Recent Litigation

Focus Areas

Community Integration •  Criminal & Juvenile Justice • Education • Employment • Health Care • Involuntary Interventions • Legal Capacity

For more than five decades, CPR has used litigation to enforce rights, enhance individual choice, expand community supports, and reform service systems for people with disabilities.  It has filed injunctive cases, class action lawsuits, civil commitment appeals, individual damage actions, and amici briefs in many of the most important disability rights cases in the nation.  As a result of CPR’s litigation, tens of thousands of children receive supports in their homes and home communities; thousands of people have left psychiatric, developmental disability and nursing institutions and now live and receive support in integrated settings in the community; and new rights and standards of care have been established that elevate individuals’ independence and respect their right to make basic life choices.  

CPR also provides training and technical assistance to disability rights, public interest, and private attorneys throughout the country to represent people with disabilities, and expand their opportunities to live independently in the community.

Case List

  • 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.

  • D. Mass. 2022

    June 18, 2024: Massachusetts Court Approves Landmark Cross-Disability Settlement Agreement on Behalf of Individuals Stuck in Nursing Facilities  Following a fairness hearing on June 17, 2024, at the United States District Court in Boston, Judge Nathaniel Gorton entered a final order on June 18, 2024 approving a landmark cross-disability Settlement Agreement in Marsters v. Healey.  The […]

  • July, 2021

    CPR, the Disability Rights Center of Kansas (DRCK), the AARP Legal Foundation, and Shook Bacon LLP developed an Olmstead/PASRR case challenging the unnecessary segregation of persons with psychiatric disabilities in specialized mental health nursing facilities.  In July 2021, after several months of negotiations, CPR and their co-counsel reached an agreement with the State of Kansas that […]

  • October 2021

    In October 2021, CPR and its partners at Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with State officials from the Department of Human Services that would close admissions to sheltered workshops by July 1, 2022, close all workshops by 2026, and dramatically expand opportunities for persons with IDD to obtain Competitive […]

  • 2017

    In 2018, the State of Alabama signed a Settlement Agreement to provide a range of intensive home-based services to thousands of Medicaid-eligible youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Serious Emotional Disorder (SED).  The Agreement, entered in response to a demand letter and proposed ESDPT class action lawsuit prepared by the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program […]

  • N.D. Ga. 2017

    In 2017, parents of children with disabilities, the Center for Public Representation, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Georgia Advocacy Office, The Arc, DLA Piper LLP, and the Goodmark Law Firm filed a class action lawsuit in federal court alleging that the State of Georgia has discriminated against thousands of public school students with disabilities by providing them with a separate and […]

  • S. D. Oh. 2016

    The Center for Public Representation (CPR), Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), the law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, and attorney Sam Bagenstos filed the class action lawsuit in March of 2016 along with six named plaintiffs and The Ability Center of Greater Toledo.  The Complaint alleged that Ohio’s provision of services for people with intellectual and […]

  • D. Mass. 2014

    Class action alleging the City of Springfield violated the ADA by segregating and denying equal education to hundreds of children with mental health disabilities in the “Public Day School,” where the focus is on behavior control, including physical restraints, arrests and suspensions for minor offenses.  S.S., the lead plaintiff, had been physically restrained and isolated […]

  • D. Mass. 2014

    Challenge to state statute that permits the incarceration of women with substance use issues in prison, even though they have not been charged with a crime.  The State amended the statute to forbid the commitment of women to correctional settings and significantly expanded the availability of voluntary, community drug treatment.

  • D. Or. 2012

    This is the first class action in the nation that challenged segregated sheltered workshops as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Filed in 2012, the case, was brought on behalf of thousands of people with disabilities in Oregon’s sheltered workshop system.  Many of these individuals have spent years, even decades, stuck in […]

  • D. N.H. 2012

    This class action lawsuit alleges that New Hampshire officials violated Title II of the ADA by unnecessarily segregating individuals with serious mental health conditions in a state-operated nursing facility [Glencliff] and a state psychiatric facility [New Hampshire Hospital].  Following class certification, a comprehensive settlement agreement was negotiated and later approved by the Court in 2014.This […]

  • W.D. Tex 2010

    Class action on behalf of over 4,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in nursing facilities in Texas, in violation of the ADA, § 504, the Medicaid Act, and the Nursing Home Reform Amendments to the Act. In 2013, the parties negotiated an interim settlement that included community placements, enhanced services […]

  • 544 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2008), cert den., 556 U.S. 1166 (2009)

    Represented organizational plaintiff and class of persons in two state public DD institutions who seek community placement.  In response to the State’s announcement of intent to close a large ICF/MR, residents of facility seek to reopen an old institutional reform case, claiming a violation of the ongoing injunctive order.  The First Circuit reversed the district […]

  • D. Mass. 2008

    Class action on behalf of 9,000 persons with brain injuries in nursing facilities and rehabilitation hospitals in Massachusetts who, with appropriate supports, can live in integrated community settings.  A Comprehensive Settlement Agreement, approved by the Court in 2009, required the Commonwealth to develop community living arrangements and supports, a new community service system for persons […]

  • D. Mass. 2007

    After five years of litigation, the parties reached a settlement agreement that limited the use of solitary confinement for prisoners with mental illness and required DOC to create and maintain at least two secure treatment units as alternatives for these prisoners.  Many of the important provisions of the settlement, particularly limits on the use of […]

  • 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 as well as an agreement to make systemic reforms of hospital’s policies, procedures, and training program for ED staff.

  • 58 Mass. App. Ct. 68, 787 N.E.2d 1128 (2003)

    Civil commitment order may not restrict the movements of a committed indidvual to a building.  Decisions about privilege level are for the hospital clinicians, not judges.

  • D. Mass. 2001

    Class action case on behalf of 30,000 children with serious emotional disturbance (SED) seeking intensive home-based services, as required by the EPSDT provisions of the Medicaid Act.  The court certified a class and denied the State’s motion to dismiss (March 29, 2002).  Following a five-week trial in 2005, the Court entered a sweeping order finding […]

  • Suffolk Superior Court, 2000

    Court holds that “behavior modification” programs at Bridgewater State Hospital, a forensic prison, such as a “phase program” and the use of segregation cages are a form of restraint and violated state law.

  • Mass. 2000

    Hospital successfully petitioned to involuntarily commit and forcibly medicate a voluntary, legally competent patient at a psychiatric hospital, even though she was willing to remain at the hospital and accept other treatment.  The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that state law does not allow a hospital to petition to commit solely to obtain an expedited […]

  • D. Mass. 1998

    Class action case on behalf of almost 2000 persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in nursing facilities.  The initial Settlement Agreement approved in 1999 required the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide community placement to 1100 persons and specialized services and active treatment to all persons while they remain in a nursing facility.  After several findings […]

  • Mich. 1998

    Opponents of the state’s plan to close a public psychiatric hospital sought to enjoin the closing. Residents of the hospital successfully intervened to ensure that they were not transferred to another hospital but instead were discharged to the community.

  • Suffolk Superior Court 1996

    Damage action challenging the forcible intubation of a woman in an emergency room. The woman, who sought limited treatment in the hospital’s emergency department after experiencing an asthma attack, consented only to brief oxygen intervention. Family members, who accompanied her, also agreed only to this intervention. When the ER doctor sought to medicate her, she […]

  • S.D. Fla.1996

    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 closure of two institutions and improved discharge planning procedures and increased placements at the two other facilities.

  • D. Mass. 1995

    New England Adolescent Research Institute and United States v. Massachusetts Housing Finance Authority:  This is a housing discrimination case under the 1988 Fair Housing Act Amendments challenging state housing financing agency’s decision to withdraw support for bond financing to school for adolescents with serious emotional disturbance, in response to opposition of local town officials to […]

  • D. Conn. 1993

    Final Settlement Agreement approved in 2002 that establishes a plan for the development of community-based services as alternatives to incarceration in juvenile detention facility.

  • Mass. Superior Ct., 1992

    Class action seeking the discharge and appropriate placement of all residents of the Metropolitan State Hospital who no longer need to be institutionalized; case settled and hospital closed, with most residents placed in appropriate community settings.

  • M.D. Fla. 1989

    Class action on behalf of residents of the G.P. Wood State Hospital in central Florida resulted in a consent decree to remedy unconstitutional conditions at the Hospital, phase down of the facility, and the creation of appropriate community supports for all class members.  In 2000, the US Department of Justice intervened in support of a […]

  • (D. N.M. 1987)

    Class action on behalf of 1500 residents of New Mexico’s two institutions for persons with developmental disabilities. After a lengthy trial, the Court issued a 202 page decision in 1990 finding violations of constitutional and statutory rights, and ordered the parties to negotiate corrective action plans.  In 1997, the State elected to close both institutions […]

  • Maricopa, AZ Superior Ct, 1982

    Class action lawsuit on behalf of 23,000 people with serious mental illness in Maricopa County, Arizona, many of whom are homeless or living in unregulated congregate board and care homes.  After the Arizona Supreme Court held that a state statute requires the provision of community mental services to all persons with serious mental illness, the […]

  • D.D.C. 1976

    Long standing class action that challenged the unconstitutional conditions of confinement and lack of community supports for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the District of Columbia.  Filed in February of 1976, the case ended January 10, 2017, when the Court held the District finally was in substantial compliance with multiple court orders.  Originally, […]

  • D. Mass. 1976

    Consent decree mandated creation of comprehensive system of less restrictive alternatives for all residents of the Northampton State Hospital resulting in the closing of the institution.  Litigation concluded January 4, 1992.