Case: Coffelt v. Dept. of Developmental Serv.

916401 | California state trial court

Filed Date: March 1, 1990

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On March 1, 1990, a class action lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Francisco, on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities and against the State of California, the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Finance, the San Andreas Regional Center, the Golden Gate Regional Center, the Regional Center of the East Bay, and the North Bay Regional Center. The plaintiffs, represented by Protection and Advocacy, Inc., sought declaratory …

On March 1, 1990, a class action lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California for the County of San Francisco, on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities and against the State of California, the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Finance, the San Andreas Regional Center, the Golden Gate Regional Center, the Regional Center of the East Bay, and the North Bay Regional Center. The plaintiffs, represented by Protection and Advocacy, Inc., sought declaratory and injunctive relief and a writ of mandate, alleging violations of state statutes, particularly the Lanterman Act, and the California Constitution.

According to the Complaint, 2096 individuals with developmental disabilities were waiting for community referrals in California in November 1989. As a result of insufficient funding, there were neither enough community placements available nor sufficient staff to develop and administer the necessary individualized planning. As a result, members of the plaintiff class were forced to reside in institutions or with elderly parents. California placed persons with developmental disabilities at a heightened risk of physical injury and limited their interactions with non-disabled persons. The plaintiffs also claimed that the absence of individualized programming caused their independent living skills to deteriorate. For instance, one of the named plaintiffs lost the ability to use the toilet and was placed in diapers after he was unnecessarily institutionalized.

In 1993, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement, which the court apparently approved. The purpose of the consent decree was to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities would enjoy stable and high-quality community living arrangements. The terms of the settlement addressed everything from program funding and staff wages to specialized services for disabled persons with mental illness or a history of sex offense, and from individualized planning and assessment to increasing the availability of community placements.

On October 7, 1996, Protection & Advocacy issued their sixth report on the implementation of the settlement agreement. Although the lawsuit only named four regional centers as defendants, the State of California succeeded in having all seventeen Californian regional centers sign on to the agreement. The report detailed successes in the reduction of the institutionalized population, increase in community placement, improvements in services targeted at individual needs, the quality assurance program, emergency and crisis intervention, and overall quality of life. The report also raised some concerns, such as funding caps for supported living services, but noted grievance processes allowed consumers to appeal such decisions. Success seemed to be correlated with staff development and public education efforts.

On April 15, 1997, Protection & Advocacy issued their seventh report on implementation, in which they addressed a challenge to the settlement. Specifically, there had been a public call for a moratorium on deinstitutionalization, based on mortality studies. The report, generated by the plaintiffs' attorneys, argued that the quality of life enjoyed by persons placed in the community was empirically superior to that experienced in an institution. The report both celebrated the State's accomplishments and noted specifically what needed to be done in the areas of person centered planning, service coordination, community living options, affordable housing and property ownership, skill development, crisis and emergency services, quality assurance, and funding.

We do not have the docket for this lawsuit and the file contains no additional information.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Chilcoat (6/20/2006)

Andrew Junker (12/9/2014)

Related Cases

Richard S. v. Dept. of Developmental Services of California, Central District of California (1997)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Blakemore, Catherine J. (California)

Crisp, Virginia A. (California)

Gelber, Eric R. (California)

Goldblatt, Ellen Sue (California)

Gross, Joseph (California)

Juarez, Daniel (California)

Swain, Kimberly C. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Epstein, Bette B. (California)

Lungren, Daniel E. (California)

Meyers, Beverly R. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Blakemore, Catherine J. (California)

Crisp, Virginia A. (California)

Gelber, Eric R. (California)

Goldblatt, Ellen Sue (California)

Gross, Joseph (California)

Juarez, Daniel (California)

Swain, Kimberly C. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Epstein, Bette B. (California)

Lungren, Daniel E. (California)

Meyers, Beverly R. (California)

Wald, Stephanie (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

91-6401

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Petition for Writ of Mandate

Coffelt v. Dept. of Developmental Serv

California state supreme court

Feb. 27, 1990

Feb. 27, 1990

Complaint

91-6401

Settlement Agreement

Coffelt v. Dept. of Developmental Serv

California state supreme court

July 1, 1993

July 1, 1993

Settlement Agreement

91-6401

Memorandum re: Coffelt Implementation Update No.6 (Supported Life Conference Edition)

Coffelt v. Dept. of Developmental Serv

California state supreme court

Oct. 7, 1996

Oct. 7, 1996

Other

91-6401

Coffelt Implementation Update No. 7

Coffelt v. Dept. of Developmental Serv

California state supreme court

April 15, 1997

April 15, 1997

Other

Docket

Last updated Aug. 24, 2022, 3:04 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Special Collection(s):

Olmstead Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 1, 1990

Case Ongoing: Perhaps, but long-dormant

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

2096 developmentally disabled persons in California awaiting community referrals

Attorney Organizations:

NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

the State of California, the Department of Developmental Services, the Department of Finance, the San Andreas Regional Center, the Golden Gate Regional Center, the Regional Center of the East Bay, the North Bay Regional Center (San Francisco), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

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:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1993 - None

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Deinstitutionalization/decarceration

Funding

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Disability:

Integrated setting

Mental Disability:

Autism

Cerebral palsy

Developmental disability without intellectual disability

Down syndrome

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Schizophrenia

Medical/Mental Health:

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run