to establish an independent office of fair housing, to expand training programs on the operation of the grievance procedures and to implement a computer system which will track the status of all grievances are praiseworthy as a first step towards preventing a continuation of their past abysmal performance. But "promises of reform" offer no basis for withholding injunctive relief. Other courts considering eleventh hour reforms have imposed a heavy burden on the defendants to show that there will be no recurrence of the violations before even considering whether to defer injunctive relief. Campbell v. McGruder, 188 U.S. App. D.C. 258, 580 F.2d 521, 540 (D.C. Cir. 1978) (court upheld order for injunctive relief to improve jail conditions concluding that the District's occasional and sporadic efforts to upgrade the facilities during the five-year pendency of the litigation did not constitute the necessary commitment to long range continuing effort in compliance); NAACP v. City of Evergreen, Alabama, 693 F.2d 1367, 1370 (11th Cir. 1982) (where there is "abundant evidence of consistent past discrimination, injunctive relief is mandatory absent clear and convincing proof that there is no reasonable probability of further noncompliance with the law"). Given the District's record of recalcitrance and its stubborn refusal to bring its rules into compliance with federal law, the Court refuses to stay its hand based on future promises.
After continually assuring the Court that it was improving its grievance procedure, the District has still failed to provide hearings in a timely fashion.
One would think that at least while the Court has these motions under advisement, the defendants would institute a model program and attempt to respond to grievances in a timely fashion. Their continued failure to implement a functional system consonant with federal law demonstrates the stark insincerity of their promises that they are combating the core problems besieging the grievance procedure. The District's intractable resistance to reform confirms the low probability of compliance with federal requirements, absent court intervention.
Accordingly, summary judgment is entered for the plaintiffs. The defendants' motion to stay proceedings is denied.
An appropriate order will be entered.