Filed Date: Dec. 22, 1995
Closed Date: 2017
Clearinghouse coding complete
On December 22, 1995, People First of Tennessee filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against the State of Tennessee on behalf of residents of the Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Greene Valley Developmental Center, and Winston Developmental Center. The plaintiff sued the Clover Bottom Development Center and the Tennessee Department of Health under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The complaint alleged that a Department of Justice CRIPA investigation of the facilities in 1994 found a pattern of injury, abuse, and neglect, deficient medical care, a lack of activities, and a failure to provide educations to school-age children as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It also alleged the use of unnecessary restraints, inadequate discharge planning, and failure to provide habilitation and training. The People First of Tennessee, represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and private counsel, sought injunctive relief to permanently enjoin the defendants from continuing the acts, practices, and omissions described above.
On November 15, 1996, the United States Department of Justice also filed a lawsuit in the Middle District of Tennessee against the state, alleging similar violations. That case was styled U.S. v. Tennessee Civ. No. 96-cv-01056 (M.D.Tenn.) ("United States case").
On December 2, 1996, the district court (Judge Robert L. Echnols) granted a motion to consolidate the People First case with the United States case.
People First, the Department of Justice, and the State of Tennessee entered into a settlement agreement, which was approved by Judge Echnols on November 27, 1996. In the settlement, the state agreed to, among other things:
• Create person-centered evaluation of citizens in need of services
• Develop community programs and resources
• Increase staffing and staff training
• Improve living conditions in the centers
• Provide education for school-age residents
On the same date, the court granted plaintiff People First of Tennessee's motion to amend their complaint.
According to the PACER docket, litigation continued after the settlement regarding defendants' compliance with the settlement agreement, the Parent-Guardian Association's (PGA) intervention in the action, and attorneys' fees.
Community Rehabilitation Agencies of Tennessee (CMRA), an association of agencies providing services to individuals with intellectual disabilities, moved to intervene in the consolidate suits. The court (Judge Jon McCalla) denied the motions for each case. On August 8, 2001, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (District Judge John Feikens, Eastern District of Michigan, sitting by designation) affirmed the denials. U.S. v. Tennessee, 260 F.3d 587 (6th Cir. 2001).
On Mar. 18, 2002, the court ordered the case administratively closed in light of the ongoing settlement process. The court allowed the case to be reopened by either party.
The case was reopened on Feb. 22, 2006 to address the state's motion for partial termination of the settlement regarding Greene Valley Developmental Center. The settlement agreement allowed the state to seek partial termination of the agreement after two years if the state showed compliance with provisions related to institutional care services and protection from harm. The court had to address if "the State has substantially complied with" the provisions. The court granted the motion on Mar. 16, 2006, finding that the state had achieved compliance with respect to the conditions at the Greene Valley Developmental Center.
The court terminated the settlement agreement with respect to the Harold Jordan Center on Sept. 30, 2008, finding that the state showed compliance with provisions related to institutional care services and protection from harm at that particular facility.
The court once again ordered the case administratively closed on Mar. 31, 2009. While the case remained closed, a series of procedural developments occurred. First, on Nov. 19, the state indicated that budgetary considerations compelled it to close the Clover Bottom Developmental Center and Harold Jordan Center. On Dec. 21, 2009, the PGA filed a motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in response to the state's asserted intent to close the facilities without a comprehensive closure plan. The court denied the motion on Jan. 12, 2010, holding that the parties did not make a sufficient effort to confer with the state, as required by the settlement agreement, before bringing their motion.
After many months of negotiation, the parties drafted an exit plan that established criteria that, if the state satisfied, would result in a dismissal of this case. The court approved the exit plan on Jan. 29, 2015. A year later, on Jan. 12, 2016, the court found that the state had complied with the exit plan provisions and ordered the case dismissed with prejudice. The court also vacated previously-granted injunctive relief, except as to class members residing at Greene Valley Developmental Center while they continued to reside there. The court maintained jurisdiction over the matter only as to these residents. On Sept. 8, 2017, after the parties filed a joint motion to dismiss the case as to the outstanding injunction, the court dismissed the case with prejudice, finding that the state was in full compliance with the exit plan as to Greene Valley Developmental Center.
Throughout the course of this litigation, the court awarded installments of attorneys' fees and reimbursements totaling $2,778,833.84 for the plaintiffs and $753,433.86 for the PGA.
The case was then closed, though the court currently retained jurisdiction solely over matters related to attorneys' fees. On November 9, 2017, People First filed a final motion for attorneys' fees. The PGA filed a similar motion the following day. On November 14, 2017, the court granted both motions, awarding People First $377,944.28 and PGA $65,750. All motions for attorneys' fees have been resolved. The case is presumably closed.
Angela Heverling (4/1/2007)
Virginia Weeks (10/10/2017)
Jake Parker (7/17/2018)
For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4383155/parties/people-first-of-tn-v-clover-bottom-devel/
Bell, Aileen M. (District of Columbia)
Bowman, Robert C. (District of Columbia)
Barrick, William M. (Tennessee)
Campbell, Martha A. (Tennessee)
Carlton, Jonathan Stephen (Tennessee)
Crenshaw, Waverly David Jr. (Tennessee)
Echols, Robert L. (Tennessee)
Feikens, John (Michigan)
Haynes, William Joseph Jr. (Tennessee)
Holmes, Barbara D. (Tennessee)
Sharp, Kevin Hunter (Tennessee)
Last updated Aug. 1, 2023, 3:16 a.m.
State / Territory: Tennessee
Filing Date: Dec. 22, 1995
Closing Date: 2017
Case Ongoing: No
Residents of the Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Greene Valley Developmental Center, and Winston Developmental Center
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Amount Defendant Pays: 3,975,961.98
Content of Injunction:
Type of Facility: