On August 15, 2005, residents of an intermediate care facility (IMD) with mental illness filed a lawsuit under the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act against various Illinois state officials in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and legal services, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that they were needlessly segregated in a restricted institution that failed to provide them with the most integrated setting appropriate for their needs.
Plaintiffs had histories of mental illness and were residents of Monroe Pavilion Health and Treatment Center, an intermediate care facility (IMD). Plaintiffs argued that many IMD residents could be served in a more community-integrated setting, but that the state had insufficient policies and procedures in place to help residents transition out of an institutional setting. Further, Plaintiffs alleged that there were long waiting periods for admission to supporting housing programs, requiring many individuals to be inappropriately institutionalized or face homelessness.
On November 13, 2006, the Court (Judge William T. Hart) certified a class to consist of Illinois residents who: (1) have a mental illness; (2) are institutionalized in a privately-owned institution for mental diseases; and (3) may be able to live in an integrated community setting with appropriate supports and services. Williams v. Blagojevich, 2006 WL 3332844 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 13, 2006).
On January 2, 2008, the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion to quash and/or modify subpoenas. Williams v. Blagojevich, 2008 WL 68680 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 2, 2008).
The parties submitted a joint status report on February 18, 2010, stating that they had reached a settlement "in principle."
The Court preliminarily found that the modified proposed consent decree was within the appropriate range of fairness, adequacy, and reasonableness, on May 27, 2010.
On July 27, 2010, the Court issued an opinion and order. The Court held that class notice had contained misleading statements and that attorneys for objecting plaintiffs would not initiate contact with additional class members. Williams v. Quinn, 2010 WL 3021576 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 27, 2010).
The Court issued a consent decree on September 29, 2010. The purpose of the consent decree was to assure that Defendants provide Plaintiffs with the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate. Among other requirements, the decree called for Defendants to: implement measures to provide community-based services; provide independent, professionally appropriate evaluations for each class member in order to determine appropriate community-based services; develop services plans based on the results of those evaluations; ensure that class members receive complete and accurate information regarding their rights; and, create an implementation plan to accomplish the obligations in the decree. The decree also provided that Defendants would pay $1,990,000 to class counsel in fees and any additional costs and expenses.
On the same day, the Court issued an order granting final approval of the settlement agreement and retaining jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the consent decree. Williams v. Quinn, 2010 WL 3894350 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 29, 2010).
After the parties submitted their own recommendations regarding a monitor, the Court issued an agreed order appointing Dennis Jones to serve as monitor on November 1, 2010. The case was closed, and there has been no further litigation.Haley Waller - 02/20/2011