Case: United States v. Louisiana

3:18-cv-00608 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana

Filed Date: June 6, 2018

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 21, 2016, after a two-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division released its findings that Louisiana unnecessarily relied on nursing facilities to service people with mental disabilities in violation of the community integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. The investigation focused on Louisiana residents with serious mental disabilities who received care and services in nu…

On December 21, 2016, after a two-year investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division released its findings that Louisiana unnecessarily relied on nursing facilities to service people with mental disabilities in violation of the community integration mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C.

The investigation focused on Louisiana residents with serious mental disabilities who received care and services in nursing facilities. The DOJ found that individuals who needed to obtain health services from the state for serious mental disabilities were forced to live in nursing facilities to receive proper care. This system isolated these individuals from their communities when they could live in an integrated setting if given access to adequate evidence-based community services.

The DOJ found that around 4,000 residents with serious mental disabilities were housed in nursing facilities in Louisiana each year. These residents were generally younger, had less nursing needs and lived in the facilities longer than a typical nursing home resident. Further, the report alleged that Louisiana could likely serve these individuals more effectively and for less money in their communities.

The findings letter emphasized four key conclusions:

  • That individuals with serious mental disabilities are confined to nursing home care in Louisiana because the state does not adequately arrange community-based services or properly identify those who would benefit from such services.
  • That individuals who would benefit from community-based services don’t know these services are available because the state has not told them.
  • That many of the individuals receiving service in nursing facilities can successfully live in the community rather than institutions.
  • And that other states successfully provide these services without unnecessarily relying on nursing facilities and the Louisiana already provides many of the necessary services and could serve more people by expanding pre-existing programs.
  • The DOJ and Louisiana reached a settlement to address the findings in the DOJ's report Louisiana agreed to review and augment its current policies for the seriously mentally ill. The DOJ then filed this lawsuit alleging that Louisiana failed to serve people with serious mental illnesses in the most integrated situation appropriate to their needs in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana on June 6, 2018, and immediately moved to dismiss due to the settlement.

    Specifically, the settlement agreement focused on diversion and screening for the target population of Medicaid-eligible individuals over the age of 18 with serious mental disabilities who either reside in nursing facilities or who have been referred for review for placement in nursing facilities. The state agreed to design and implement a system designed to quickly identify individuals under review for nursing home care who would benefit from community-based services and divert them away from institutionalization. The state also agreed to screen all individuals in the target population currently in nursing home care to determine whether they should be allowed to return to the community. The screening process starts with the assumption that all individuals with serious mental disabilities in nursing homes would benefit more from community-based services.

    The agreement also called for specific elements of the plan such as outreach to affected individuals, transition support committees, post-discharge case management and tracking. It also required the expansion of community-based service programs. These included mandatory crisis support services including a 24/7 emergency hotline, intensive community support services such as psychiatric treatment and housing and tenancy support.

    In addition, the agreement stipulated that the state had to implement a quality assurance program to make sure individuals in the target population received proper care. The state also agreed to retain a subject matter expert, John O’Brien, who will provide technical expertise to help the state fully comply with the agreement and produce a report every six months on the quality and progress of the plan.

    The agreement called for an initial plan to be submitted by the Louisiana Department of Health immediately that laid out the goals and details of the first 18 months. After 18 months, the LDH must produce a yearly report detailing goals for the coming year.

    The agreement was set to expire in five years provided the parties agree that the state has established compliance with the agreement and maintained compliance for one year. Under the settlement, the court retained jurisdiction and DOJ could reinstate the suit at any time to remedy a breach of the settlement as long as it first followed the dispute resolution laid out in the agreement. The case is ongoing for compliance with the settlement agreement.

    Summary Authors

    Michael Cronin (3/23/2021)

    People

    For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7069112/parties/united-states-v-the-state-of-louisiana/


    Judge(s)

    DeGravelles, John Wheadon (Louisiana)

    Wilder-Doomes, Erin (Louisiana)

    Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

    Bohan, Mary (District of Columbia)

    Fremin, Brandon J (Louisiana)

    Gaupp, John (Louisiana)

    Gore, John M. (District of Columbia)

    Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

    Mallinson, Catharine A. (New Hampshire)

    Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

    Attorneys(s) for Defendant

    Russo, Stephen Robert (Louisiana)

    Judge(s)

    DeGravelles, John Wheadon (Louisiana)

    Wilder-Doomes, Erin (Louisiana)

    Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

    Bohan, Mary (District of Columbia)

    Fremin, Brandon J (Louisiana)

    Gaupp, John (Louisiana)

    Gore, John M. (District of Columbia)

    Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

    Mallinson, Catharine A. (New Hampshire)

    Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)

    Attorneys(s) for Defendant

    Russo, Stephen Robert (Louisiana)

    Sullivan, Kimberly Lacour (Louisiana)

    Documents in the Clearinghouse

    Document

    Docket [PACER]

    The United States of America v. The State of Louisiana

    June 7, 2018 Docket

    RE: United States' Investigation, Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, of Louisiana's Use of Nursing Facilities to Serve People with Mental Health Disabilities

    [No case name]

    No Court

    Dec. 21, 2016 Findings Letter/Report
    1

    Complaint

    U.S. v. Louisiana

    June 6, 2018 Complaint
    2-1

    Agreement to Resolve Department of Justice Investigation

    U.S. v. Louisiana

    June 6, 2018 Settlement Agreement

    Docket

    See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/7069112/united-states-v-the-state-of-louisiana/

    Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

    ECF Number Description Date Link
    1

    COMPLAINT against State of Louisiana, filed by United States. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment Civil Cover Sheet)(Gaupp, John) (Entered: 06/06/2018)

    1 Attachment Civil Cover Sheet

    View on PACER

    June 6, 2018 RECAP
    2

    Joint MOTION to Dismiss by United States. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A: Agreement to Resolve)(Gaupp, John) (Entered: 06/06/2018)

    June 6, 2018 PACER
    3

    NOTICE of Appearance by United States (Gaupp, John) (Entered: 06/06/2018)

    June 6, 2018 PACER
    4

    ORDER granting 2 Joint Motion to Dismiss. This matter is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, subject to retention of jurisdiction and reinstatement upon the United States motion for the purpose of resolving any claim that Defendant materially breached any provision of the Agreement, pursuant to Paragraph 127 of the Agreement. Each party shall bear its own costs. Signed by Judge John W. deGravelles on 6/7/2018. (LLH) (Entered: 06/07/2018)

    June 7, 2018 RECAP

    State / Territory: Louisiana

    Case Type(s):

    Public Benefits/Government Services

    Special Collection(s):

    Olmstead Cases

    Key Dates

    Filing Date: June 6, 2018

    Case Ongoing: Yes

    Plaintiffs

    Plaintiff Description:

    U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division

    Plaintiff Type(s):

    U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

    Attorney Organizations:

    U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

    Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

    Filed Pro Se: No

    Class Action Sought: No

    Class Action Outcome: Not sought

    Defendants

    State of Louisiana , State

    Defendant Type(s):

    Hospital/Health Department

    Case Details

    Causes of Action:

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

    Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

    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

    Issues

    General:

    Placement in mental health facilities

    Reasonable Accommodations

    Reasonable Modifications

    Discrimination-basis:

    Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

    Disability:

    Integrated setting

    Least restrictive environment

    Mental impairment

    Mental Disability:

    Mental Illness, Unspecified

    Type of Facility:

    Government-run