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Case: Sheila A. v. Finney

Kansas state trial court

Filed Date: 1989

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In January 1989, a local attorney seeking additional foster care beds for Shawnee County children field this lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court. The Children's Rights Project of the ACLU filed an amended petition on February 1990 and made the suit a class action, which contended that the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services of Kansas was not in compliance with state and federal law and was violating the constitutional rights of Kansas children. They described numerous instanc…

In January 1989, a local attorney seeking additional foster care beds for Shawnee County children field this lawsuit in Shawnee County District Court. The Children's Rights Project of the ACLU filed an amended petition on February 1990 and made the suit a class action, which contended that the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services of Kansas was not in compliance with state and federal law and was violating the constitutional rights of Kansas children. They described numerous instances where, they contended, the CINC program failed to provide adequate care for the named plaintiffs.

The case originally named Governor Mike Hayden as a defendant; when Governor Joan Finney took office, she was substituted for Governor Hayden. Also named as defendants were the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, the Commissioner of Youth Services, the Director of the Kansas Children in Need of Care Program, and the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS).

The trial court dismissed the Governor as a defendant because it believed it could not grant the relief sought by plaintiffs against the Governor. Plaintiffs appealed from the order dismissing the Governor, but that issue was declared moot by the Kansas Supreme Court, because in the meantime, the case had settled. Sheila A. v. Finney, 861 P.2d 120 (Kan. 1993).

The Department and the ACLU reached a settlement which the court approved in June 1993. That settlement agreement contains numerous requirements the Department has to adhere to by certain deadlines. The topics covered by the agreement included protective services, preventative services, case planning and reviews, placements, services, adoption, named plaintiffs, financial resources, staffing, training, information systems, Program Analysis Unit, monitoring, compliance, termination, and enforcement. Both ACLU and the Department agreed that compliance to the agreement would be monitored by the Department's internal quality assurance staff and by Legislative Post Audit.

In July 1995, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking attorney fees and expenses under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1988. The Shawnee District Court, James P. Buchele, J., held that plaintiffs were prevailing parties entitled to award of attorney fees, but awarded attorney fees in less than amount requested. Plaintiffs appealed. The Kansas Supreme Court, Larson, J., held that: (1) trial court abused its discretion in excluding all work that preceded settlement negotiations from eligibility for reimbursement; (2) plaintiffs were prevailing parties within terms of 42 U.S.C.A. § 1988; (3) trial court erred as a matter of law in denying plaintiffs entire claim for expenses without explanation; (4) trial court properly based attorney fees paid to plaintiffs' lead counsel on local market rates; and (5) trial court did not abuse discretion in reducing hours of out-of-state attorneys based on insufficient recording of tasks, duplication of efforts, time unrelated to litigation, and time spent on travel. Sheila A. by Balloun v. Whiteman, 259 Kan. 549 (Kan. 1996).

Summary Authors

Soojin Cha (6/20/2016)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Opinion

Kansas state supreme court

Oct. 29, 1993

Oct. 29, 1993

Order/Opinion

Legislative Post Audit

No Court

Jan. 1, 1998

Jan. 1, 1998

Monitor/Expert/Receiver Report

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6148268/r-s-c-v-sessions/

Last updated Oct. 26, 2022, 3:02 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1009682007

[10401872] Supplemental authority filed by Loretta E. Lynch. Served on 09/01/2016. Manner of Service: email. [15-9572] CLF [Entered: 09/01/2016 03:38 PM]

Sept. 1, 2016

Sept. 1, 2016

PACER
1009690071

[10405905] Supplemental authority filed by R.S.C.. Served on 09/16/2016. Manner of Service: email. [15-9572] MEA [Entered: 09/16/2016 05:27 PM]

Sept. 16, 2016

Sept. 16, 2016

PACER
1009690637

[10406136] Case argued by Maria Andrade for the Petitioner; Corey Farrell for the Respondent; and submitted to Judges Lucero, Ebel and Gorsuch. [15-9572] [Entered: 09/19/2016 01:26 PM]

Sept. 19, 2016

Sept. 19, 2016

PACER
1009703282

[10412657] Motion filed by Petitioner R.S.C. to release the oral argument recording. Served on: 10/11/2016. Manner of service: email. This pleading complies with all required (privacy, paper copy and virus) certifications: Yes. [15-9572] MEA [Entered: 10/11/2016 02:52 PM]

Oct. 11, 2016

Oct. 11, 2016

PACER
1009709308

[10415792] Order filed by Judges Lucero, Ebel and Gorsuch granting Petitioner's motion to release oral argument recording. Served on 10/24/2016. [15-9572] [Entered: 10/24/2016 08:54 AM]

Oct. 24, 2016

Oct. 24, 2016

PACER
1009808018

[10466075] Supplemental authority filed by Mr. Jeff Sessions. Served on 05/10/2017. Manner of Service: email. [15-9572] CLF [Entered: 05/10/2017 12:27 PM]

May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017

PACER
1009816019

[10470145] Supplemental authority filed by R.S.C.. Served on 05/25/2017. Manner of Service: email. [15-9572] MEA [Entered: 05/25/2017 01:40 PM]

May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017

PACER
1009866285

[10495832] Denied;Terminated on the merits after oral hearing;Written, signed, published; Judges Lucero and Ebel (authoring). Mandate to issue. [15-9572] [Entered: 09/06/2017 10:32 AM]

Sept. 6, 2017

Sept. 6, 2017

PACER
1009866292

[10495834] Judgment for opinion filed. [15-9572] [Entered: 09/06/2017 10:38 AM]

Sept. 6, 2017

Sept. 6, 2017

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Kansas

Case Type(s):

Child Welfare

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1989

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are individual children in Kansas foster care.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

ACLU Affiliates (any)

Children's Rights, Inc.

National Center for Youth Law

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services of Kansas, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1993 - None

Content of Injunction:

Hire

Monitor/Master

Auditing

Monitoring

Training

Issues

General:

Foster care (benefits, training)