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Case Name Cooper v. Kliebert MH-LA-0002
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-00507-SDD-SCR ( M.D. La. )
Additional Docket(s) 3:15-cv-00751-SDD-RLB  [ 15-751 ]  Middle District of LA (U.S.)
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Mental Health (Facility)
Special Collection Post-WalMart decisions on class certification
Attorney Organization MacArthur Justice Center
Case Summary
On August 14, 2014, a number of prisoners in Louisiana state prisons filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys, ... read more >
On August 14, 2014, a number of prisoners in Louisiana state prisons filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that, despite their being found not guilty by reason of insanity of criminal offenses, they were still being incarcerated in Louisiana prisons. The named plaintiffs claimed that their continued imprisonment violated their Fourteenth Amendment right under the Due Process Clause, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504).

The named plaintiffs were all found not guilty by reason of insanity during their criminal trials and they were all committed by the courts to the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System (ELMHS), which runs a state mental health facility. Nevertheless, at the time of the complaint, all named plaintiffs still remained incarcerated in state prisons, despite the fact that no other criminal charges had been filed against them. Plaintiffs claim that by continuing to incarcerate them, the state is discriminating against them on the basis of their mental illness and denying them appropriate mental health services.

After the plaintiffs filed an amended class-action complaint, the Judge Shelly Dick granted in part and denied in part the defendants' motion to dismiss. 2014 WL 7334911. She granted the motion as to the plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment claims seeking monetary damages against the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services on sovereign immunity grounds. But she denied the motion as to all other respects.

The Court denied then plaintiffs' class certification on December 22, 2014, finding that numerosity was not satisfied because the putative class consisted of only thirty-six individuals. 2014 WL 7338846. The plaintiffs then filed a second amended complaint on January 26, 2015, and a third amended complaint on May 13. Discovery and litigation continued, and on February 3, 2016, this case was consolidated with Advocacy Center v. Kliebert (Docket No. 3:15-cv-00751).

After several months of settlement discussions, on July 18, 2016, the Court dismissed the case without prejudice to the right to reopen it within sixty days if the parties did not settle. On September 2, 2016, the parties reported that they had reached a settlement, moving jointly to reopen the case for purpose of entering that agreement as a court order. The Court granted the motion and approved the settlement on November 16, 2016.

The terms of the settlement agreement apply to "All individuals who, after having been found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity or Incompetent to Stand Trial are remanded by a court to a mental health facility for treatment." The settlement requires the defendants to maintain a record of all such persons, conduct prompt behavioral health assessments after the court orders commitment or inpatient treatment, admit such persons currently on a waitlist to a mental health facility or appropriate program, create a procedure for expedited admission of such persons to the appropriate facilities in the event of an emergency need, maintain pre- and post-admissions procedures for ensuring appropriate placement of such persons, work to develop less constricting and new placement options, and report back to the plaintiffs on a monthly basis. The settlement agreement also awards the plaintiffs with attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $466,000 and possible future fees related to the execution of this settlement agreement.

The case was set to remain open to enforce the settlement decree until November, 2020. Since no motions were filed to enforce the settlement decree by the deadline, the case is presumed closed.

Andrew Junker - 10/02/2014
Virginia Weeks - 01/17/2017
Alex Moody - 12/28/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Procedural Due Process
Content of Injunction
Recordkeeping
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Commitment procedure
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Placement in detention facilities
Placement in mental health facilities
Rehabilitation
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Schizophrenia
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals
Plaintiff Description Individuals who have been diagnosed with mental illness and found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) of a criminal offense but, despite that finding, continue to be incarcerated in correctional facilities in Louisiana.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MacArthur Justice Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Denied
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2020
Filed 08/14/2014
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
M.D. La.
12/22/2020
3:14-cv-00507-SDD-SCR
MH-LA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
E.D. La.
08/14/2014
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
MH-LA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. La.
12/19/2014
Ruling on Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 43] (2014 WL 7334911)
MH-LA-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. La.
12/22/2014
Ruling on Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 44] (2014 WL 7338846)
MH-LA-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. La.
05/13/2015
Plaintiff's Third Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 65]
MH-LA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
M.D. La.
11/16/2016
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 200]
MH-LA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Dick, Shelly Deckert (M.D. La.) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0002 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-0005 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chuang, Evelyn Hsiao-Farn (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Cumming, Elizabeth C. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Fernandez, Kathryn (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Foley, Eric Andrew (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Hahn, Neil (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Hahn, Ellen Bentley (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Lospennato, Ronald (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0001 | MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Otero, Concepcion [Koki] (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Schwartzmann, Katharine Murphy (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0001 | MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Stratton, Laura Thornton (Kansas) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Thornton, Laura Lee (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Aguillard, Erica Schirling (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Airs, Krystal Lynnette (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Animashaun, Babatunde Mobolade (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Borghardt, Stephanie (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Cody, Jeffrey K. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
DeLaSalle, Rebecca (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Elliott, Neal Risley Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0004
Evans, James Garrison (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Everett, Elizabeth (North Carolina) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Hilburn, James L (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Hillburn, James L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Pantaleo, Lindsay L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Romero, Ryan Jude (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Sullivan, Kimberly Lacour (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Young, Jenna Germany (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Kirsch, Kyle P. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000
Luke, Benjamin Ascher (Louisiana) show/hide docs
MH-LA-0002-9000

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