Case: United States v. Marion Superior Court

1:08-cv-00460 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana

Filed Date: April 9, 2008

Closed Date: May 2, 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 9th, 2008, the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiff sued the Marion Superior Court, which was responsible for operating the Marion Superior Court Juvenile Detention Center (MSCJDC), under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 42 U.S.C. §14141, the Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 of 29 U.S.C. §701, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1400, for depriving youths detained in MSC…

On April 9th, 2008, the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiff sued the Marion Superior Court, which was responsible for operating the Marion Superior Court Juvenile Detention Center (MSCJDC), under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, 42 U.S.C. §14141, the Rehabilitation Act, Section 504 of 29 U.S.C. §701, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. §1400, for depriving youths detained in MSCJDC of their federal statutory and constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiff alleged that MSCJDC failed to ensure that youths were adequately protected from other youths, self-harm, unreasonable isolation practices, and unsafe and unsanitary conditions, and that youths with disabilities did not have access to required special education programs. The plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

The lawsuit was borne out of an investigation of the MSCJDC by the Department of Justice (DOJ) pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. In a findings letter, the DOJ reported that MSCJDC was deficient in safeguarding the rights of its youths in several ways. First, MSCJDC was inadequately protecting its youths from violence due to inadequate staffing and training on how to de-escalate violence, inadequate youth programming leading to increased boredom and violent tendencies, an inadequate behavior management program to reward positive behavior, and inadequate housing classification to separate youths based on levels of hostility or predatory behavior. Second, MSCJDC was excessively using isolation tactics as a form of punishment and behavior management. MSCJDC staff did not distinguish in their use of isolation to address serious, violent infractions or harmless disruptive behavior, did not provide youths in isolation with essential services such as medical care, education, or programming, and failed to exercise oversight of isolation, such as requiring supervisor review or giving notice to the youth. Third, MSCJDC was inadequately protecting its youths from suicide risks through inadequate mental health care, inadequate screening for suicidal tendencies, and inadequate staff training. Fourth, MSCJDC had inadequate systems of reporting and accountability, such as for reporting grievances, investigating child abuse allegations or staff misconduct, and maintaining accurate records of reports and investigations. Fifth, MSCJDC’s facilities were insufficiently safe for the youths, subjecting them to increased risks of fire hazards, lack of sanitation, chemical exposure, and injury. Finally, MSCJDC did not provide adequate special education support, both in screening for special education needs and providing programming and staffing.

The same day that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit, the plaintiff and defendants filed a joint motion for conditional dismissal. The parties agreed to a settlement agreement, laying out provisions for how to implement needed improvements in MSCJDC’s operation on each of the issues detailed in the findings letter. Specifically, to address protection of youths from violence, MSCJDC agreed to:
(1) ensure reasonably safe premises;

(2) increase staffing;

(3) develop and implement a training curriculum for staff on behavior management, de-escalation, use of force, communication, crisis intervention, child abuse reporting, and suicide prevention before working with youth;

(4) implement an annual staff training on use of force, suicide prevention, and child abuse reporting;

(5) minimize youth idle time by providing sufficient structured programming;

(6) create a behavior management program to reward positive social behavior; and

(7) create a housing classification system.

For excessive use of isolation tactics, MSCDJC agreed to, first, develop oversight procedures regarding the use of isolation, such as ensuring supervision and notice to youths, and second, ensure that youths in isolation have access to essential medical services and programming.

For suicide prevention, MSCJDC agreed to (1) conduct timely and accurate suicide risk assessments, (2) implement a gradual step-down suicide watch program, (3) provide mental health services and emergency equipment to prevent suicides, and (4) document all suicide precautions and attempts. For systems of reporting and accountability, MSCJDC agreed to create and implement systems for child abuse reporting, internal investigations of staff misconduct allegations, and youths filing grievances. For the conditions of the facilities, MSCJDC agreed to implement a fire safety program and to develop and implement chemical, general safety, and sanitation measures. Finally, for special education, MSCJDC agreed to screen and identify youths with special education needs, provide individualized education programs, and ensure access to educational services. Judge Larry J. McKinney granted this motion on April 11th, 2008. On May 28th, 2008, the parties appointed an Agreement Coordinator to enforce the settlement agreement.

On April 9th, 2011, the settlement agreement expired after the agreed upon three-year period. On April 19th, 2011, the parties jointly moved to dismiss the lawsuit, stating that the defendants had achieved substantial compliance with 25 out of 30 of the substantive provisions of the settlement agreement, and that the parties planned to continue working to resolve the remaining provisions in the next months. Because the parties agreed that judicial oversight was no longer required, the judge dismissed the lawsuit on May 2nd, 2011. This case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Sarah Du (11/22/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Baker, Tim A. (Indiana)

McKinney, Larry J. (Indiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Abbate, Julie K. (District of Columbia)

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Delaney, Joshua (District of Columbia)

Julian, Jill Z. (Indiana)

Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Baker, Tim A. (Indiana)

McKinney, Larry J. (Indiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Abbate, Julie K. (District of Columbia)

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Delaney, Joshua (District of Columbia)

Julian, Jill Z. (Indiana)

Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Zengler, Jill E. (Indiana)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Haley, Jennifer (Indiana)

Mertz, Mark A. (Indiana)

Springer, Jennifer Lynn Haley (Indiana)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:08-cv-00460

Docket [PACER]

May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

Docket

Findings Letter

CRIPA Investigation of Marion County Juvenile Detention Center

No Court

Aug. 6, 2007

Aug. 6, 2007

Findings Letter/Report
1

1:08-cv-00460

Complaint

United States v. Marion County Superior Court

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

Complaint
5

1:08-cv-00460

Joint Motion for Conditional Dismissal

United States v. Marion County Superior Court

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

Pleading / Motion / Brief
5-1

1:08-cv-00460

Settlement Agreement Between the United States Department of Justice and the Marion Superior Court Concerning the Marion Superior Court Juvenile Detention Center

United States v. Marion County Superior Court

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

Settlement Agreement
13

1:08-cv-00460

Joint Motion for Order of Final Dismissal

United States v. Marion County Superior Court

April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011

Pleading / Motion / Brief
14

1:08-cv-00460

Order of Final Dismissal

United States v. Marion County Superior Court

May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 5, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against all defendants filed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.(DH) (Entered: 04/09/2008)

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

2

CIVIL COVER SHEET filed by Plaintiff, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (DH) (Entered: 04/09/2008)

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

3

NOTICE of Appearance by Jill E. Zengler on behalf of Plaintiff, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (DH) (Entered: 04/09/2008)

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

4

NOTICE of Appearance by Julie K. Abbate and Joshua C. Delaney on behalf of Plaintiff, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (DH) (Entered: 04/09/2008)

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

5

JOINT MOTION FOR CONDITIONAL DISMISSAL filed by Plaintiff UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; and Defendants THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT, THE HONORABLE ROBERT R. ALTICE, JR, THE HONORABLE GARY L. MILLER, THE HONORABLE TANYA WALTON PRATT, and THE HONORABLE GERALD S. ZORE. (Attachments: # (1) Exhibit A−Settlement Agreement (RESTRICTED), # (2) Text of Proposed Order)(DH) Modified on 4/9/2008 (DH). (Entered: 04/09/2008)

April 9, 2008

April 9, 2008

6

ORDER granting Joint 5 Motion for Conditional Dismissal. Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 4/11/08. (PG). (Entered: 04/11/2008)

April 11, 2008

April 11, 2008

7

SCHEDULING ORDER: Status Conference set for 5/19/2008 03:00 PM in room #204 before Judge Larry J. McKinney. Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 5/7/08.(PG) (Entered: 05/07/2008)

May 7, 2008

May 7, 2008

8

NOTICE of Appearance by Jonathan Lamont Mayes on behalf of Defendants THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT, THE HONORABLE ROBERT R. ALTICE, JR, THE HONORABLE GARY L. MILLER, THE HONORABLE TANYA WALTON PRATT, THE HONORABLE GERALD S. ZORE. (Mayes, Jonathan) (Entered: 05/09/2008)

May 9, 2008

May 9, 2008

9

SCHEDULING ORDER: Status Conference set for 5/19/2008 03:00 PM is changed to TELEPHONIC. Counsel shall call the court at 317−229−3960.(PG) (Entered: 05/16/2008)

May 16, 2008

May 16, 2008

10

ENTRY & ORDER: Parties appear by counsel for Telephonic Status Conference. See Entry & Order for details. Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 05/19/08. (GJQ) (Entered: 05/19/2008)

May 19, 2008

May 19, 2008

12

NOTICE of Substitution of Appearance by Jennifer Lynn Haley replacing Jonathan Mayes on behalf of ROBERT R. ALTICE, JR, GARY L. MILLER, TANYA WALTON PRATT, THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT, GERALD S. ZORE (Haley, Jennifer) (Entered: 04/13/2011)

April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011

13

Joint MOTION to Dismiss (Final) , filed by Plaintiff UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order of Final Dismissal)(Delaney, Joshua) (Entered: 04/19/2011)

April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011

14

ORDER granting 13 Motion to Dismiss − The Agreement and its associated Orders are terminated and this case is dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Larry J. McKinney on 5/2/2011. (REO) (Entered: 05/02/2011)

May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

Case Details

State / Territory: Indiana

Case Type(s):

Juvenile Institution

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 9, 2008

Closing Date: May 2, 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The United States Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Marion Superior Court (Indianapolis, Marion), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.

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

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

34 U.S.C. § 12601 (previously 42 U.S.C. § 14141)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Conditional Dismissal

Order Duration: 2008 - 2011

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Reporting

Monitoring

Training

Issues

General:

Aggressive behavior

Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students

Assault/abuse by staff

Bathing and hygiene

Classification / placement

Conditions of confinement

Confinement/isolation

Disciplinary segregation

Education

Failure to supervise

Failure to train

Fire safety

Grievance Procedures

Incident/accident reporting & investigations

Juveniles

Over/Unlawful Detention

Record-keeping

Recreation / Exercise

Sanitation / living conditions

Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Suicide prevention

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Mental impairment

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Mental health care, general

Self-injurious behaviors

Suicide prevention

Type of Facility:

Government-run