Case: New Jersey ARC v. N.J. Dept. Human Services

Not available | New Jersey state trial court

Filed Date: March 16, 1977

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On March 16, 1977, residents at the Hunterdon State School, a state-run residential institution for people with intellectual disabilities in Clinton, New Jersey, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all present and future residents of the School against the State. They brought the suit in the Superior Court of Hunterdon County, and asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. They alleged that the State failed to tailor education and training programs to individuals' needs, and…

On March 16, 1977, residents at the Hunterdon State School, a state-run residential institution for people with intellectual disabilities in Clinton, New Jersey, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all present and future residents of the School against the State. They brought the suit in the Superior Court of Hunterdon County, and asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief. They alleged that the State failed to tailor education and training programs to individuals' needs, and to facilitate these programs in the least restrictive setting feasible.

Before the suit came to trial, the defendants attempted to improve the conditions at Hunterdon by complying with federal standards under the Intermediate Care Facility/ Mentally Retarded Program guidelines. The State created new staff positions and habilitation teams to develop an individualized plan for each resident.

The case proceeded to a non-jury trial in October and November, 1979. In an oral opinion, the court (Judge Morton Greenberg) held that the State had not violated the residents' statutory or constitutional rights, finding that, by the time of the trial, the conditions at Hunterdon had improved and that the defendants were complying with their legal obligations to the residents. The court dismissed the Complaint on November 30, 1979. The Appellate Division affirmed on March 2, 1981.

The plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, seeking declaratory judgment as to the State's the legal obligations to Hunterdon residents. On May 13, 1982, the Court (Justice Morris Pashman) held that, under the Developmentally Disabled Rights Act of 1977, N.J.S.A. 30:6D, child Hunterdon residents had the right to a thorough and efficient education suited to each child's needs. Further, all Hunterdon residents had the right to treatment, training, habilitation, care, and protection. Finally, these services were to be provided in the setting that was least restrictive to their personal liberty but still compatible with their personal needs. N.J. Ass'n for Retarded Citizens, Inc. v. N.J. Dep't of Human Serv., 445 A.2d 704 (N.J. 1982).

We have only the N.J. Supreme Court opinion in the case, so do not know what happened on remand.

Summary Authors

Laura Uberti (7/20/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Pashman, Morris (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Eisdorfer, Stephen (New Jersey)

Morheuser, Marilyn J. (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Conley, Erminie L. (New Jersey)

Harned, Barbara A. (New Jersey)

Kimelman, Irwin (New Jersey)

Wallach, Steven D. (New Jersey)

Judge(s)

Pashman, Morris (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Eisdorfer, Stephen (New Jersey)

Morheuser, Marilyn J. (New Jersey)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Conley, Erminie L. (New Jersey)

Harned, Barbara A. (New Jersey)

Kimelman, Irwin (New Jersey)

Wallach, Steven D. (New Jersey)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Opinion

N.J. Assoc. for Retarded Citizens Inc. v. N.J. Dept. of Human Services

New Jersey state supreme court

445 A.2d 704

May 13, 1982

May 13, 1982

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 1, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New Jersey

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 16, 1977

Case Ongoing: Unknown

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All present and future residents of Hunterdon State School

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

New Jersey Department of Human Services, State

Hunterdon State School (Clinton, Hunterdon), None

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

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

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Education

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run