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Case Name Conner v. Branstad ID-IA-0001
Docket / Court 4:86-cv-90871 ( S.D. Iowa )
State/Territory Iowa
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
On December 8, 1986, a resident of Glenwood or Woodward State Hospital-Schools filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on behalf of himself and other similarly situated persons. Plaintiffs were represented by the Iowa ... read more >
On December 8, 1986, a resident of Glenwood or Woodward State Hospital-Schools filed this putative class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa on behalf of himself and other similarly situated persons. Plaintiffs were represented by the Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services and the University of Iowa College of Law Clinical Program, the Legal Center for Special Education, and private attorneys. Defendants were the State of Iowa, the Division of Mental Health/Mental Retardation, Iowa Department of Human Services, and the state hospitals. The lawsuit challenged Iowa's institutionally-based model of services for persons with developmental disabilities, alleging that the policy amounted to violations of Title XIX of the Social Security Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. They brought the case under 42 U.S.C. §1983.

In the following years, the district court granted several continuances. The defendants moved for summary judgment. On December 9, 1994, the court (Magistrate Judge Mark W. Bennett) denied the motion in part but dismissed the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act claims and denied that Due Process requires individuals to be in the least restrictive placement available. Conner v. Branstad, 839 F.Supp. 1346 (S. D. Iowa 1993).

The parties entered into a Consent Decree, approved by the district court (Judge Bennett) on December 2, 1994. Among the provisions in the Decree, the defendants agreed to provide individualized treatment plans to class members, provide training and employment opportunities, notify class members of their eligibility to receive community-based services, and develop a five-year plan for creating community support and services. In 1995, the Conner advisory committee was convened and created the "Plan for Community Development," the five-year plan called for in the Consent Decree.

According to the PACER docket, litigation continued regarding fees. Plaintiffs' attorneys withdrew in 2003.

Angela Heverling - 03/20/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Least restrictive environment
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Medicaid, 42 U.S.C §1396 (Title XIX of the Social Security Act)
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Iowa
Woodward State Hospital-School
Plaintiff Description Persons who were or may become residents of Glenwood or Woodward State Hospital-Schools in Iowa
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1994 - 1999
Filed 12/08/1986
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
S.D. Iowa
ID-IA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Iowa
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief and Compensatory Damages
ID-IA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
S.D. Iowa
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 211] (839 F.Supp. 1346)
ID-IA-0001-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
S.D. Iowa
Consent Decree [ECF# 248]
ID-IA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
S.D. Iowa
Order Approving Consent Decree [ECF# 290]
ID-IA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
S.D. Iowa
Plan for Community Development re: Conner v. Branstad Consent Decree
ID-IA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
S.D. Iowa
Plan for Community Development: 6 Month Update
ID-IA-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
S.D. Iowa
Brief Summary Conner Decree Activities
ID-IA-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
S.D. Iowa
ID-IA-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
show all people docs
Judges Bennett, Mark W. (S.D. Iowa, N.D. Iowa) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0004 | ID-IA-0001-0009 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hamel, Kari L. (Iowa) show/hide docs
Kaska, Sondra B. (Ohio) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0001 | ID-IA-0001-0003 | ID-IA-0001-0009 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Levey, Linda M. (Iowa) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0003 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Lucht, Carroll L. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0001 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Pundt, Richard A. (Iowa) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0003 | ID-IA-0001-0009 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Raju, Srennu P. (Iowa) show/hide docs
Sytsma, Curt L. (Iowa) show/hide docs
White, Ronald (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Gordon E. (Iowa) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0003 | ID-IA-0001-0009 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Buitenwerf, Betty (Iowa) show/hide docs
ID-IA-0001-0003 | ID-IA-0001-9000
Hansen, Michael E. (Iowa) show/hide docs

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