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Case Name Jensen v. Minnesota Department of Human Services MH-MN-0001
Docket / Court 0:09-cv-01775-DWF-FLN ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Mental Health (Facility)
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Case Summary
On July 10, 2009, mental health patients at Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a state facility, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Minnesota state law against the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs, represented ... read more >
On July 10, 2009, mental health patients at Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a state facility, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Minnesota state law against the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive, declaratory relief, and damages alleging that Minnesota Extended Treatment Options frequently subjected patients with developmental disabilities to the improper and inhumane use of seclusion and mechanical restraints in violation of their fourteenth and eighth amendment rights under the United States Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and §504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The plaintiffs also claimed state law violations under the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, and under Minnesota statutes for negligence, false imprisonment, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. The plaintiffs' claim for declaratory relief alleged that the Minnesota state statutes referred to as "Rule 40" (Minn. Stat. § 245.825 and Minn. R. 9525.2700 - .2810), which govern the use of seclusion and mechanical restraints in licensed facilities serving persons with developmental disabilities, violate the Minnesota and United States Constitution.

Specifically, patients were restrained with metal handcuffs, leg irons, shackles and/or nylon straps for insignificant conduct violations such as spitting, laughing, hand-washing, or touching a pizza box. The Minnesota State Ombudsman for Mental Health and Development Disabilities reviewed the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options facility in 2008 and released a report titled "Just Plain Wrong". The Ombudsman found that METO staff excessively used restraints and law enforcement-style devices and 63 percent of METO residents at the time of the review had been restrained. One resident was restrained 299 times in 2006 and 230 times in 2007.

On March 8, 2010, the District Court (Judge Donovan W. Frank) ordered the Defendants to submit a draft settlement agreement to the Plaintiffs by April 2, 2010. On July 19, 2010, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the state law claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. That same day the Plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and a motion to certify the class.

On September 14, 2010, the parties reached a $3 million settlement agreement following two days of mediation. In the settlement, the parties agreed to work together to develop appropriate policies and procedures for implementation at METO and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Additionally, the parties agreed to form a committee comprised of stakeholders within the developmental disabilities community. The committee's responsibilities include reviewing the Minnesota Department of Health Services rule (Rule 40), which governs and protects people with developmental disabilities. The committee will modernize Rule 40 to reflect current best practices including the use of positive and social behavioral supports, the development of placement plans consistent with the principles of the "most integrated setting" and "person centered planning", and development of an "Olmstead Plan" consistent with the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 582 (1999). The three Plaintiff families who brought suit will serve as class representatives if the settlement is approved.

On Dec. 5, 2011, Judge Frank approved the class settlement agreement. 2011 WL 6178845. On July 17, 2012, the Court appointed an independent advisor and monitor to oversee implementation of the settlement and to provide status reports to the Court.

On Dec. 11, 2013, the Court accepted the monitor's suggestion to modify an aspect of the settlement agreement governing the emergency use of manual restraints and "Velcro soft cuffs and fabric ankle straps." The monitor suggested eliminating the soft cuffs and ankle-strap options and made other changes, including special staff training on the revised policy.

On April 30, 2014, in response to another monitor update, Judge Frank issued an order expressing disappointment in the fact that "more than two years after the approval of the Settlement Agreement, for some [state] employees, safety is equated with a show of force, power and control in a legacy of the old institutional way and not the direction [DHS is] headed." (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court strongly encouraged the state to redouble its efforts at compliance with the settlement agreement.

On Sept. 18, 2014, the Court declined to adopt the state's proposed Olmstead plan, and ordered that they submit a revised plan.

As of Dec. 2014, the implementation of the settlement agreement is ongoing.

Joe Reiter - 03/28/2011
Andrew Junker - 12/04/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Confinement/isolation
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Restraints : physical
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Autism
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Schizophrenia
Plaintiff Type
State Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Minnesota Department of Human Services
Plaintiff Description Patients of the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options program with developmental disabilities who were frequently subjected to abusive, inhumane, cruel and improper use of seclusion and mechanical restraints
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2010 - 2014
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
0:09-cv-01775-DWF-FLN (D. Minn.) 11/17/2014
MH-MN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF 07/30/2009
MH-MN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MOTION TO DISMISS VARIOUS CLAIMS AGAINST STATE DEFENDANTS 07/19/2010
MH-MN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF RULE 12 MOTION TO DISMISS VARIOUS CLAIMS AGAINST STATE DEFENDANTS 07/19/2010
MH-MN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION 07/19/2010
MH-MN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION 07/19/2010
MH-MN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Press Release 09/14/2010
MH-MN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Final Approval Order for Stipulated Class Action Settlement Agreement 12/05/2011 (2011 WL 6178845) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 03/21/2012 (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Report to the Court: Amendments to the Settlement Agreement 11/21/2012
MH-MN-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Memorandum 03/19/2013 (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order and Memorandum 04/25/2013 (2013 WL 1776408) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Frank, Donovan W. (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0007 | MH-MN-0001-0008 | MH-MN-0001-0009 | MH-MN-0001-0010 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Noel, Franklin L. (D. Minn.) [Magistrate]
MH-MN-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters Ferleger, David (Pennsylvania)
MH-MN-0001-0011
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azman, Mark R (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0001 | MH-MN-0001-0004 | MH-MN-0001-0005 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Mullin, Margaret Ann (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0001 | MH-MN-0001-0004 | MH-MN-0001-0005 | MH-MN-0001-9000
O'Meara, Shamus P (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0001 | MH-MN-0001-0004 | MH-MN-0001-0005 | MH-MN-0001-0006 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Santos, Margaret Ann (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alpert, Steven H (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0002 | MH-MN-0001-0003 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Devine, Marsha Eldot (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Ikeda, Scott H (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Kohnstamm, Kenneth (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0002 | MH-MN-0001-0003 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Orbovich, Samuel D (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Stafford, Christopher A (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Swanson, Lori (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0002 | MH-MN-0001-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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