Case: U.S. v. South Carolina

3:09-cv-00098 | U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina

Filed Date: Jan. 15, 2009

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On January 15, 2009, the United States Department of Justice filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The United States sued South Carolina, as the owner and operator of the C.M. Tucker, Jr. Nursing Care Center, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (“CRIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. The Department of Justice conducted an investigation of Tucker pursuant to CRIPA beginning in 2006. In a findings letter of May 6, 2008, the Department …

On January 15, 2009, the United States Department of Justice filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. The United States sued South Carolina, as the owner and operator of the C.M. Tucker, Jr. Nursing Care Center, under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (“CRIPA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997.

The Department of Justice conducted an investigation of Tucker pursuant to CRIPA beginning in 2006. In a findings letter of May 6, 2008, the Department of Justice found that certain conditions and practices “substantially departed” from professionally accepted standards of care, exposing residents to significant harm and risk of harm and violating residents’ statutory and constitutional rights. Specifically, Tucker notably departed from professional standards of care in the development and review of healthcare plans; proper diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illness and proper use of psychotropic medication; management of pain and suffering; safety and fall prevention; nutrition and hydration; and safe and sanitary living conditions. As a result of these deficiencies, Tucker residents “suffered preventable injuries, illnesses, and deaths.”

The findings letter described Tucker as an “atypical nursing facility” in that nearly all of its residents have one or more psychiatric diagnoses, many patients having previously been patients in the State psychiatric hospital system. The inadequate mental health care was found especially egregious considering the population at Tucker. Despite nearly all residents having one or more psychiatric disorders, only about half of residents had been appropriately assessed by psychiatrists. Further, the investigation found inadequate psychiatric staffing to meet the needs of the population. Psychoactive medication was used inappropriately, with little to no monitoring of dose, drug interactions, or adverse side effects. Tucker failed to address behavioral issues in an organized fashion, and the inadequate behavioral programming was considered an “especially acute deficiency” given the high percentage of Tucker residents with psychiatric diagnoses exhibiting behavior problems.

Further, Tucker Center failed to properly conduct assessments to ensure that residents were receiving treatment, supports and services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The investigation identified residents who had not been evaluated for lower levels of care and possible community placement, finding that there “should be more people ready for community placement.”

The findings letter set out minimal remedial actions to remedy the deficiencies, invited the state to address the issues, and alerted the state to the possibility of a CRIPA lawsuit brought by the United States to compel remedial action. While the Department of Justice indicated that the facility had begun to take some remedial steps, it filed its complaint and the parties jointly moved for settlement the day the complaint was filed.

The parties entered a Memorandum of Agreement and moved to conditionally dismiss the action, conditioned upon the Tucker Center achieving substantial compliance with the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement. The Agreement’s contained substantive requirements addressing: 1) timely assessments and care planning; 2) nutrition and hydration care and aspiration prevention; 3) mental health assessments, psychiatrist staffing to ensure adequate psychiatric services, and proper use of psychoactive medications; 4) pressure sore prevention and treatment measures; 5) pain management and end-of-life care; 6) fall prevention and protection from other harm; 7) meaningful activity programming; 8) environmental conditions, improving food services, laundry sanitation, housekeeping, and infection control; and 9) serving residents in the most integrated setting appropriate to residents’ needs.

District Judge Matthew J. Perry approved the terms of the agreement and conditionally dismissed the case on February 17, 2009. The Department of Justice monitored South Carolina’s compliance with the requirements of the Memorandum of Agreement, and the court retained jurisdiction over the implementation and enforcement of the measures for two years.

On February 15, 2011, Judge Perry finalized and closed the settlement. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Sarah McDonald (1/24/2018)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/12375193/parties/united-states-v-south-carolina/


Judge(s)

Perry, Matthew James Jr. (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Bowens, Barbara Murcier (South Carolina)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

England, Sheridan Leigh (District of Columbia)

McDonald, Kevin F (South Carolina)

Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)

Nettles, William N (South Carolina)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judy C. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Perry, Matthew James Jr. (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Bowens, Barbara Murcier (South Carolina)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

England, Sheridan Leigh (District of Columbia)

McDonald, Kevin F (South Carolina)

Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)

Nettles, William N (South Carolina)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judy C. (District of Columbia)

Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)

Trainor, Cathleen (District of Columbia)

Wilkins, William Walter (South Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Binkley, Mark W. (South Carolina)

Lindemann, Andrew F. (South Carolina)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

United States of America v. South Carolina

Feb. 15, 2011 Docket

CRIPA Investigation of C.M. Tucker, Jr., Nursing Care Center in Columbia, South Carolina

United States of America v. The State of South Carolina

No Court

May 6, 2008 Findings Letter/Report
4-1

Memorandum of Agreement

Jan. 15, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief
1

Complaint

United States of America v. The State of South Carolina

Jan. 15, 2009 Complaint
23

Order

United States of America v. State of South Carolina

Feb. 17, 2009 Order/Opinion
25

Joint Motion for Final Dismissal

Feb. 14, 2011 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/12375193/united-states-v-south-carolina/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against State Of South Carolina, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, C M Tucker Jr Nursing Care Center, filed by United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 certificate)(ahen, ) (Entered: 01/16/2009)

Jan. 15, 2009 Clearinghouse
3

Local Rule 26.01 Answers to Interrogatories by United States of America.(ahen, ) (Entered: 01/16/2009)

Jan. 15, 2009 PACER
4

JOINT MOTION for Settlement by United States of America, State Of South Carolina, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, C M Tucker Jr Nursing Care Center. Response to Motion due by 2/2/2009 (Attachments: # 1 memorandum of agreement)No proposed orderMotions referred to Paige Jones Gossett.(ahen, ) Modified on 1/16/2009 (ahen, ). Modified on 1/16/2009 (ahen, ). (Entered: 01/16/2009)

Jan. 15, 2009 Clearinghouse
7

NOTICE of Appearance by Andrew F Lindemann on behalf of South Carolina Department of Mental Health, C M Tucker Jr Nursing Care Center (Lindemann, Andrew) (Entered: 01/20/2009)

Jan. 20, 2009 PACER
9

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF CASE NUMBER the correct number is 3:09-00098-MJP(jada, ) (Entered: 01/27/2009)

Jan. 27, 2009 PACER
10

NOTICE of Hearing: Status Conference set for 2/11/2009 11:30 AM in Columbia # 3, Matthew J. Perry Court House, 901 Richland St, Columbia before Honorable Matthew J Perry Jr. (jada, ) (Entered: 01/27/2009)

Jan. 27, 2009 PACER
11

NOTICE OF JUDGE'S FILING PREFERENCES by Clerk of Court for the Honorable Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr. (jada, ) (Entered: 01/29/2009)

Jan. 29, 2009 PACER
12

***DOCUMENT MAILED 11 Notice of Judge's Filing Preferences, 9 Notice Change of Case Number, 10 Notice of Hearing placed in U.S. Mail to Mark Binkley (jada, ) (Entered: 01/30/2009)

Jan. 30, 2009 PACER
14

NOTICE of Appearance by Barbara Murcier Bowens on behalf of United States of America (Bowens, Barbara) (Entered: 02/10/2009)

Feb. 10, 2009 PACER
15

MOTION to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Cathleen S. Trainor by United States of America. Response to Motion due by 3/2/2009 No proposed order(Bowens, Barbara) Modified on 2/12/2009 to replace with corrected document provided by filing user(jada, ). (Entered: 02/10/2009)

Feb. 10, 2009 PACER
17

Minute Entry. Proceedings held before Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr: Status Conference held on 2/11/2009. proposed order addressed, to reconvene at 4:00 today, Court Reporter Debra Jernigan. (jada, ) (Entered: 02/11/2009)

Feb. 11, 2009 PACER
18

Minute Entry. Proceedings held before Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr: Status Conference held on 2/11/2009. Court Reporter Debra Jernigan. (jada, ) (Entered: 02/11/2009)

Feb. 11, 2009 PACER
20

ORDER granting 15 Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice Signed by Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr on February 16, 2009.(rsdo, ) (Entered: 02/17/2009)

Feb. 17, 2009 PACER
21

***DOCUMENT MAILED 20 Order on Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice placed in U.S. Mail to Mark W. Binkley (jada, ) (Entered: 02/17/2009)

Feb. 17, 2009 PACER
23

ORDER DISMISSING CASE the court will retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the memorandum of agreement for a maximum of 2 years from the date of this order in accordance with sections 8 and 9 of the memorandum of agreement (docket entry 4-2 pp 32 and 33.). Signed by Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr on 2/13/09. (jada, ) (Entered: 02/17/2009)

Feb. 17, 2009 Clearinghouse
24

***DOCUMENT MAILED 23 Order Dismissing Case, placed in U.S. Mail to Mark Binkley (jada, ) (Entered: 02/24/2009)

Feb. 24, 2009 PACER
25

Joint MOTION to Dismiss Final Dismissal by United States of America. Response to Motion due by 3/3/2011 Proposed order is being emailed to chambers with copy to opposing counsel(Bowens, Barbara) (Entered: 02/14/2011)

Feb. 14, 2011 Clearinghouse
26

ORDER granting 25 Motion to Dismiss with prejudice; The Agreement and its associated Orders are terminated. Signed by Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr on 2/15/2011.(ydav, ) (Main Document 26 replaced on 2/15/2011) (ydav, ). (Entered: 02/15/2011)

Feb. 15, 2011 PACER
27

***DOCUMENT MAILED 26 Order on Motion to Dismiss, placed in U.S. Mail to Mark W. Binkley (ydav, ) (Entered: 02/15/2011)

Feb. 15, 2011 PACER
26

ORDER granting 25 Motion to Dismiss with prejudice; The Agreement and its associated Orders are terminated. Signed by Honorable Matthew J Perry, Jr on 2/15/2011.(ydav, ) (Main Document 26 replaced on 2/15/2011) (ydav, ). (Entered: 02/15/2011)

Feb. 15, 2011 PACER
27

***DOCUMENT MAILED 26 Order on Motion to Dismiss, placed in U.S. Mail to Mark W. Binkley (ydav, ) (Entered: 02/15/2011)

Feb. 15, 2011 PACER

State / Territory: South Carolina

Case Type(s):

Nursing Home Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 15, 2009

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

United States Department of Justice

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 South Carolina, State

South Carolina Department of Mental Health, State

Defendant Type(s):

Hospital/Health Department

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

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

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Conditional Dismissal

Order Duration: 2009 - 2011

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Reporting

Issues

General:

Counseling

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Incident/accident reporting & investigations

Neglect by staff

Reassessment and care planning

Record-keeping

Restraints : chemical

Restraints : physical

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Integrated setting

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Bed care (including sores)

Dementia

Medical care, general

Medication, administration of

Mental health care, general

Untreated pain

Type of Facility:

Government-run