One significant way that the Center for Public Representation has worked to carry out its mission to enforce and enhance the legal rights of persons with disabilities is through individual and class action litigation. For the past thirty years, the Center's experienced attorneys have successfully pursued a variety of cases for their clients. Some cases have sought to enforce individual rights or to remedy a serious wrong done to a particular person. Other cases, in Massachusetts and elsewhere, have sought to significantly reform the systems which are intended to serve people with disabilities. The Center has also filed influential amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs in important cases throughout the country. Below is a list of some of the Center's most important litigation.
Disability Law Center v. Dennehy (D. Mass. 2007) - Challenging the misuse of segregation in Massachusetts prisons on prisoners with mental illness. Disability Law Center v. Dennehy complaint.
Hutchinson v. Patrick (D. Mass. 2008) – Class action on behalf of 9,000 persons with brain injuries in nursing facilities and rehabilitation hospitals in Massachusetts who need appropriate supports so that they can live in integrated community settings. The Commonwealth entered into a comprehensive settlement agreement, approved by the district court, which will result in the development of almost 2,000 new community living arrangements and supports, a new community service system for persons with brain injuries, a quality assurance and oversight program, and an education and outreach initiative for all class members.
Attorney's fees – 683 F. Supp. 2d 121 (D. Mass. 2010), aff'd. 636 F. 3d 1 (1st Cir. 2011)
Ricci v. Okin, 544 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2008) – In response to State’s announcement of intent to close a large ICF/MR, residents of facility seek to reopen old institutional reform case, claiming a violation of the ongoing injunctive order; First Circuit reverses district court’s decision to reopen case and prohibit the closure of the facility.
Sampson v. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (D. Mass. 2006) – Civil rights damage action challenging the mandatory search, restraint, and forcible stripping of a woman with psychiatric disabilities in the hospital’s emergency department. Case settled for significant damages and systemic reforms of hospital's policies, procedures, and training program for ED staff. Sampson v. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center complaint.
MPAS v. Caruso, (WD Mich 2006) - Challenging the lack of mental health and special education services for young prisoners in adult jails in Michigan. The case also challanges the misuse of segregation with young prisoners with mental illness. MPAS v. Caruso amended complaint. MPAS amended complaint
Rosie D. v. Romney, (D. Mass. 2001) - Class action case on behalf of 30,000 children with serious emotional disturbance seeking intensive home-based services; class certified and motion to dismiss denied (March 29, 2002); First Circuit holds that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar Medicaid recipients from asserting right to home based services under EPSDT; District court enters sweeping order finding Commonwealth in violation of federal law for failing to provide home-based services and enters broad remedial relief.
759 F. Supp. 2d 146 (D. Mass. 2011) – District court grants plaintiffs' second significant fee award for negotiating, implementing, and monitoring remedial plan
593 F. Supp. 2d 395 (D. Mass. 2009) – District court awards plaintiffs' counsel more than $7,100,000 in fees and costs for exceptional success
497 F. Supp.2d 76 (D. Mass. 2007) – District court enters final judgment, adopting remedial plan that covers all Medicaid-eligible children with SED
474 F. Supp.2d 238 (D. Mass. 2007) – District court adopts defendants’ proposed remedial plan with significant modifications. Court expands the scope of children eligible for remedial services, add timelines, expands enforcement authority and eliminates end dates for court oversight.
410 F. Supp.2d 18 (D. Mass. 2006) – District court holds that the Commonwealth is violating the Medicaid Act by failing to provide home-based services for children with serious emotional disturbance
310 F.3d 230 (1st Cir. 2002) - First Circuit holds that the Eleventh Amendment does not bar Medicaid recipients from asserting right to home based services under EPSDT
256 F. Supp. 2d 115 (D. Mass. 2003) - District court decides that state Medicaid agency is responsible for actions, decisions, and documents generated by any contracted managed care organization, and that plaintiffs are entitled to all confidential information about classmember children as well as non-classmembers pursuant to a protective order
Emily J. v. Rell, (D.Conn) - Settlement Agreement establishes a plan for the development of community-based services as alternatives to residential treatment for youth in juvenile detention. Home based services are intended to divert youth from the long term care. The federal court approved the agreement in 2004. Emily J. v. Rell agreement.
Brown v. Bush, (S.D. Fla. 2003), 94 Fed Appx. 879 (11th Cir. 2006) - Class action on behalf of 1200 persons with developmental disabilities in four Florida state institutions seeking integrated community services; settlement agreement entered June 2005 requiring the closing of two institutions and improved discharge planning procedures and increased placements at the two other facilities. Court of Appeals rejects objection to settlement and affirms denial of intervention and class decertification.
Rolland v. Cellucci, (D. Mass. 1998) - Class action case on behalf of 2000 persons with mental retardation or developmental disabilities in nursing facilities; first Settlement Agreement requires state to provide community placement to 1100 persons and specialized retardation services and active treatment to all persons while they remain in a nursing facility. After several findings of noncompliance for failing to provide a full regimen of active treatment services, the court adopted CMS’ active treatment standards, appointed a court monitor, and approved a detailed monitoring protocol. The Commonwealth subsequently entered into a new Settlement Agreement on Active Treatment which will result in the creation of community placements for an additional 650 class members. Case was settled and dismissed in May, 2013. See Nursing Facilities page.
1999 WL 34815562 (D. Mass., Feb. 2, 1999) – certifying class
52 F.Supp.2d 231 (D. Mass. 1999) - motion to dismiss denied
191 F.R.D. 3 (D. Mass. 2000) - settlement approved
106 F.Supp.2d 128 (D. Mass. 2000) - fee award
138 F.Supp.2d 110 (D. Mass. 2000) - enforcement proceeding results in finding of noncompliance
151 F.Supp.2d 145 (D. Mass. 2001) - second fee award
164 F.Supp.2d 182 (D. Mass. 2001) - supplementary fee decision
198 F.Supp.2d 25 (D. Mass. 2002) - further relief ordered; Commonwealth required to develop single treatment plan, with single case manager, for each resident of a nursing facility and to ensure that all residents receive active treatment consistent with federal ICF-MR standard
318 F.3d 42 (1st Cir. 2003) - NHRA and PASARR regulations create enforceable rights; States must provide persons with mental retardation with active treatment
273 F.Supp.2d 140 (D. Mass. 2003) – denying motion for contempt but requiring that all class members receive active treatment by December 2003
292 F.Supp.2d 268 (D. Mass. 2003) (fees-4)
2007 WL 184626 (D. Mass. 2007) – denying motion to lift stay as to diversion provisions of settlement agreement but requiring modifications to State’s diversion plan.
483 F.Supp.2d 107 (D. Mass. 2007) – finding noncompliance with active treatment requirements, requiring adoption of federal active treatment standards and protocols, and appointing a monitor.
562 F.Supp.2d 176 (D. Mass. June 16, 2008) – approving new settlement agreement that requires the State to place an additional 640 nursing facility residents, to provide transition services to all class members who will move to the community, and to provide active treatment to those who will not.
2010 WL 157475 (1st Cir. Jan. 19, 2010) – affirming approval of settlement and rejecting challenges to class certification
Taunton State Hospital v. Carrara, 2000 Mass. App. Div. 274 - Reversing civil commitment judge's order restricting patient to his ward as beyond the authority of the court. The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the Appellate Division. More information on the Carrara case on the Mental Health page.
Alliance for the Mentally and Barry K. v. Michigan, 588 N.W.2d 133 (1998) - successful representation of intervenor hospital residents in case seeking to enjoin closing of state hospital to ensure that residents are not needlessly held in facility or transferred to another hospital instead of being discharged
Johnson v. Bradley, (M.D.Fla. 1989) - Implementation of consent decree to remedy unconstitutional conditions at G.P.Wood State Hospital, to phase down the facility, and to create appropriate community supports for all class members; co-counseled month long trial in August 2000 in conjunction with the Department of Justice which sought to remedy constitutional and statutory violations through complaint in intervention; as a result of consent decree and trial, hospital closed in 2002 and all residents placed in community living arrangements
2001 WL 1891711 (M.D. Fla. 6/28/01) - facility and community in compliance with federal law
348 F.3d 1334 (11th Cir. 2003) - district court properly refused to terminate consent decree because State had not proven compliance or changed circumstances sufficient to relieve it from compliance; prior (2001) ruling in related case did not provide valid grounds for terminating or modifying decree concerning community services
Olmstead v. L.C., 119 S.Ct. 2176 (2000) - Coordinated seven amici briefs in support of respondents arguing that the ADA's integration provision precludes segregation and requires community placement of persons with disabilities
Department of Corrections v. Yetsky, 108 S.Ct. (1998) - Filed two amici briefs in support of the respondent arguing that the ADA applies to state prisons and that Congress has the authority, under the Section 5 of 14th Amendment, to prevent discrimination in the operation of state facilities and programs
Jackson v. Fort Stanton State Hospital and Training School, (D. N.M. 1987) – Class action on behalf of 1500 residents of New Mexico’s two institutions for persons with developmental disabilities. Court finds violations of constitutional and statutory rights, and orders sweeping remedial relief
757 F. Supp. 1231 (D. N.M. 1990) - Court orders institutional improvements and development of community service system for persons with retardation in two state schools; ongoing oversight in implementation of court order
964 F.2d 980 (10th Cir. 1992) - Court of Appeals upholds district court's order to develop plan for remedying constitutional violations in institutions and with respect to the failure to implement treatment teams' recommendations for community placement; reverses portion of injunction requiring team to plan without regard to resources
1997 settlement agreement results in closure of all state institutions and placement of all class members in appropriate community living arrangements with habilitation and specialized supports; supplemental settlement agreement requires state to substantially enhance community service system, develop new supported employment, behavior, sexuality, crisis, medical, and assistive technology programs, and restructure its incident management and quality enhancement systems; subsequent noncompliance motions result in additional systemic relief, appointment of monitor, and Rule 706 Expert
Alabama Disability Law Center v. J.S. Tarwater Developmental Center, 97 F.3d 492 (11th Cir. 1996) - Amici brief supporting right of Alabama protection and advocacy program to records of individuals who may have been subjected to abuse or neglect.
Maryland Disability Law Center v. Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital, 664 A. 2d 16 (1995) - Amicus brief in case establishing right of protection and advocacy agency to determine probable cause of abuse or neglect.
Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 110 S.Ct 1028 (1990) - amicus brief in right to refuse treatment case.
Arnold v. Department of Health Services, 775 P.2d 593 (Ariz. 1989) - State statute requires state agency to provide appropriate mental health services to all residents of Maricopa County with serious mental illness; implementation of complex remedial plan to establish comprehensive community mental health system; Governor joined as defendant to facilitate relief (2000); subsequent noncompliance motions result in additional systemic relief
Shine v. Vega, (Mass. Super. Ct 1993) - Damage action on behalf of woman with acute asthma who was restrained and forcibly treated in emergency room of large teaching hospital; jury verdict and instructions reversed by the Supreme Judicial Court, 429 Mass. 456, 709 N.E.2d 58 (1999),which held that emergency room patient has a right to refuse even life saving treatment
Acting Superintendent of Bournewood Hospital v. Baker, 702 Mass.101 (2000) - Supreme Judicial Court prohibits private hospital's practice of seeking expedited court order for the involuntary medication of a voluntary patient
Gannon v. Correctional Medical Services (Mass. Super. Ct.) - Civil rights damage action on behalf of a man with chronic diabetes who died from inadequate medical care in a state forensic hospital.
Behavior Research Institute v. Campbell, 424 Mass. 430, 677 N.E.2d 127 (Supreme Judicial Court 1997) - Department of Mental Retardation held in contempt of earlier settlement agreement which allows private provider that employs painful aversive punishment techniques to continue to operate
People First v. Rainier, (D. Wash. 1997) - Class action case on behalf of residents of the Rainier Developmental Center challenging illegal conditions of confinement and unnecessary segregation, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal laws
Hashimi v. Kalil, 388 Mass. 607, 446 N.E.2d 1387 (1983) - Establishing right of persons subject to petitions for civil commitment to have the petition dismissed if their hearings do not commence within statutory time frames
J.A. v. Forman, (Mass. Super. Ct.) - Class action on behalf of inmates of county jail who have been denied minimally adequate mental health treatment
Judge Rotenberg Educational Center v. Commissioner of Dept. Of mental Retardation, 422 Mass.430, 677 N.E.2d 127 (Supreme Judicial Court 1997) - Department of Mental Retardation held in contempt of earlier settlement agreement which allows private provider that employs painful aversive punishment techniques to continue to operate
McCarthy v. Mana Kana Maui Resorts, (D. Hawaii) - Damage action on behalf of man with profound physical disabilities who was injured as a result of lack of adequate access to restaurant
Kadlick v. Department of Mental Health, 431 Mass. 850, 731 N.E.2d 495 (2000) (awarding fees, describing case)- Challenge to practice of applying SSI funds of state hospital residents to pay charges for care; DMH agrees to terminate practice and revises regulations to prohibit use of federal SSI benefits for state hospital bills
Lambourne v. Bank of Boston, (D. Mass. 1996) - Challenge to discriminatory long term disability policy which limits benefits for persons with mental disabilities but not physical disabilities; case settled for all retroactive long term disability benefits
Mahoney v. Weld, (Mass. Super. Ct. 1995) - State statute which prohibits discharges of persons with disabilities from certain state institutions that were targeted for closure is unconstitutional
Rockwell v. Cape Cod Hospital, 26 F.3d 254 (1st Cir. 1994) - Civil commitment by private hospital and private psychiatrists as state action
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