Case: Capitol People First v. Department of Developmental Services

02-38715 | California state trial court

Filed Date: Jan. 25, 2002

Closed Date: 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 25, 2002, several developmentally disabled residents of California filed a lawsuit against the State of California and its Department of Developmental Services in the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda. The lawsuit was filed under California's Lanterman Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq.; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701; and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The p…

On January 25, 2002, several developmentally disabled residents of California filed a lawsuit against the State of California and its Department of Developmental Services in the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda. The lawsuit was filed under California's Lanterman Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq.; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701; and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief on behalf of a class of California residents with developmental disabilities who are institutionalized or at risk of institutionalization, alleging that the state failed to place class members in the least restrictive environment commensurate with their needs, creating unnecessary institutionalization.

Although the Superior Court (Judge Ronald Sabraw) denied the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, the California appellate court (Judge Timothy Reardon) reversed the trial court's decision and granted class certification. Capitol People First v. Dep't of Developmental Serv., 2007 WL 2772868 (Cal. App. 1 Dist. Sep. 25, 2007) (No. A113168). The trial court found that there was insufficient commonality of issues, that the representative plaintiffs would not adequately represent the putative class members, and that a class remedy would be less appropriate than individual remedies.

As to the commonality requirement, the appellate court faulted the trial court for focusing too narrowly on the details of allegations relating to the representative plaintiffs, "rather than taking a broader, systemic view concentrating on respondents' policies and practices." The appellate court found that the trial court's belief that the individualized nature of each plaintiff's individual program plan would unduly restrict the use of statistical proof at trial "would turn all pattern and practice class litigation upside down."

As to adequacy of representation, the trial court cited an argument made by a group of intervening institutionalized residents who argued that the relief sought by the plaintiffs would result in some people being removed from institutions who desired to remain there. The appellate court rejected this argument, noting that the interveners represented no more than a fraction of the class and that, at any rate, the interveners' argument went to the merits of the case and to "different philosophical perspectives on the issue of institutionalization," as opposed to any "legally cognizable antagonism."

Lastly, the appellate court found that the individual remedies proposed by the trial court were inadequate. The court reasoned that, before improved assessment and services tailored to the unique needs of individuals may be realized, "the policies that undergird decisionmaking and allocation of resources must be changed."

On April 24, 2009, the Superior Court (Judge Robert Freedman) approved a settlement agreement reached by the parties. According to a Disability Rights California press release, "The settlement provides for additional funds for case management to assist class members in state-run institutions called developmental centers (DC); improved information to class members and training for DC staff about community living options; increased state-level coordination of services for people diagnosed with developmental and mental health disabilities; and continued funding and program efforts to provide community living alternatives for class members." The settlement was set to remain in effect for three years, during which time Disability Rights California would monitor the state's performance of the settlement terms.

We have no further information on this case, but it is presumed closed.

Summary Authors

Jordan Rossen (2/4/2011)

People


Judge(s)

Freedman, Robert B. (California)

Reardon, Timothy A. (California)

Rivera, Maria P. (California)

Sabraw, Ronald M. (California)

Sepulveda, Patricia K. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bona, Jarod M. (California)

Branch, Sujatha Jagadeesh (California)

Fowler, John W. (California)

Gelber, Eric R. (California)

Goldblatt, Ellen Sue (California)

Judge(s)

Freedman, Robert B. (California)

Reardon, Timothy A. (California)

Rivera, Maria P. (California)

Sabraw, Ronald M. (California)

Sepulveda, Patricia K. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bona, Jarod M. (California)

Branch, Sujatha Jagadeesh (California)

Fowler, John W. (California)

Gelber, Eric R. (California)

Goldblatt, Ellen Sue (California)

Hardy, Todd. M. (California)

McCutchen, Bingham (California)

O'Connor, Christopher M. (California)

Potter, Amy E. Wallace (California)

Pyle, Michael T. (California)

Rita, Sherri L. (California)

Roberts, Margaret P. (California)

Rosenbaum, Stephen A. (California)

Schur, Dara L. (California)

Tracy, Michael (California)

Wheeler, Christina M. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bobak, M. Lois (California)

Boley, Todd Alexander (California)

Carson, Susan (California)

Chow, Carol (California)

Cole, Rufus L. (California)

Epstein, Bette B. (California)

Ferguson, Pamela (California)

Flaherty, Jocelyn A. (California)

Hamasaki, Lisa C (California)

Haven, Peter T. (California)

Hewitt, Henry S. (California)

Humes, James M. (California)

Kronenberg, William S. (California)

Lockyer, Bill (California)

Mackenzie, Bruce (California)

Musfelt, Duane (California)

Press, Douglas (California)

Shafsky, Hannah M. (California)

Other Attorney(s)

Affeldt, John T. (California)

Campins, Julia (California)

Hererra, Irma (California)

Kazantzis, Kyra A. (California)

McKinney, Patrick R. (California)

Peterson, Mark D. (California)

Rothschild, Richard (California)

Schlosser, Alan Lawrence (California)

Seligman, Brad (California)

Sellstrom, Oren M. (California)

Su, Julie A (California)

Trasvina, John David (California)

Zahradka, James F. II (California)

Zahradka [inactive], James (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

02-38715

Appellate Docket

California state appellate court

May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

Docket

02-38715

Docket

Feb. 14, 2008

Feb. 14, 2008

Docket

02-38715

Demurrer by State Defendants to Plaintiffs' Verified Complaint

2002 WL 32819994

May 7, 2002

May 7, 2002

Pleading / Motion / Brief

02-38715

State Defendants' Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of their Demurrer to Plaintiffs' Verified Complaint

2002 WL 32820000

May 7, 2002

May 7, 2002

Pleading / Motion / Brief

02-38715

Plaintiffs' Opposition to State Defendants' Demurrer to Plaintiffs' Verified Complaint

2002 WL 32820044

June 3, 2002

June 3, 2002

Pleading / Motion / Brief

02-38715

Order Overruling Defendents' Demurrer to Plaintiffs' Verified Complaint

2002 WL 32820139

July 10, 2002

July 10, 2002

Order/Opinion

02-38715

Fifth Amended Complaint

July 7, 2005

July 7, 2005

Complaint

02-38715

Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to the State Defendants' Answer to Plaintiffs' Fifth Amended Complaint

Dec. 27, 2005

Dec. 27, 2005

Pleading / Motion / Brief

02-38715

Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification

2005 WL 6013463

Dec. 30, 2005

Dec. 30, 2005

Order/Opinion

02-38715

Findings Letter from Disability Rights California

Jan. 4, 2006

Jan. 4, 2006

Findings Letter/Report

Resources

Docket

Last updated July 27, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Special Collection(s):

Olmstead Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 25, 2002

Closing Date: 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Certified class of all California residents with developmental disabilities who are institutionalized or at risk of institutionalization

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations

ACLU of Northern California

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Department of Developmental Services, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

State law

Medicaid, 42 U.S.C §1396 (Title XIX of the Social Security Act)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2009 - 2012

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Individualized planning

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run