Behavior Research Institute v. Office for Children

Ongoing litigation to challenge the use of physical aversives to modify behavior of severely disabled children.  CPR represented several individual students in substituted judgment cases opposing aversives, as well as a several guardians and attorneys in the class action case concerning the Commonwealth’s efforts to regulate or prohibit electric shock devices.

  • Deniz v. Behavior Research Institute (Bristol Co. Probate Court 1987) – Suit to secure the release of severely handicapped young man from the Behavior Research Institute and his placement in a less restrictive and non-aversive community program in Vermont.  Transfer approved by court.
  • In Matter of Sturtz, 410 Mass. 58 (Supreme Judicial Court 1991) – Filed an amicus brief in case challenging decision to manacle disabled student at the Behavior Research Institute, without resort to civil commitment procedures.
  • Judge Rotenberg Educational Center  (formerly Behavior Research Institute) v. Commissioner of Dept. of Mental Retardation, 424 Mass.430, 677 N.E.2d 127 (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.
  • In re the Guardianship of SB (Bristol Co. Probate Court 2016) – Successfully defended a Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) resident who sought alternative non-aversive treatment.  The probate court judge rejected a treatment plan proposed by JRC and the client’s guardian to subject her to electric shock and other restraints.  This was the first time that JRC has failed to obtain court approval of contingent shock treatment in the Bristol County Probate Court – the court that issued the 1987 consent decree permitting aversive interventions, subject to a probate court hearing. The pleadings and exhibits are impounded and not available to the public.