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Case Name Brewster v. Dukakis MH-MA-0001
Docket / Court 76-4423 ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On December 15, 1976, residents of the Northampton State Hospital in Massachusetts filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Massachusetts in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had violated their ... read more >
On December 15, 1976, residents of the Northampton State Hospital in Massachusetts filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of Massachusetts in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had violated their constitutional rights by failing to provide them with suitable treatment under the least restrictive conditions, by discriminating against them with respect to benefit allocation pursuant to federal statutory programs, failing to provide alternative housing arrangements, failing to provide adequate mental health care, and failing to provide programming for them.

On January 6, 1978, the parties entered into a Consent Decree in the case. The Decree provided for changes in the areas of programming, staffing, transportation, vocational training, job placement, medical care, counseling, provision of alternative care environments and housing arrangements, funding, and mental health care requirements.

On March 19, 1981, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Judge Frank Harlan Freedman) found that the defendants had failed to comply with the terms of the Consent Decree by failing to release funding for the programs specified by the Decree in a timely manner. The Court ordered the defendants to release the funds and to account for all expenditures. The defendants appealed.

On August 19, 1981, the District Court (Judge Freedman) held that the plan proposed by the defendants for retraining all hospital and community employees was inadequate. The Court then ordered the state to develop a plan for a system of independently and legally trained advocates, all of whom would be paid by the state and capable of representing clients in connection with legal issues arising from their disability or status of prior or concurrent institutionalization. Brewster v. Dukakis, 520 F.Supp. 882 (D.Mass. 1981). The defendants appealed.

On November 16, 1981, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (Judges Levin Hicks Campbell, Hugh Henry Bownes, and Stephen Gerald Breyer) issues a temporary injunction to stay the District Court's order that the defendants must immediately release funding pursuant to the consent decree. On December 23, 1981, the District Court (Judge Freeman) issued an order compelling defendants to implement certain provisions of the Consent Decree and extending the time that the defendants had to obtain funding. The defendants appealed.

On March 24, 1982, the First Circuit (Judge Frank Morey Coffin) upheld the District Court's order with the modification that the defendants could not be required to go beyond what their good-faith professional best efforts could reasonably be expected to accomplish. Brewster v. Dukakis, 675 F.2d 1 (1st Cir. 1982).

On June 28, 1982, the First Circuit (Judge Breyer) vacated the District Court's order regarding the provision of a legal services program, holding that the District Court had no legal authority to require the Commonwealth to pay for a broad legal services program for mentally ill and retarded people. Brewster v. Dukakis, 687 F.2d 495 (1st Cir. 1982).

On July 16, 1982, the District Court (Judge Freedman) ordered the defendants to pay $386,204.01 in attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs. Brewster v. Dukakis, 544 F.Supp. 1069 (D.Mass. 1982). The defendants appealed. On March 14, 1986, the First Circuit (Judge Coffin) affirmed the District Court's attorney fee award, with a $5000 reduction of the fee. Brewster v. Dukakis, 786 F.2d 16 (1st Cir. 1986).

On March 12, 1987, the District Court (Judge Freedman) issued an order of disengagement, finding that the parties had substantially complied with the Consent Decree and holding that the case would be closed within three years if the Court found that the Decree had been fully accomplished within that time period.

On January 6, 1992, the District Court vacated the Consent Decree and dismissed the case.

Kristen Sagar - 01/03/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Disability
Least restrictive environment
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Classification / placement
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Education
Funding
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Payment for care
Reassessment and care planning
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Department of Mental Health
Northampton State Hospital
Plaintiff Description Residents of the Northampton State Hospital in Massachusetts
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1978 - 1992
Case Closing Year 1992
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Brewster v. Dukakis: Developing Community Services Through Use of a Consent Decree
By: Robert L. Okin (University of California San Francisco)
Citation: 141 Am.J. Psychiatry 786 (1984)
[ Detail ]

  Second-Generation Deinstitutionalization, II: The Impact of Brewster v. Dukakis on Correlates of Community and Hospital Utilization
By: Jeffrey Geller, et al. (University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Citation: 147 Am. J. Psychiatry 988 (1990)
[ Detail ]

  he Massachusetts Experience with Funded Deinstitutionalization: A Decade of Promises, Products and Problems Under the Brewster v. Dukakis Consent Decree
By: Jeffrey Geller, et al. (University of Massachusetts Medical School)
Citation: (1989)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
76-4423 (D. Mass.) 10/22/1993
MH-MA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Third Amended Complaint 07/12/1977
MH-MA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Final Consent Decree 12/06/1978 (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Findings and Order 03/19/1981 (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Memorandum 08/19/1981 (520 F.Supp. 882) (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 11/16/1981
MH-MA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Memorandum 12/23/1981 (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Order 12/23/1981 (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Opinion 03/24/1982 (675 F.2d 1)
MH-MA-0001-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 06/28/1982 (687 F.2d 495)
MH-MA-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum 07/16/1982 (544 F.Supp. 1069) (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 03/14/1986 (786 F.2d 16)
MH-MA-0001-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 03/12/1987 (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Order of Disengagement 03/12/1987 (D. Mass.)
MH-MA-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Opinion 08/25/1993 (3 F.3d 488)
MH-MA-0001-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Aldrich, Bailey (D. Mass., First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0013
Boudin, Michael (D.D.C., First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0014
Bownes, Hugh Henry (D.N.H., First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0004 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0004 | MH-MA-0001-0010
Campbell, Levin Hicks (D. Mass., First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0004 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Coffin, Frank Morey (First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0013 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Freedman, Frank Harlan (D. Mass., FISC)
MH-MA-0001-0002 | MH-MA-0001-0003 | MH-MA-0001-0005 | MH-MA-0001-0007 | MH-MA-0001-0008 | MH-MA-0001-0009 | MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012 | MH-MA-0001-9000
Pettine, Raymond James (D.R.I.)
MH-MA-0001-0013
Selya, Bruce Marshall (First Circuit, D.R.I., FISCR)
MH-MA-0001-0014
Torruella, Juan R. (D.P.R., First Circuit)
MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0014
Monitors/Masters Ponsor, Michael Adrian (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bone, Robert G. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012
Burnes, Nonnie S. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012 | MH-MA-0001-0014 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Costanzo, Cathy E. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0014
Costello, Jan C. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0001
Fleischner, Robert D. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0013 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Jones, Boisfeuillet Jr. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0002
Lesser, Thomas B. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0001
Newman, William C. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0002 | MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012
Schwartz, Steven J. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0001 | MH-MA-0001-0002 | MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012 | MH-MA-0001-0013 | MH-MA-0001-0014 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Defendant's Lawyers Barnico, Thomas A. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0013 | MH-MA-0001-0014 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Bellotti, Francis X. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0002 | MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0013 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Broad, Michael (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012
Harshbarger, Scott (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0014
Mohl, Bruce E. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0010 | MH-MA-0001-0015
Pardee, William L. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0013 | MH-MA-0001-0014
Rosenfeld, S. Stephen (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0002
Valvo, Carl (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0015
White, Catherine A. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0002 | MH-MA-0001-0011 | MH-MA-0001-0012
Other Lawyers Heins, Marjorie (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0013
Hennessey, Patricia E. (New York)
MH-MA-0001-0015
Kogan, Terry S. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0015
Leibensperger, Edward P. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0013
Leubsdorf, John D. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0015
Moriearty, Scott C. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0015
Ogle, Kurt A. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0013
Vance, Verne W. Jr. (Massachusetts)
MH-MA-0001-0015

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