Case: Kentucky ARC v. Conn.

3:78-00157 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky

Filed Date: May 16, 1977

Closed Date: 1983

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 16, 1977 the Kentucky Association for Retarded Citizens and residents of Outwood, a residential treatment facility in rural Kentucky for persons with intellectual disabilities, filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against the Secretary of the Kentucky Department for Human Resources, state officials, and others. Outwood was operated by defendant Excepticon, Inc., a private corporation under contract with the Department for …

On May 16, 1977 the Kentucky Association for Retarded Citizens and residents of Outwood, a residential treatment facility in rural Kentucky for persons with intellectual disabilities, filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against the Secretary of the Kentucky Department for Human Resources, state officials, and others. Outwood was operated by defendant Excepticon, Inc., a private corporation under contract with the Department for Human Resources of Kentucky. The complaint alleged violations of the residents' First, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment Constitutional rights, the Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and state laws. The complaint sought declaratory relief and various forms of injunctive relief.

Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that the defendants did not provide adequate habitation, treatment, care, or services "designed to maximize the developmental potential of each individual." They argued that state and federal laws required the defendants to so provide "in a setting which is least restrictive of the individual's personal liberty." The complaint argued that the size and geographic isolation of Outwood created a situation in which the plaintiffs were not living in conditions that maximized their developmental potential. They argued that there was not enough staff, insufficient access to proper medical services, insufficient developmental opportunities, and difficulty in allowing families and patients to maintain contact. Accordingly, plaintiffs sought to enjoin the defendants from appropriating or spending new funds on the construction of a new facility and to bar further admission of residents into Outwood. The plaintiffs sought to instead compel the defendants to ensure that Outwood provided adequate supports, in part by creating individualized habitation plans for each Outwood resident.

The complaint sought to declare a class of children and adults. The individual plaintiffs stated they suffered from physical injury, slow or improper medical care, inadequate therapy for behavioral challenges, and a level of inattention that led to poor treatment and support. Moreover, Outwood's geographic isolation made it difficult for patients to see their families, thus losing access to that source of support.

The case was originally filed in the District Court's Paducah office, with the docket number 77-0048. In April 1978, it was transferred to the Louisville office, and given a new docket number, C78-0157. It seems to have kept the same judge, though, Chief District Judge Charles Allen.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on June 6, 1977. The defendants moved to dismiss the case eight days later, and the court denied it on August 30 of that year. In In January 1978, the court allowed several individuals to intervene as party defendants, and in August of that year it allowed the US to enter the litigation as an amicus.

The court granted class certification on January 30, 1978, defining the class as "all persons who presently reside at Outwood, and who allege their 1st, 8th, 9th, and 14th Amendment rights and their statutory rights provide [sic] them by the laws of the US and Com. of KY have been violated, provided, however that the class shall not include the intervening defendants."

Discovery continued throughout 1978 and 1979. The United States and the plaintiffs moved for temporary restraining order in November 1978, which the court denied. The parties went to trial in May 1979 and February 1980. On March 21, 1980, Judge Allen entered judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' complaint as it sought prevention of construction of a new facility. The Court also denied practically all other relief sought by the plaintiffs. Kentucky Asso. for Retarded Citizens v. Conn, 510 F. Supp. 1233 (W. D. Ky. 1980). Chief Judge Allen denied the plaintiffs' claim for attorney fees in an opinion dated July 8, 1980.

On April 6, 1982, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, specifically finding that the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 did not prohibit the building of residential facilities for patients for whom the least restrictive treatment was institutionalization. Kentucky Asso. for Retarded Citizens, Inc. v. Conn, 674 F.2d 582 (6th Cir. 1982). The court delayed the decision concerning attorneys' fees, pending a Supreme Court decision on that issue. The Supreme Court denied certiorari. Bruington v. Conn, 459 U.S. 1041 (1982). On September 30, 1983, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision denying attorneys' fees. Kentucky Asso. for Retarded Citizens, Inc. v. Conn, 718 F.2d 182 (6th Cir. 1983).

We have no further information on this matter.

Summary Authors

Angela Heverling (3/22/2007)

Virginia Weeks (11/30/2017)

People


Judge(s)

Allen, Charles Mengel (Kentucky)

Phillips, Harry (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Elswit, Lawrence S. (Kentucky)

Hinton, Henry (Kentucky)

Lawlor, Brian (Kentucky)

McHugh, Richard (Kentucky)

Newberg, Herbert B. (Pennsylvania)

Swan, Betsy B. (Kentucky)

Triplett, Henry (Kentucky)

Wolkowitz, Barbara (Kentucky)

Judge(s)

Allen, Charles Mengel (Kentucky)

Phillips, Harry (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Elswit, Lawrence S. (Kentucky)

Hinton, Henry (Kentucky)

Lawlor, Brian (Kentucky)

McHugh, Richard (Kentucky)

Newberg, Herbert B. (Pennsylvania)

Swan, Betsy B. (Kentucky)

Triplett, Henry (Kentucky)

Wolkowitz, Barbara (Kentucky)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Barber, Oliver H. Jr. (Kentucky)

Dobbins, Charles W. (Kentucky)

Durham, H. Hunter (Kentucky)

Fauri, Paul F. (Kentucky)

Fleischner, Robert D. (Massachusetts)

Hunsaker, Ann T. (Kentucky)

Kasdan, Martin Z. Jr. (Kentucky)

Kazdan, Martin Jr. (Kentucky)

Lowe, Cathy (Kentucky)

Schwartz, Steven J. (Massachusetts)

Shuffett, James A. (Kentucky)

Vandercoy, David (Missouri)

Wickliffe, Charles (Kentucky)

Other Attorney(s)

Crawford, James D. (Pennsylvania)

Grafton, Mikell (Kentucky)

Master, Barry L. (Kentucky)

Meyers, Joyce S. (Pennsylvania)

Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Reynolds, William Bradford (District of Columbia)

Rieser, Leonard (District of Columbia)

Terry, Joseph H. (Kentucky)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:78-00157

3:77-cv-00048

Original Docket

Kentucky ARC v. Conn

Sept. 16, 1980

Sept. 16, 1980

Docket
3

3:77-cv-00048

Amended Complaint

Kentucky ARC v. Conn

June 6, 1977

June 6, 1977

Complaint
384

3:78-00157

Judgment

Kentucky ARC v. Conn

510 F.Supp. 1233

March 21, 1980

March 21, 1980

Order/Opinion

80-03560

Opinion

Kentucky ARC v. Conn

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

674 F.2d 582

April 6, 1982

April 6, 1982

Order/Opinion

82-05347

Memorandum Decision

Bruington v. Conn

Supreme Court of the United States

459 U.S. 1041, 103 S.Ct. 457, 74 L.Ed.2d 609

Nov. 29, 1982

Nov. 29, 1982

Order/Opinion

80-03560

Opinion

Kentucky ARC v. Conn

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

718 F.2d 182

Sept. 30, 1983

Sept. 30, 1983

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 8, 2022, 3:18 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Kentucky

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 16, 1977

Closing Date: 1983

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Residents of Outwood residential treatment facility in Kentucky.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Kentucky Department of Human Resources , State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

State law

Medicaid, 42 U.S.C §1396 (Title XIX of the Social Security Act)

Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15001 et seq.

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Funding

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis

Mental health care, general

Mental health care, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run