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Case Name Assoc. for Retarded Citizens of North Dakota v. Olson ID-ND-0003
Docket / Court A1-80-141 ( D.N.D. )
State/Territory North Dakota
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
On September 26, 1980, the Association for Retarded Citizens of North Dakota (ARC-ND) and six mentally retarded citizens filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota against the state. ARC-ND sought declaratory and injunctive relief regarding ... read more >
On September 26, 1980, the Association for Retarded Citizens of North Dakota (ARC-ND) and six mentally retarded citizens filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota against the state. ARC-ND sought declaratory and injunctive relief regarding treatment and conditions in the Grafton State School's (later named the Developmental Center) facilities in Grafton and Dunseith. ARC-ND was represented by a private attorney and Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota.

On November 4, 1981, prior to a trial, the court entered a consent decree. The defendants agreed to improve the conditions in the school by limiting the use of medications, ceasing corporal punishment, reducing the use of physical restraints, instituting proper feeding programs, conducting a skill and needs inventory on all residents, and hiring an additional 125 personnel. The court entered a separate order granting attorneys' fees to plaintiffs.

The defendants failed to comply with either order and a trial was held in early 1982. The district court (Judge Bruce M. Van Sickle) entered a broad permanent injunction based on violations of the plaintiff's due process rights, rights to privacy and free associations, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and state law. Association for Retarded Citizens v. Olson, 561 F. Supp. 473 (D.N.D. 1982). The court found that North Dakota spent less per resident than any other state and there were significant problems related to the treatment of residents. The order required defendants to provide individualized habilitation plans for residents, provide appropriate food, shelter, and medical care, and provide an environment that assured privacy rights for residents. This order was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (Judge Myron H. Bright). Association for Retarded Citizens v. Olson, 713 F.2d 1384, 1396 (8th Cir. 1983).

In March of 1990, the district court entered an order affirming its 1982 order with a modification requiring the state to meet the standards of the Accreditation Council on Services for People with Developmental Disabilities. The defendants appealed and the Court of Appeals (Judge James B. Loken) remanded so the district court could consider a 1984 Supreme Court decision holding that federal courts cannot enjoin state institutions on the basis of state law. Association for Retarded Citizens v. Sinner, 942 F.2d 1235 (8th Cir. 1991).

On remand, the district court appointed a Panel of Masters to conduct hearings and report to the court. The district court (Judge Van Sickle) adopted the panel's report in its entirety and found that the state had made significant improvements and no longer violated the federal rights of its mentally retarded residents. Association for Retarded Citizens v. Schafer, 872 F. Supp. 689 (D.N.D. 1995). The court terminated and dismissed the permanent injunction and granted substantial attorneys' fees to plaintiffs.

The state appealed a part of the award of attorneys' fees and the Court of Appeals (Judge James B. Loken) reversed, holding that the fees were not reasonable because the plaintiffs expended fees when there was little chance for success. Association for Retarded Citizens v. Schafer, 83 F.3d 1008 (8th Cir. 1996). The Court of Appeals did not remand; rather, it determined that the plaintiffs had already received sufficient fees. On November 11, 1996, the Supreme Court denied certiorari. N.D. Ass'n of Retarded Citizens v. Schafer, 519 U.S. 993 (U.S. 1996).

We have no further information on this matter.

Angela Heverling - 05/07/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
General
Fire safety
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Neglect by staff
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. ยง 701
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Defendant(s) Grafton and San Haven State Facilities
State of North Dakota
Plaintiff Description The Association for Retarded Citizens and all persons who, as of September 26, 1980, and at any time thereafter, have been or may become residents of the Grafton state school.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
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 Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1982 - 1995
Case Closing Year 1996
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
80-141 (D.N.D.) 12/02/1996
ID-ND-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum 11/13/1981 (561 F.Supp. 470) (D.N.D.)
ID-ND-0003-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 08/31/1982 (561 F.Supp. 473) (D.N.D.)
ID-ND-0003-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 11/19/1982 (561 F.Supp. 495) (D.N.D.)
ID-ND-0003-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 08/12/1983 (713 F.2d 1384)
ID-ND-0003-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum and Order 02/06/1987 (115 F.R.D. 28) (D.N.D.)
ID-ND-0003-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
[Reported Opinion] 08/14/1991 (942 F.2d 1235)
ID-ND-0003-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion 01/11/1995 (872 F.Supp. 689) (D.N.D.)
ID-ND-0003-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 05/15/1996 (83 F.3d 1008)
ID-ND-0003-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 11/18/1996 (519 U.S. 993)
ID-ND-0003-0018.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Arnold, Morris Sheppard (Eighth Circuit, W.D. Ark.)
ID-ND-0003-0014
Bright, Myron H. (Eighth Circuit)
ID-ND-0003-0011
Gibson, John R. (Eighth Circuit, W.D. Mo.)
ID-ND-0003-0011
Hanson, William Cook (N.D. Iowa, S.D. Iowa)
ID-ND-0003-0011
Loken, James B. (Eighth Circuit)
ID-ND-0003-0012 | ID-ND-0003-0014
McMillian, Theodore (Eighth Circuit)
ID-ND-0003-0014
Van Sickle, Bruce Marion (D.N.D.)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0013 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016 | ID-ND-0003-0017 | ID-ND-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Kapsner, John C. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0011
Schneider, Mary Deutsch (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0011 | ID-ND-0003-0012 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016 | ID-ND-0003-0017 | ID-ND-0003-9000
Williams, Michael J. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0011 | ID-ND-0003-0012 | ID-ND-0003-0013 | ID-ND-0003-0014 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016 | ID-ND-0003-0017 | ID-ND-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Benson, Allan (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0011
Gullickson, Sara Beth (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0014
Heitkamp, M. K. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0013 | ID-ND-0003-9000
Hovland, Daniel L. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0011 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016
Johnson, Rick D. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016
Jordheim, Lynn (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0017
Spaeth, Nicholos J. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0012 | ID-ND-0003-0017
Vukelic, James M. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0012
Wefald, Robert O. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0011 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016
Wolf, Albert A. (North Dakota)
ID-ND-0003-0010 | ID-ND-0003-0011 | ID-ND-0003-0015 | ID-ND-0003-0016
Other Lawyers None on record

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