University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Delaware PB-DE-0003
Docket / Court 11-cv-591 ( D. Del. )
State/Territory Delaware
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Mental Health (Facility)
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice (Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section) launched an investigation into the treatment of individuals with mental illness in the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC), a state hospital. The investigation was later expanded to assess the state's ... read more >
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice (Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section) launched an investigation into the treatment of individuals with mental illness in the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC), a state hospital. The investigation was later expanded to assess the state's liability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its integration mandate under the Supreme Court precedent Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999).

On November 9, 2010, the DOJ issued a findings letter documenting violations of both the ADA and the U.S. Constitution. DOJ found that, in violation of the ADA, individuals were unnecessarily institutionalized when community placement would be appropriate, and that individuals with mental illness living in the community were placed at risk of unnecessary institutionalization. DOJ also found "inadequate risk assessments; inadequate mental health treatment, especially the failure to provide appropriate behavioral interventions for individuals with identified risks; inadequate restraint and seclusion practices; inadequate investigations of serious incidents; and inadequate discharge planning/community integration to ensure individuals live in the most integrated setting."

Following negotiations, the United States filed a complaint and settlement agreement concurrently in July 2011. The U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Judge Leonard Stark) approved this consent decree on July 15. As part of the agreement, the state of Delaware has agreed to augment its services to keep individuals with mental illness out of institutions, create additional supports, and reform the conditions at DPC to remedy constitutional violations. Delaware will create a crisis system to divert individuals from being hospitalized unnecessarily and will develop case management and additional community supports. The state will also support integrated housing options. The agreement is designed to reduce the institutionalized population by half and to replace institution-based services with Medicaid-reimbursable community-based services.

Beth Kurtz - 10/26/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Discharge & termination plans
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Individualized planning
Neglect by staff
Placement in mental health facilities
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Delaware
Plaintiff Description The U.S. Department of Justice launched this investigation and settlement negotiations on behalf of individuals with mental illness in Delaware.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
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 2011 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
1:11-cv-00591-LPS (D. Del.) 10/25/2012
PB-DE-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Department of Justice Letter of Findings 11/09/2010
PB-DE-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Consent Decree 07/06/2011
PB-DE-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
DOJ Press Release 07/06/2011
PB-DE-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Order Entering Settlement Agreement 07/15/2011
PB-DE-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Judges Stark, Leonard Philip (D. Del.) [Magistrate]
PB-DE-0003-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002
Barkoff, Alison (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002
Deutsch, David (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-9000
Fox, Deena (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-0004
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PB-DE-0003-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Durstein, Ralph K. (Delaware)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-9000
Goldstein, Aaron R. (Delaware)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-9000
Kirshon, Ilona (Delaware)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-9000
Lewis, Lawrence (Delaware)
PB-DE-0003-0002 | PB-DE-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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