University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Behavioral Research Institute v. Secretary of Administration ID-MA-0003
Docket / Court docket unknown ( State Court )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
The Behavioral Research Institute, now known as the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, is a Massachusetts-based, residential care facility for children and young adults with severe autism associated with behavioral problems. JRC is known for its use of aversive treatments, such as electric shock ... read more >
The Behavioral Research Institute, now known as the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, is a Massachusetts-based, residential care facility for children and young adults with severe autism associated with behavioral problems. JRC is known for its use of aversive treatments, such as electric shock therapies, to disincentives undesirable behavior. As a result of its use of aversive treatments, JRC has been controversial and the subject of several lawsuits. This case, along with ID-MA-0002 and ID-MA-0004, are some of the cases brought surrounding various issues related to JRC.

In 1989, JRC and two individuals student at JRC filed a lawsuit in Bristol, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court against the Administrator of the Massachusetts Rate Setting Commission ("Commission") and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) (later amended and recodified as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)), and state law requiring individualized service plans. They also sought contempt for violation of a settlement agreement between the Rate Settlement Commission and JRC. JRC, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief to require the Commission to reimburse JRC $153,351 in tuition that JRC claimed it was owed by the Commission. The plaintiffs claimed that its students had a right to a free and appropriate public education under federal law that was being denied by the Commission's refusal to pay an adequate rate. Lastly, the plaintiffs contend that a settlement agreement between JRC and the Commission set an agreed rate and thus required that amount to be paid to JRC.

The Probate and Family Court (Judge Earnest Rotenberg) reported the case to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for their determination granting a temporary rate to be paid while the case was pending.

On September 4, 1990, the Supreme Judicial Court overruled the Family and Probate court. The court found that the right to a free and appropriate education under EHA (now IDEA) and appropriate treatment under state law does not require the payment of a specific rate. The court further concluded that a settlement between the Commonwealth and a private party cannot set a rate of payment unless specific services were negotiated which was not the case. The Court ordered the case remanded to the Probate Court with judgment entered in favor of the defendants with the case to be dismissed. Behavioral Research Institute v. Secretary of Administration 411 Mass. 73 (1990).

Brian Kempfer - 09/25/2014


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Education
Juveniles
Payment for care
Placement in mental health facilities
Rehabilitation
Special education
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental Disability
Autism
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action State law
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Defendant(s) Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Plaintiff Description Residential school that treats students with severe disabilities including autism and mental illness
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Confession of Judgment
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1990
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing ID-MA-0002 : Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. v. Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation (State Court)
ID-MA-0004 : Petition of Kaufman (State Court)
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion [Vacating Preliminary Injunctions and Remanding Case] 03/06/1990 (406 Mass. 787)
ID-MA-0003-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Greaney, John M. (State Supreme Court)
ID-MA-0003-0001
Liacos, Paul J (State Supreme Court)
ID-MA-0003-0001
Lynch, Neil L. (State Supreme Court)
ID-MA-0003-0001
Nolan, Joseph R. (State Supreme Court)
ID-MA-0003-0001
Wilkins, Herbert P. (State Supreme Court)
ID-MA-0003-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -