Case: Society for Good Will to Retarded Children Inc. v. Cuomo

1:78-cv-01847 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Filed Date: Aug. 23, 1978

Closed Date: 1993

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On August 23, 1978, the Society for Good Will to Retarded Children filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of residents of the Suffolk Developmental Center (later called Long Island Developmental Center), an institution for people with intellectual disabilities in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit sought to improve conditions at the facility and provide small residential facilities for most of its clients. A lengthy trial was held in 1982. On F…

On August 23, 1978, the Society for Good Will to Retarded Children filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of residents of the Suffolk Developmental Center (later called Long Island Developmental Center), an institution for people with intellectual disabilities in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The lawsuit sought to improve conditions at the facility and provide small residential facilities for most of its clients.

A lengthy trial was held in 1982. On February 24, 1983, the district court (Judge Jack B. Weinstein) issued an interim memorandum and order requiring the Director of the facility to provide the court with a written four-year plan for improvement of the institution. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey, 572 F. Supp. 1298 (E.D.N.Y. 1983).

On August 10, 1983, the court (Judge Weinstein) issued an opinion outlining the constitutional violations within the facility in the areas of food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo, 572 F. Supp. 1300 (E.D.N.Y. 1983). The court noted that its opinion in New York State Association for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey (ID-NY-0003) was used as guidance in determining the standards of care for individuals in developmental centers. The court found conditions at Suffolk Developmental Center to be lacking in many areas, including staffing, training, physical environment, and community programs. The court also found that the written plan provided by the center lacked detailed steps to remedy the constitutional violations and made changes to it.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the decision, holding that the district court failed to specify which parts of its order were designed to remedy federal constitutional violations and which were addressing state constitutional violations. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo, 737 F.2d 1239 (2d Cir. 1984). It noted that some of the district court's findings could only be supported by state law and federal courts could not grant injunctive relief based on state constitutional violations. On remand, the district court (Judge Weinstein) held that the defendants voluntarily agreed to continue to implement its plan for improving the state facility following the August 10, 1983 court order and the issue was therefore moot. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo, 103 F.R.D. 168 (E.D.N.Y. 1984).

In 1986, plaintiffs moved to reinstate the case, alleging continued violations of federal constitutional law. Judge Weinstein denied the motion and granted plaintiffs sixty days to file a new complaint. The Second Circuit reversed and remanded so the district court could reinstate the case and enforce those parts of the 1983 order that were based in federal constitutional law. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo, 832 F.2d 245 (2d Cir. 1987). On remand, the district court (Judge Weinstein) found that although there were improvements, there remained constitutional violations in the center. Society for Good Will for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo, 718 F. Supp. 139 (E.D.N.Y. 1989). It ordered the state to implement a plan to make improvements. The Second Circuit reversed and remanded because the district court's findings were not adequate to review the case. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo, 902 F.2d 1085 (2d Cir. 1990). Litigation regarding attorneys' fees continued throughout this period.

On September 26, 1990, Judge Weinstein entered a memorandum, stipulation and order, approving the settlement of the lawsuit. Society for Good Will to Retarded Children v. Cuomo, 745 F. Supp. 879 (E.D.N.Y. 1990). The court noted that conditions at the facility had greatly improved and many residents had been moved to community-based homes. The stipulation was to remain in effect until March 31, 1993 and required defendants to continue meeting constitutional standards.

The Long Island Developmental Center closed in June of 1993 and transitioned to a community-based service system. The case was closed on June 24, 1993.

Summary Authors

Angela Heverling (5/9/2007)

Related Cases

NYSARC & Parisi v. Carey, Eastern District of New York (1972)

People


Judge(s)

Altimari, Frank X. (New York)

Kaufman, Frank Albert (Maryland)

Meskill, Thomas Joseph (Connecticut)

Pierce, Lawrence Warren (New York)

Pratt, George Cheney (New York)

Timbers, William Homer (New York)

Weinstein, Jack Bertrand (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lottman, Michael S. (New York)

Newberg, Herbert B. (Pennsylvania)

Schneps, Murray B. (New York)

Judge(s)

Altimari, Frank X. (New York)

Kaufman, Frank Albert (Maryland)

Meskill, Thomas Joseph (Connecticut)

Pierce, Lawrence Warren (New York)

Pratt, George Cheney (New York)

Timbers, William Homer (New York)

Weinstein, Jack Bertrand (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Lottman, Michael S. (New York)

Newberg, Herbert B. (Pennsylvania)

Schneps, Murray B. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Abrams, Robert W. (New York)

Brutten, Caren S. (New York)

Caplow, William J. (New York)

Hoffman, Kenneth S. (New York)

Kahn, Lawrence S. (New York)

Leventhal, Melvyn R. (New York)

Mehlman, Frederick K. (New York)

Mendelsohn, Stephen (New York)

Sherwood, O. Peter (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Adler, Alan M. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:78-cv-01847

Docket (PACER)

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey

June 24, 1993

June 24, 1993

Docket

1:78-cv-01847

Memorandum, Interim Findings and Order

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey

572 F.Supp. 1298

Feb. 24, 1983

Feb. 24, 1983

Order/Opinion

1:78-cv-01847

Memorandum and Order

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

572 F.Supp. 1300

Aug. 10, 1983

Aug. 10, 1983

Order/Opinion

1:78-cv-01847

Memorandum and Order

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

574 F.Supp. 994

Nov. 17, 1983

Nov. 17, 1983

Order/Opinion

83-07621

83-07663

Opinion

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

737 F.2d 1239

June 13, 1984

June 13, 1984

Order/Opinion

83-09047

83-09057

Opinion

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

737 F.2d 1253

June 14, 1984

June 14, 1984

Order/Opinion

1:78-cv-01847

Memorandum and Order

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

103 F.R.D. 168

Oct. 4, 1984

Oct. 4, 1984

Order/Opinion

1:78-cv-01847

Memorandum and Order

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

103 F.R.D. 169

Oct. 4, 1984

Oct. 4, 1984

Order/Opinion

1:78-cv-01847

Reported Opinion

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

1986 WL 13931, 1986 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 16608

Dec. 11, 1986

Dec. 11, 1986

Order/Opinion

1:78-cv-01847

Memorandum and Order

Society for Good Will to Retarded Children, Inc. v. Cuomo

652 F.Supp. 515

Jan. 27, 1987

Jan. 27, 1987

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 9, 2022, 3:03 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 23, 1978

Closing Date: 1993

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Residents of Suffolk Developmental Center (later called Long Island Developmental Center)

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Suffolk Developmental Center (Melville), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

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

Order Duration: 1983 - 1993

Issues

General:

Bathing and hygiene

Education

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Recreation / Exercise

Sanitation / living conditions

Totality of conditions

Crowding:

Crowding / caseload

Disability:

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run