Filed Date: May 28, 1982
Clearinghouse coding complete
On May 28, 1982, a group of residents of the St. Louis State School and Hospital (hereinafter "State School" or "Bellefontaine") filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against the Governor of Missouri and other state officials. They sought to bring the case on behalf of the class of all persons with mental disabilities in Missouri. The Parents Association of the St. Louis State School and Hospital (hereinafter "Parents Association"), a non-profit organization made up of relatives of some residents of the State School, were named as co-plaintiffs. The State School was a state-owned residential facility for persons with intellectual disabilities.
The plaintiffs alleged violations of the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state law as a result of substandard care and conditions at the State School. As a result, the plaintiffs sought attorneys' fees alongside injunctive and declaratory relief, specifically in the form of improved health and sanitation services; protection from abuse; more adequate care and treatment; and a freeze on staffing and budget cuts. Additionally, the plaintiffs sought to stop Missouri from transferring persons with mental disabilities to smaller-scale residences as part of the state's broader deinstitutionalization plan as an alternative to institutions such as the State School. The case was assigned to Judge Edward Filippine.
On November 9, 1982, the Acting Chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Arthur Peabody wrote a justification memo to Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division William Bradley Reynolds. In the memo, Peabody advocated to intervene in this case on the basis of supporting the finding that there were constitutional violations but opposing the proposed remedy of stopping Missouri's plan of deinstitutionalization. On November 23, 1982, Assistant Attorney General Reynolds declined to intervene, citing that the plaintiffs in the present case already were litigating the constitutional violations and had adequate legal representation and thus reasoning that the limited resources of the Special Litigation Section to other cases.
We do not have a docket for this case or other complete records, so our account is necessarily incomplete. At some point, Judge Filippine issued a preliminary injunction regarding specialized therapies for residents of the State School.
On or before February 18, 1986, Judge Filippine certified the class. On February 18, 1986, Judge Filippine further ordered that the defendants provide notice of the class and settlement to past and present residents of the State School, that had been renamed to Bellefontaine Habilitation Center.
On May 23, 1986, the parties reached a settlement and submitted a consent decree for the judge's approval. In the consent decree, the defendants agreed to provide more training for staff; permit guardians of residents to review standards of care and treatment; maintain adequate levels of sanitation and safety; adopt a more stringent relocation procedure; and to pay the plaintiffs' attorneys' fees.
Presumably the court adopted this consent decree. It was scheduled to last at least three years from its approval: "a minimum of three years and for so long as necessary to ensure that the terms of the decree are being fully implemented." We have no information on how long the term was, in the event.
Filippine, Edward Louis (Missouri)
Klein, Joel I. (District of Columbia)
McCaffrey, John T. (Missouri)
Boicourt, Michael L. (Missouri)
Cook, Timothy M. (Pennsylvania)
Filippine, Edward Louis (Missouri)
Last updated Dec. 26, 2023, 3 a.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: Missouri
Filing Date: May 28, 1982
Case Ongoing: No
Residents of the St. Louis State School and Hospital, a residence for persons with mental disabilities
Public Interest Lawyer: No
Filed Pro Se: Unknown
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Order Duration: 1986 - None
Content of Injunction:
Jails, Prisons, Detention Centers, and Other Institutions:
Disability and Disability Rights:
Type of Facility: