University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name CRIPA Investigation, Falls Church (VA) MH-VA-0001
Docket / Court docket unknown ( No Court )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On July 1, 1994, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to the Governor of Virginia under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, indicating an intention to investigate conditions at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute (NVMHI) in Falls Church, ... read more >
On July 1, 1994, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to the Governor of Virginia under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, indicating an intention to investigate conditions at the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute (NVMHI) in Falls Church, Virginia. In the letter, the government indicated an intention to investigate conditions at the facility including the adequacy of medical care, psychiatric care, staffing, and the use of physical and chemical restraints.

Shortly after a document request on August 19, 1994, with which staff at NVMHI did comply, attorneys for Virginia informed DOJ they had decided not to grant access to the facility. At a meeting on January 31, 1995, representatives from Virginia again denied the DOJ access to NVMHI. And at a follow-up meeting on February 14, 1995, they refused to grant DOJ access to the facility for a third time. In a March 17, 1995, letter, the representatives from Virginia informed DOJ access might be granted by the end of the year provided it accepted numerous demands, including accepting Virginia's views regarding other unresolved investigations.

On April 20, 1995, DOJ sent a findings letter to the Governor. In the findings letter, the government outlined Virginia's unacceptable refusal to cooperate and facts indicating that conditions at the facility deprived NVMHI patients of their constitutional rights and violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1395i, and various implementing regulations for those statutes. Specifically, DOJ found inadequate mental health care, inadequate staffing, inadequate medical care and dangerous medication practices, failure to protect patients from harm, inadequate physical conditions. DOJ further outlined minimum remedial measures required to bring NVMHI into compliance with constitutional and statutory requirements.

Apparently, in June 1995, just before a meeting between the United States Attorney General and the Attorney General of Virginia, Virginia submitted a Continuous Improvement Plan and finally agreed to allow DOJ to inspect the facility. That inspection took place on July 25-27, 1995.

On April 3, 1996, DOJ sent a supplemental findings letter to the Governor. In the letter, DOJ outlined continued violations at NVMHI respecting (a) inadequate mental health care, discharge planning, and community services, (b) deficient staffing and staff supervision, (c) inadequate medical care and medication practices, (d) inadequate protection from harm, (e) inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion, (f) unsafe physical conditions, and (g) inadequate quality assurance and recordkeeping. As in the April 20, 1995, letter, DOJ again outlined minimum remedial measures required to bring NVMHI into compliance with constitutional and statutory requirements.

We have no more information on this file and thus do not know what measures, if any, NVMHI took to address the issues.

Josh Altman - 07/03/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Falls Church, VA 07/01/1994
MH-VA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Memorandum re: Virginia Facilities 02/05/1995
MH-VA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Falls Church, VA 04/20/1995
MH-VA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Memorandum re: Issuance of Suppl. Findings Letter regarding Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Falls Church, VA 12/15/1995
MH-VA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Supplemental Findings Letter re: Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, Falls Church, VA 04/03/1996
MH-VA-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fahey, Helen F. (Virginia)
MH-VA-0001-0001 | MH-VA-0001-0002 | MH-VA-0001-0003 | MH-VA-0001-0005
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
MH-VA-0001-0001 | MH-VA-0001-0002 | MH-VA-0001-0003 | MH-VA-0001-0004 | MH-VA-0001-0005
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
MH-VA-0001-0003 | MH-VA-0001-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Gilmore, James S. III (Virginia)
MH-VA-0001-0001 | MH-VA-0001-0002 | MH-VA-0001-0003 | MH-VA-0001-0005
Other Lawyers None on record

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