Case: USA v. Arkansas

4:09-cv-00033 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas

Filed Date: Jan. 16, 2009

Closed Date: 2011

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 24, 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent a findings letter to Arkansas's governor, advising him of the results of the Spring 2003, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Conway Human Development Center ("CHDC"), a facility housing developmentally disabled persons, including those with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and/or autism. The investigation occurred under the authority of the Civil Rights of Institutionali…

On April 24, 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent a findings letter to Arkansas's governor, advising him of the results of the Spring 2003, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Conway Human Development Center ("CHDC"), a facility housing developmentally disabled persons, including those with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and/or autism. The investigation occurred under the authority of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. DOJ and expert consultants visited the facility, reviewed a wide array of documents there, and conducted interviews with personnel and residents. The letter commended CHDC staff for providing a high level of cooperation during the investigation, as well as the dedication many showed for resident well-being. Nevertheless, the investigation found deficiencies in resident care at CHDC, in that conditions and services at CDHC substantially departed from generally accepted standards of care. Constitutional and federal statutory rights of residents at CHDC were violated in several respects, according to the DOJ.

DOJ concluded that deficiencies in conditions of resident care and treatment at CHDC existed as to multiple topic areas, including CDHC's causing residents significant harm or risk of harm through inadequate: (1) health care (termed "grossly deficient," with particular problems in "terribly inadequate" medical and neurological care, physical and nutritional management and therapy services, and infection control and medication administration practices); (2) habilitative treatment services (e.g., "grossly deficient" and unreviewed restraint practices; "critically inadequate" activity programming and psychiatric services; inadequately trained and supervised staff; ineffective behavior programs; invalid data collection and recording practices; poor medication management); and (3) protection from harm policies (e.g., failure to conduct mortality reviews after resident deaths, meager investigation of abuse or neglect incidents, inadequacies in residents' rights and consent policies); as well as CHDC's (4) failure to provide required special education and related services pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. § 1401; and (5) failure to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to individual residents' needs, pursuant to statutory obligations imposed by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131 et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794. The letter provided details of deficiencies for all five of these categories.

Minimally-acceptable remedial measures for each of the five categories were outlined in the letter, which concluded by inviting continued further collaboration in implementing the remediation. The letter also provided notice that, absent a resolution of federal concerns, the DOJ would file a CRIPA lawsuit to compel correction of the identified deficiencies at CHDC.

On January 16, 2009, the DOJ filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The complaint mirrored the findings letter. The State filed an answer on February 17, 2009.

Over a year later, the U.S. filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction on March 9, 2010. Arkansas opposed the motion, and on April 7, 2010, the court (Judge J. Leon Holmes) denied the motion. Both parties then filed Motions for Partial Summary Judgment, which were denied by the court on July 30, 2010.

On August 27, 2010, a group of parents and guardians of residents of CHDC filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the state.

A six-week bench trial was held in September 2010. The court allowed the parties to extend the filing period for post-trial briefs to provide time for the transcripts to be prepared. The court issued its findings on June 8, 2011. The court found that the U.S. had not met its burden under the first claim for relief, that the practices at CHDC departed from generally accepted professional standards. The court also found the U.S. failed to meet its burden for the second claim for relief, that CHDC was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On the U.S.'s third claim for relief, the court found that DOJ had shown that CHDC was not providing free appropriate public education for resident children. However, because CHDC had submitted a proposal for changing their education policy to the appropriate state agency (Arkansas Department of Education) at the time of trial, the court did not find it necessary to take any action. Accordingly, the court dismissed the action with prejudice. The court denied, however, the state's later request for attorneys' fees and only awarded costs in the amount of $150,580. Although the U.S. did not prove its case during the bench trial, the court found that CHDC had made certain changes in policies and practices, most likely as a result of the DOJ investigation. Apparently, the court did not want to find the DOJ's claims frivolous or groundless and have to grant attorney's fees to the defendants. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Elizabeth Daligga (7/25/2012)

Related Cases

U.S. v. Arkansas, Eastern District of Arkansas (2010)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5369725/parties/united-states-v-arkansas-state-of/


Judge(s)

Holmes, James Leon (Arkansas)

Jones, Henry L. Jr. (Arkansas)

Wilson, Billy [William] Roy [Jr.] (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Beebe, Mike (Arkansas)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Campbell, Isaac R. (District of Columbia)

Cheng, Christopher N. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Holmes, James Leon (Arkansas)

Jones, Henry L. Jr. (Arkansas)

Wilson, Billy [William] Roy [Jr.] (Arkansas)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Acosta, R. Alexander (District of Columbia)

Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)

Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)

Beebe, Mike (Arkansas)

Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)

Campbell, Isaac R. (District of Columbia)

Cheng, Christopher N. (District of Columbia)

Coles, Arethea (District of Columbia)

Coon, Laura (District of Columbia)

Cummins, H.E. Bud III (Arkansas)

Cuncannan, Jacqueline (District of Columbia)

Dean, Kerry Krentler (District of Columbia)

Donnelly, Matthew J. (District of Columbia)

Herman, Vincent P. (District of Columbia)

May, Nicholas M. (District of Columbia)

Mukasey, Michael B. (New York)

Pence, Richard M. Jr. (Arkansas)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Schwei, Daniel (District of Columbia)

Tayloe, Benjamin O. (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Elias, Cordelia M. (Pennsylvania)

Freno, Lori (Arkansas)

McDaniel, Dustin (Arkansas)

York, Thomas B. (Pennsylvania)

Zaycosky, Donald B. (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:09-cv-00033

Docket [PACER]

United States v. Arkansas

Feb. 27, 2012

Feb. 27, 2012

Docket

CRIPA Investigation of Conway Human Developmental Center in Arkansas

DOJ CRIPA Investigation of Conway Human Developmental Center in Arkansas

No Court

April 21, 2004

April 21, 2004

Findings Letter/Report
1

4:09-cv-00033

Complaint

United States v. Arkansas

Jan. 16, 2009

Jan. 16, 2009

Complaint
4

4:09-cv-00033

Answer and Affirmative Defenses

United States v. Arkansas

Feb. 17, 2009

Feb. 17, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief
42

4:09-cv-00033

United States' Motion for Preliminary Injunction

United States v. Arkansas

March 9, 2010

March 9, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
43

4:09-cv-00033

Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of United States' Motion for Preliminary Injunction

United States v. Arkansas

March 9, 2010

March 9, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
50

4:09-cv-00033

Brief in Support of "Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction, or, in the Alternative, Defendants' Motion for an Enlargement of Time to Respond to Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction"

United States v. Arkansas

March 23, 2010

March 23, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
52

4:09-cv-00033

Opinion and Order

United States v. Arkansas

2010 WL 1408818

April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010

Order/Opinion
219

4:09-cv-00033

Defendants' Post-Trial Brief

United States v. Arkansas

Feb. 10, 2011

Feb. 10, 2011

Pleading / Motion / Brief
218

4:09-cv-00033

United States' Post-Trial Brief

United States v. Arkansas

Feb. 10, 2011

Feb. 10, 2011

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5369725/united-states-v-arkansas-state-of/

Last updated Aug. 9, 2022, 3:08 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
33

ORDER directing defts to file no later than December 2, 2009, responses to 29 First MOTION to Compel Production of Documents and 27 First MOTION to Compel Entry Upon Land. Signed by Magistrate Judge Henry L. Jones, Jr on 11/30/09. (bkp)

Nov. 30, 2009

Nov. 30, 2009

RECAP
52

OPINION AND ORDER that USA's 42 Motion for Preliminary Injunction is DENIED; Defts' 49 Motion to Strike is DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 4/7/10. (vjt)

April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010

RECAP
60

ORDER denying 55 Motion to Dismiss Count 2 of the complaint. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 5/27/10. (bkp)

May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

RECAP
62

ORDER deferring to Chief Judge Holmes for a determination of whether the statewide ADA action should be reassigned to his docket as a related case to the CHDC action or otherwise. Signed by Judge Susan Webber Wright on 5/27/10. (bkp)

May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

RECAP
64

ORDER directing the Clerk to reassign Case No. 4:10cv00327 to this Court. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 5/27/10. (bkp)

May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010

RECAP
113

PROTECTIVE ORDER. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 7/30/10. (bkp)

July 30, 2010

July 30, 2010

RECAP
115

ORDER denying 74 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 77 Motion to Compel; denying 78 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment; denying 87 Motion in Limine; denying 90 Motion for Order. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 7/30/10. (bkp)

July 30, 2010

July 30, 2010

RECAP
140

ORDER denying as moot defts' 66 Motion to Compel. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 8/23/10. (vjt)

Aug. 23, 2010

Aug. 23, 2010

RECAP
141

ORDER denying defts' 129 Motion to Quash the Subpoenas of Marcia Harding and Janet Estes; Janet Estes and Marcia Harding are directed to provide the documents requested in those subpoenas by 5:00 p.m. CDT on August 26, 2010. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 8/23/10. (vjt)

Aug. 23, 2010

Aug. 23, 2010

RECAP
147

ORDER granting defts' 120 Motion in Limine to exclude expert "lay witnessess; denying as moot defts' 125 Motion to Compel a response. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 8/26/10. (vjt)

Aug. 26, 2010

Aug. 26, 2010

RECAP
148

ORDER denying pltf's 145 Motion in Limine to exclude legal opinions by defts' experts. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 8/26/10. (vjt)

Aug. 26, 2010

Aug. 26, 2010

RECAP
223

AMENDED 222 ORDER granting 220 Motion for Extension of Time to File Reply; the parties have until 3/17/11 to file a reply to the post-trial briefs. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 2/28/11. (vjt)

Feb. 28, 2011

Feb. 28, 2011

RECAP
228

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW that Conway Human Development Center complies with all of the requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Americans with Disabilities Act but not all of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilitie s Education Act. Because Congress has provided for a state educational agency to enforce compliance with the Act, and because the evidence established that the state educational agency here is enforcing and will enforce compliance, no injunction is necessary or appropriate. A judgment dismissing this action with prejudice will be entered separately. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 6/8/11. (vjt)

June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011

RECAP
229

JUDGMENT pursuant to 228 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law entered this date, judgment is hereby entered dismissing this action with prejudice. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 6/8/11. (vjt)

June 8, 2011

June 8, 2011

RECAP
252

OPINION AND ORDER that defts' motion for award of attorneys' fees and costs 232 238 is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; the motion for an award of attorneys' fees and litigation expenses is denied; defts are given leave to amend their motion for an award of costs by submitting an affidavit as directed within seven days from the entry of this Opinion and Order. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 2/6/12. (vjt)

Feb. 6, 2012

Feb. 6, 2012

RECAP
254

JUDGMENT pursuant to the Opinion and Order 252, and the Amended Declaration 253, judgment is hereby entered in favor of defts and against the pltf in the amount of $150,580.00 as costs of the action. Signed by Chief Judge J. Leon Holmes on 2/13/12. (vjt) (Entered: 02/13/2012)

Feb. 13, 2012

Feb. 13, 2012

RECAP
255

RECEIPT for Exhibits (cdw) (Entered: 02/27/2012)

Feb. 27, 2012

Feb. 27, 2012

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Arkansas

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Jan. 16, 2009

Closing Date: 2011

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

U.S. Department of Justice

Plaintiff Type(s):

U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

State of Arkansas, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400

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

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Confession of Judgment

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief denied

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Education

Food service / nutrition / hydration

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Reassessment and care planning

Restraints : physical

Special education

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Autism

Cerebral palsy

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Dementia

Medical care, general

Medication, administration of

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run