Case: Behavioral Research Institute v. Secretary of Administration

Massachusetts state trial court

Filed Date: 1989

Closed Date: Sept. 4, 1990

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The Behavioral Research Institute, now known as the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, is a Massachusetts-based, residential care facility for children and young adults with severe autism associated with behavioral problems. JRC is known for its use of aversive treatments, such as electric shock therapies, to disincentives undesirable behavior. As a result of its use of aversive treatments, JRC has been controversial and the subject of several lawsuits. This case, along with ID-MA-0002 and ID-…

The Behavioral Research Institute, now known as the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, is a Massachusetts-based, residential care facility for children and young adults with severe autism associated with behavioral problems. JRC is known for its use of aversive treatments, such as electric shock therapies, to disincentives undesirable behavior. As a result of its use of aversive treatments, JRC has been controversial and the subject of several lawsuits. This case, along with ID-MA-0002 and ID-MA-0004, are some of the cases brought surrounding various issues related to JRC.

In 1989, JRC and two individuals student at JRC filed a lawsuit in Bristol, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court against the Administrator of the Massachusetts Rate Setting Commission ("Commission") and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) (later amended and recodified as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)), and state law requiring individualized service plans. They also sought contempt for violation of a settlement agreement between the Rate Settlement Commission and JRC. JRC, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief to require the Commission to reimburse JRC $153,351 in tuition that JRC claimed it was owed by the Commission. The plaintiffs claimed that its students had a right to a free and appropriate public education under federal law that was being denied by the Commission's refusal to pay an adequate rate. Lastly, the plaintiffs contend that a settlement agreement between JRC and the Commission set an agreed rate and thus required that amount to be paid to JRC.

The Probate and Family Court (Judge Earnest Rotenberg) reported the case to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for their determination granting a temporary rate to be paid while the case was pending.

On September 4, 1990, the Supreme Judicial Court overruled the Family and Probate court. The court found that the right to a free and appropriate education under EHA (now IDEA) and appropriate treatment under state law does not require the payment of a specific rate. The court further concluded that a settlement between the Commonwealth and a private party cannot set a rate of payment unless specific services were negotiated which was not the case. The Court ordered the case remanded to the Probate Court with judgment entered in favor of the defendants with the case to be dismissed. Behavioral Research Institute v. Secretary of Administration 411 Mass. 73 (1990).

Summary Authors

Brian Kempfer (9/25/2014)

Related Cases

Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. v. Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation, Massachusetts state trial court (1986)

Petition of Kaufman, Massachusetts state trial court (1991)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6148834/parties/in-re-sierra-club-inc/


Judge(s)

Greaney, John M. (Massachusetts)

Liacos, Paul J (Massachusetts)

Lynch, Neil L. (Massachusetts)

Nolan, Joseph R. (Massachusetts)

Wilkins, Herbert P. (Massachusetts)

Judge(s)

Greaney, John M. (Massachusetts)

Liacos, Paul J (Massachusetts)

Lynch, Neil L. (Massachusetts)

Nolan, Joseph R. (Massachusetts)

Wilkins, Herbert P. (Massachusetts)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

86E-0018-G1

Opinion [Vacating Preliminary Injunctions and Remanding Case]

Massachusetts state supreme court

406 Mass. 787

March 6, 1990

March 6, 1990

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6148834/in-re-sierra-club-inc/

Last updated June 26, 2022, 3 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
107092427

RESPONSE filed by Petitioner Sierra Club, Inc. to motion to extend time to file response [6054466-3]. Certificate of service dated 12/14/2016. [16-2415] CLERK'S NOTE: Relief selection was incorrect and/or incomplete. Correction made by clerk's office. No further action required. (HMC) [Entered: 12/14/2016 11:23 AM]

Dec. 14, 2016

Dec. 14, 2016

PACER
107093021

ORDER entered: Upon consideration of respondent's motion to extend time and petitioner's response, it is ordered that the time for Respondent to file a response be enlarged to and including January 13, 2017. No further extension of this deadline should be expected. [16-2415] (GRC) [Entered: 12/14/2016 04:58 PM]

Dec. 14, 2016

Dec. 14, 2016

PACER
107097122

MOTION for leave to intervene on behalf of Respondent filed by Movant(s) Public Service Company of New Hampshire. Certificate of service dated 12/23/2016. [16-2415] (SMT) [Entered: 12/23/2016 12:09 PM]

Dec. 23, 2016

Dec. 23, 2016

PACER
107100465

NOTICE issued. The following attorneys have failed to register for an appellate ECF account and will no longer receive notice of court issued documents in this case: Regina McCarthy for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Curt Spalding for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [16-2415] (CP) [Entered: 01/04/2017 10:30 AM]

Jan. 4, 2017

Jan. 4, 2017

PACER
107103044

ORDER entered by Jeffrey R. Howard, Chief Appellate Judge granting motion for leave to intervene filed by Public Service Company of New Hampshire. Response to the mandamus petition due 01/13/2017 for Public Service Company of New Hampshire. [16-2415] (CP) [Entered: 01/11/2017 10:31 AM]

Jan. 11, 2017

Jan. 11, 2017

PACER
107104241

ANSWER filed by Respondent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to original proceeding docketed [6050046-2]. Certificate of service dated 01/12/2017. [16-2415] (HEG) [Entered: 01/12/2017 11:13 PM]

Jan. 12, 2017

Jan. 12, 2017

PACER
107105672

RESPONSE filed by Intervenor Public Service Company of New Hampshire to original proceeding docketed [6050046-2]. Certificate of service dated 01/13/2017. [16-2415] (SMT) [Entered: 01/13/2017 05:15 PM]

Jan. 13, 2017

Jan. 13, 2017

PACER
107110517

REPLY filed by Petitioner Sierra Club, Inc. to response [6062318-2], answer [6061546-2]. Certificate of service dated 01/26/2017. [16-2415] (HMC) [Entered: 01/26/2017 02:09 PM]

Jan. 26, 2017

Jan. 26, 2017

PACER
107143821

JUDGMENT entered by Jeffrey R. Howard, Chief Appellate Judge; Sandra L. Lynch, Appellate Judge and Rogeriee Thompson, Appellate Judge. Denied [16-2415] (CP) [Entered: 04/19/2017 03:01 PM]

April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Massachusetts

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1989

Closing Date: Sept. 4, 1990

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Residential school that treats students with severe disabilities including autism and mental illness

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400

State law

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Confession of Judgment

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Education

Juveniles

Payment for care

Placement in mental health facilities

Rehabilitation

Special education

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Autism

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Type of Facility:

Non-government for profit