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Case Name E. R. v. McDonnell JI-CO-0001
Docket / Court 94-N-2816 ( D. Colo. )
State/Territory Colorado
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Juvenile Institution
Attorney Organization Youth Law Center
Case Summary
On December 9, 1994, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all children detained at the Phillip B. Gilliam Youth Services Center (Gilliam) in Denver, Colorado, in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, against the State of Colorado. The plaintiffs, who were ... read more >
On December 9, 1994, a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all children detained at the Phillip B. Gilliam Youth Services Center (Gilliam) in Denver, Colorado, in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, against the State of Colorado. The plaintiffs, who were represented by the ACLU of Colorado, the Youth Law Center, and private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1401 et seq. On February 2, 1995, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, in which they alleged that overcrowding and conditions at Gilliam violated their constitutional and statutory rights.

According to the complaint, Gilliam was so overcrowded that five juveniles were simultaneously confined to a single-occupancy cell for up to twenty hours in a day. Overcrowding and understaffing also led to inadequate access to functioning toilets, monitoring of at-risk or isolated detainees, educational opportunities, recreation, rehabilitation programming, and access to confidential legal counsel. Because detainees were inadequately classified and separated, older and more violent juveniles were housed with younger and non-violent detainees. While confined at Gilliam, children were physically and sexually assaulted and bullied into giving their meals by bigger children. Gilliam staff disciplined children with isolation and mechanical restraints, without hearing or notice.

On January 3, 1995, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado (Judge Edward W. Nottingham) ordered the parties to engage in settlement discussions before a magistrate (Judge Donald E. Abram) and, on March 23, 1995, the court (Judge Nottingham) stayed the proceedings to facilitate settlement. On May 26, 1995, the parties entered a settlement agreement, which was amended on May 30, 1995, to accommodate pending federal legislation, the "Stop Turning Out Prisoners Act." H.R. 667, Title III.

The settlement agreement was intended to ensure that conditions of detention were constitutional, safe, sanitary, humane, individualized, and rehabilitative. As such, the settlement agreement required the State to eliminate overcrowding, classify and separate detainees, hire enough employees to satisfy specific staff-to-juvenile ratios, screen all children for disabilities, provide all detainees with a bed (not a mattress on the floor), build a library, and implement disciplinary procedures that did not involve prolonged isolation and mechanical restraints. Other provisions of the settlement agreement addressed prompt and expert medical and mental health care, access to toilets, allowing children to decorate their walls, education, recreation, and individualized rehabilitation programming. The State agreed to pay the plaintiffs' attorneys' fees and costs.

On September 15, 1995, the court approved the class action settlement. The Court retained enforcement authority and actively monitored the State's compliance for three years. The court appointed two Court Monitors (Russ Van Vleet and Robert B. Rutherford Jr.) to monitor compliance. The settlement agreement was amended again on September 1, 1999, and then on July 26, 2001, but we do not have copies of either document. The docket ends wtih the July 2001 entry concerning the third amended settlement agreement; thus we have no information on any subsequent proceedings.

Elizabeth Chilcoat - 05/26/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Classification / placement
Disciplinary procedures
Disciplinary segregation
Education
Library (non-law) access
Recreation / Exercise
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Phillip B. Gilliam Youth Services Center
Plaintiff Description all children detained at the Phillip B. Gilliam Youth Services Center in Denver, Colorado
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Youth Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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 1995 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
94-2816 (D. Colo.) 07/26/2001
JI-CO-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Case Summary 12/08/1994
JI-CO-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
First Amended Complaint 02/02/1995
JI-CO-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Settlement Agreement 05/26/1995
JI-CO-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Memorandum of Agreement to Amend Settlement Agreement and Order 05/29/1995
JI-CO-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Memorandum 07/14/1995 (D. Colo.)
JI-CO-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Correspondence 08/10/1995
JI-CO-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Order Approving Class Action Settlement 09/15/1995 (D. Colo.)
JI-CO-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Judges Nottingham, Edward Willis Jr. (D. Colo.)
JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burrell, Susan L. (California)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0004 | JI-CO-0001-0005 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Dubofsky, Frank Neal (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Miller, David H. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Ramiu, Maria Felisa (California)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0004 | JI-CO-0001-0006
Silverstein, Mark (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-9000
Warboys, Loren M. (California)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0004 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Erkenbrack, Stephen K. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0006
Farley, Paul (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0006
Gray, Toni Jo (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Jackson, Michael Hodges (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0001 | JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Lizza, John August (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0006
Nachman, Franklin A. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Norton, Gale A. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0006
Parchman, Thomas S. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0006 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Tymkovich, Timothy M. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0006
Worthington, Stacy L. (Colorado)
JI-CO-0001-0002 | JI-CO-0001-0003 | JI-CO-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Abrams, Robert W. (New York)
JI-CO-0001-0002

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