Case: CRIPA Investigation of Howe Developmental Center (2009)

No Court

Filed Date: 2009

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 2007, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") opened this investigation into the W. A. Howe Developmental Center ("Howe"), which was located approximately thirty miles outside of Chicago, in Tinley Park, Illinois. At the time, Howe housed 349 adult residents. The DOJ initiated the investigation pursuant to its authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. This was not the first investigation of Howe conducted by the DOJ. In 1992, after a multiyear inves…

In 2007, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") opened this investigation into the W. A. Howe Developmental Center ("Howe"), which was located approximately thirty miles outside of Chicago, in Tinley Park, Illinois. At the time, Howe housed 349 adult residents. The DOJ initiated the investigation pursuant to its authority under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

This was not the first investigation of Howe conducted by the DOJ. In 1992, after a multiyear investigation of Howe, the DOJ entered into a consent decree with the State of Illinois regarding necessary improvements to the facility. Specifically, the consent decree required Howe to make improvements in the areas of resident assessment, evaluation, and training; use of restraints; medical care; medication administration; record keeping; and staffing. However, in 1996, the DOJ stipulated to an agreed order to terminate the consent decree and dismiss the case.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") placed Howe in "immediate jeopardy" of losing Medicaid certification due to serious deficiencies identified at the facility. One year later, CMS did in fact terminate Howe's Medicaid contract. At that time, Medicaid funding provided approximately one-half of Howe's $53 million annual budget. Howe was still decertified at the time of the DOJ's finding letter in November 2009. The DOJ decided to initiate the second CRIPA investigation after receiving substantial allegations of new or continuing violations at the facility.

DOJ toured the facility in December 2007, and issued a findings letter to the Illinois Governor at the time, Pat Quinn, on November 9, 2009. Meanwhile, in 2008, after the investigation had been conducted but before the findings letter was issued, the State of Illinois announced its intention to close Howe by June 30, 2009. While the State did halt closure planning for some time, it announced its final decision to close Howe and complete all resident transitions by April 2010.

In the 2009 findings letter, the DOJ explained that numerous conditions and practices at Howe violated the constitutional and federal statutory rights of its residents. Specifically, DOJ found that Howe failed to provide residents with adequate: (1) protection from harm; (2) health care; (3) psychiatric care; (4) behavioral treatment and habilitation; (5) integrated treatment planning; and (6) transition planning and placement in the most integrated setting.

The letter went on to propose a vast array of remedial measures to address the deficiencies in the six areas discussed above. The DOJ explicitly noted that while the State had announced its plan to close the facility, the constitutional and statutory violations would have continuing effects, and the State had an obligation to provide relief to the residents of Howe in whatever setting they would eventually reside in.

According to a report by the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Howe Developmental Center did eventually close on June 21, 2010. The 181 residents present at the time were moved to other State Operated Developmental Centers. It seems as if the DOJ did not take any additional steps to bring a lawsuit against Howe. The investigation appears to be closed as it is listed under the archives category on the DOJ website.

Summary Authors

Chris Pollack (3/7/2019)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fitzgerald, Patrick J. (Illinois)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fitzgerald, Patrick J. (Illinois)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Re: Investigation of the W.A. Howe Developmental Center, Tinley Park, Illinois

Nov. 9, 2009

Nov. 9, 2009

Findings Letter/Report

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Illinois

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2009

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

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

Illinois, State

W. A. Howe Developmental Center (Cook), None

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.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Special Case Type(s):

Out-of-court

Availably Documents:

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Confinement/isolation

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Informed consent/involuntary medication

Placement in detention facilities

Placement in mental health facilities

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Medical care, general

Medical care, unspecified

Medication, administration of

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run