On April 12, 1978, six mentally retarded residents of Laconia State School and Training Center ("Laconia") of New Hampshire filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, challenging the conditions at Laconia. Plaintiffs' complaint alleged that the institution's inadequate staffing, services and programs violated the residents' rights under the Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, ("DD Act"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 6000 et seq.; under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794; under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act ("EAHCA"), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 et seq.; under the federal Constitution; under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and under two New Hampshire statutes, N.H.Rev.Stat.Ann. ch. 171-A and N.H.Rev.Stat.Ann. ch. 186-C. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
The New Hampshire Association for Retarded Citizens and the United States Department of Justice intervened as amicus curiae.
On February 22, 1980, the District Court certified the case as a class action . Garrity v. Gallen, 522 F.Supp. 171, 176 (D.N.H.1981).
Before trial, the defendants made an offer of judgment, proposing the entry of a consent decree which would include extensive injunctive relief to plaintiffs, including placement of all residents for whom Laconia was not the least restrictive environment into community settings. Plaintiffs rejected the offer.
The case went to trial, and following a 40-day trial the District Court (Chief Judge Shane Devine) found in favor of plaintiffs on several claims. The Court held that defendants had discriminated against the plaintiffs in violation of section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide individual service plans (ISP) and by denying many services, such as academic and recreational programs to the more severely retarded residents. The Court determined that Laconia was an "educational waste land." The Court found that Laconia violated the EAHCA and state law, while other claims, including the claim under the DD Act, were dismissed. Garrity v. Gallen, 522 F.Supp. 171 (D.N.H.1981). Following trial, the court directed the parties to work out a joint plan to implement the ordered relief. As the parties could not agree to a joint plan, they filed competing proposals. The District Court issued an implementation order on November 16, 1981, which combined the separate plans of the parties.
Following entry of the order of implementation, plaintiffs moved for an award of attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. Defendants' also moved for attorneys' fees from the date that their offer of judgment was rejected.
On January 25, 1982, nine school districts of the State of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire School Administrators Association sought to intervene in the case to challenge certain provisions of the District Court's order. Intervention was denied by the District Court and affirmed on appeal. Garrity v. Gallen, 697 F.2d 452 (1st Cir.1983). Plaintiffs then moved for an assessment of fees and costs against the purposed intervenors.
On August 25, 1983, the District Court (Chief Judge Shane Devine) awarded plaintiffs' attorneys' fees against the state defendants, but denied the request for fees against the purposed intervenors. The Court also denied the defendants' request for fees based on the rejection of its offer of judgment. The total amount of fees and costs awarded to plaintiffs was $220,140.58. Both parties appealed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals (Chief Judge Levin H. Campbell) affirmed in part and vacated in part and remanded. The Appeals Court upheld most of the fee award but ordered that it be recalculated by the subtraction of the portion of the fees relating solely to services performed on claims under EAHCA and state law. Garrity v. Sununu, 752 F.2d 727(1st Cir. 1984).
Our information regarding subsequent case proceedings is limited to the PACER docket, which is incomplete. According to the docket, implementation continued until 1995, with the parties filing periodic status reports with the Court. We have no further information on the matter.Dan Dalton - 04/17/2007