Case: Lelsz v. Kavanaugh

3:85-cv-02462 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Filed Date: Nov. 27, 1974

Closed Date: 1995

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On November 27, 1974, the named plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, challenging the adequacy of conditions, care, and habilitation at the Austin, Denton and Fort Worth, Texas state schools for individuals with intellectual disabilities.Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants failed to provide less restrictive community alternatives for residents, thereby effectively forcing them into large institution…

On November 27, 1974, the named plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, challenging the adequacy of conditions, care, and habilitation at the Austin, Denton and Fort Worth, Texas state schools for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

Plaintiffs alleged that the defendants failed to provide less restrictive community alternatives for residents, thereby effectively forcing them into large institutions. Plaintiffs alleged that the conditions at the large institutions were wholly inadequate and that they had been subjected to: diseases, neglect, excessive medication, unnecessary restraint, unsafe buildings, inadequate medical and dental care, and physical abuse from other residents and staff in violation of their constitutional rights. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, including the forced closure of the Austin, Denton and Fort Worth institutions.

In 1981, the case was certified as a class action. The class consisted of the residents of Austin, Denton and Fort Worth institutions. The class was subsequently amended to include residents at the state school at San Antonio.

In 1983, the parties reached a settlement. The Resolution and Settlement ("R&S") of the parties was approved by the District Court on July 19, 1983. The R&S provided for various corrective action to be taken by the State in a wide range of areas. It specifically required that the State to "provide each member of the plaintiff class with the least restrictive alternative living conditions possible consistent with the person's particular circumstances, including age, degree of intellectual disability and handicapping condition." The R&S also called for the appointment of an Expert Consultant to monitor the implementation process. Dr. Linda O'Neall was appointed the Expert Consultant on March 19, 1984. Dr. O'Neall was subsequently appointed as Special Master. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 112 F.R.D. 367 (N.D.Tex.1986).

The case was transferred to District Judge Barefoot Sanders on November 29, 1985.

In 1985, Defendants sought to modify certain provisions of the R&S. The District Court (Judge Barefoot Sanders) denied their motion. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 629 F.Supp. 1487 (N.D.Tex.1986). Defendants appealed.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the District Court lacked jurisdiction to compel the State to set up community facilities and therefore the provisions of the R&S which required the State to do so were invalid. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 807 F.2d 1243, 1255 (5th Cir.), rehearing en banc denied 815 F.2d 1034 (5th Cir.1987).

Following remand, the District Court held an evidentiary hearing on June 29, 1987 through July 7, 1987 on plaintiffs' motion to compel the State's compliance with the R & S. The District Court found that the State had violated numerous provisions of the R&S and held the State in contempt. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 673 F.Supp. 828 (N.D.Tex.1987).

Shortly after the contempt hearing, the parties agreed to an Implementation Agreement, which specified standards and actions for the State to achieve in order to be in compliance with the R&S, including those set by the Accreditation Council on Developmental Disabilities ("ACDD"). The Agreement also contained specific "Interim Measures" regarding minimum services to be provided at the institutions. The District Court approved and entered the Implementation Agreement on October 15, 1987.

After the Implementation Agreement went into effect, the parties engaged in years of contested litigation over numerous compliance issues. On May 20, 1991, the Court removed the defendants' lead attorney from the case, due to repeated improper litigation tactics. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 137 F.R.D. 646 (N.D.Tex.1991).

On the eve of a contempt hearing in August of 1991, the parties reached a settlement of the disputed issues. Following a fairness hearing, the Court approved Settlement Agreement of the parties on December 30, 1991. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 783 F.Supp. 286 (N.D.Tex.1991) aff'd 983 F.2d 1061 (5thth Cir. 1993).

On August 15, 1995, the school at Forth Worth was closed. Following the closure, defendants moved to dismiss the case. After a hearing on October 13,1995, the District Court (Judge Sanders) dismissed the case with prejudice. Lelsz v. Kavanagh, 903 F.Supp. 1037 (N.D.Tex.1995).

The PACER docket is incomplete, but it does not contain any entries after 1995. The case seems to be done.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (4/18/2007)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8598092/parties/lelsz-v-kavanagh/


Judge(s)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Davis, Leonard E. (Texas)

Garza, Emilio M. (Texas)

Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Louisiana)

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (District of Columbia)

Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (Texas)

Jones, Edith Hollan (Texas)

Justice, William Wayne (Texas)

Kennedy, Henry Harold Jr. (District of Columbia)

O'Connor, Sandra Day (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Blackmun, Harry Andrew (District of Columbia)

Davis, Leonard E. (Texas)

Garza, Emilio M. (Texas)

Gee, Thomas Gibbs (Louisiana)

Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (District of Columbia)

Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (Texas)

Jones, Edith Hollan (Texas)

Justice, William Wayne (Texas)

Kennedy, Henry Harold Jr. (District of Columbia)

O'Connor, Sandra Day (District of Columbia)

Reavley, Thomas Morrow (Texas)

Rehnquist, William Hubbs (District of Columbia)

Sanders, Harold Barefoot Jr. (Texas)

Scalia, Antonin (District of Columbia)

Souter, David Hackett (District of Columbia)

Stevens, John Paul (District of Columbia)

Thomas, Clarence (District of Columbia)

Wisdom, John Minor (Louisiana)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Albracht, Joselle (Texas)

Bussiere, Alice (California)

Garrett, Brenda J (Texas)

Hoffman, Barbara (Pennsylvania)

Johnson, Vicki L (Texas)

Shaw, David C. (Connecticut)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Allan, Martha (Texas)

Bright, Lou (Texas)

Coggins, Paul Edward (Texas)

Durst, Philip (Texas)

Farr, H. Bartow III (District of Columbia)

Ferleger, David (Pennsylvania)

Hamilton, Dona (Texas)

Joplin, J. Michael (Texas)

Klein, Joel I. (District of Columbia)

Mattox, Jim (Texas)

Scherer, Nancy (Texas)

Shisk, Diane (Texas)

Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)

Trease, Nancy A. (Texas)

Untereiner, Alan (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Bebee, Dayle (Texas)

Campbell, B. F. Jr (Texas)

Corbett, Garth Anthony (Texas)

Green, Janice L. (Texas)

Haw, Alexander M (Texas)

Hunter, Toni (Texas)

Raymond, Virginia Marie (Texas)

Statman, Rona (Texas)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:85-cv-02462

Docket (PACER)

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

Feb. 13, 1995

Feb. 13, 1995

Docket

74-00095

Opinion

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

Oct. 21, 1982

Oct. 21, 1982

Order/Opinion

82-02164

Opinion

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

July 13, 1983

July 13, 1983

Order/Opinion

3:85-cv-02462

Order

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

March 4, 1986

March 4, 1986

Order/Opinion

3:85-cv-02462

Order Appointing Special Master

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

July 21, 1986

July 21, 1986

Order/Opinion

85-02485

86-01166

Opinion

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Jan. 21, 1987

Jan. 21, 1987

Order/Opinion

85-02485

86-01166

On Petitions for Rehearing and Suggestions for Rehearing En Banc

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

May 4, 1987

May 4, 1987

Order/Opinion

3:85-cv-02462

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

Aug. 13, 1987

Aug. 13, 1987

Order/Opinion

86-01736

Opinion

Lelsz v. Kavanagh

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Aug. 14, 1987

Aug. 14, 1987

Order/Opinion

87-00276

Memorandum Decision

Assoc. for Retarded Citizens of Texas v. Kavanagh

Supreme Court of the United States

Oct. 2, 1987

Oct. 2, 1987

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/8598092/lelsz-v-kavanagh/

Last updated Sept. 3, 2022, 3:17 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT filed; (klm) (Entered: 10/19/1994)

Dec. 16, 1985

Dec. 16, 1985

PACER

Rec'd 2 pieces of mail directed to Virginia Raymond with forwarding order expired. (removed from mailing) (klm)

Feb. 13, 1995

Feb. 13, 1995

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Texas

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 27, 1974

Closing Date: 1995

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Mentally retarded residents of the Austin, Denton, Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas institutions.

Attorney Organizations:

NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Austin State School (Austin), State

Denton State School (Denton), State

Fort Worth State School (Fort Worth), State

San Antonio State School (San Antonio), State

Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Any published opinion

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: 1983 - 1995

Issues

General:

Assault/abuse by staff

Confinement/isolation

Deinstitutionalization/decarceration

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Neglect by staff

Restraints : chemical

Restraints : physical

Sanitation / living conditions

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Totality of conditions

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Developmental disability without intellectual disability

Medical/Mental Health:

Dental care

Medical care, general

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run