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Case Name M.P. v. Texas Youth Commission JI-TX-0003
Docket / Court D-1-CN-07-2998 ( State Court )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Juvenile Institution
Case Summary
On September 12, 2007, three juveniles detained in Texas Youth Commission (TYC) facilities filed a petition in a Travis County, Texas District Court seeking to enjoin an internal directive (Executive Directive #2FY07) that instructed corrections officers to use Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) pepper spray ... read more >
On September 12, 2007, three juveniles detained in Texas Youth Commission (TYC) facilities filed a petition in a Travis County, Texas District Court seeking to enjoin an internal directive (Executive Directive #2FY07) that instructed corrections officers to use Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) pepper spray first, instead of other restraint methods, when attempting to restrain or subdue disruptive juveniles. Prior to the directive, the use of force policy provided that pepper spray was to be used only as a last resort after other means of force, such as physical restraint, failed.

Plaintiffs each alleged that they suffered from a serious mental illness or disorder, which was exacerbated by being exposed to pepper spray. Prior to the new directive, officers were not allowed to use pepper spray against mentally disabled offenders. Advocacy groups Texas Appleseed and Advocacy Inc. represented the plaintiffs and sought injunctive and declaratory relief under Texas state law.

Shortly after the suit was filed, the parties settled the case. Under the settlement agreement, TYC agreed to rescind its internal directive (Executive Directive #2FY07) and return to its previous policy of using OC pepper spray only as a last resort. The agreement also required the TYC to provide plaintiffs' counsel with data regarding use of pepper spray in its facilities, including: 1) the date of any use of OC spray and the facility at which it occurred; 2) the age and sex of the youth involved in the incident; and 3) the youth behavior that led to the use of OC spray and the attempts by TYC staff to control the situation prior to administering OC spray.

Per the terms of the agreement, the case was dismissed with prejudice, with the parties agreeing to bear their own costs and attorneys' fees.

Dan Dalton - 09/18/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Pepper/OC spray
Restraints : chemical
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Corsicana Residential Treatment Center
Gainesville State School
Texas Youth Commission
Plaintiff Description Several diasabled juveniles incarcerated by the Texas Youth Commission who are at risk of being injured by OC pepper spray.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted 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 not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
TYC Youth Harmed By Pepper Spray – Declaratory Judgment Sought 09/13/2007
JI-TX-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Plaintiffs' Original Petition for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 09/14/2007
JI-TX-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Agreed Final Judgment and Order of Dismissal 09/28/2007
JI-TX-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Texas Appleseed and Advocacy, Inc. Settle Pepper Spray Suit Against the Texas Youth Commission 09/28/2007
JI-TX-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fitzgerald-Fowler, Deborah J. (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0001 | JI-TX-0003-0002 | JI-TX-0003-0003 | JI-TX-0003-0004
George, R. James (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0001 | JI-TX-0003-0003
LaVallo, Ricahrd (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0001 | JI-TX-0003-0002 | JI-TX-0003-0003 | JI-TX-0003-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Abbott, Greg (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0003
Morales, David S. (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0003
O'Keefe, Robert B. (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0003
Sullivan, Kent C. (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0003
Thompson, Terence L. (Texas)
JI-TX-0003-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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