On December 12, 1991, People First of Tennessee filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on behalf of its members who were residents of Arlington Developmental Center (ADC) against the center and state agencies. The plaintiffs were represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and private attorneys. On March 5, 1992, this case was transferred to the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee on defendants' motion. The case was assigned the caption People First of Tennessee v. Arlington Developmental Ctr., No. 92-2213 (W.D.Tenn.1992)(''People First case''). The Parent Guardian Association Intervened on behalf of the defendants.
The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the district court (Judge Jon McCalla) granted on December 22, 1992 with respect to claims brought under the Social Security Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Equal Protection Clause, and the First Amendment. People First of Tenn. v. Arlington Developmental, 878 F.Supp. 97 (W.D. Tenn. 1992). Causes of action remained under the Due Process Clause and the First Amendment.
Meanwhile, in January, 1992, the United States Department of Justice filed a similar action against the State of Tennessee pursuant to Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et al, alleging that the state had failed to provide humane conditions and adequate treatment at Arlington Developmental Center. United States v. Tennessee, Civ. No. 92-2062. (W.D.Tenn.1992)(''the United States case") (See ID-TN-0003 of this collection).
The United States case (ID-TN-3) proceeded to trial and resulted in the court entering judgment against the defendants, finding that the conditions at ADC violated the due process rights of the residents.
On April 29, 1994, a hearing was held on the People First plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and on September 30, 1994, the court (Judge McCalla) entered an order denying the motion and staying the proceedings. On September 26, 1995, the court adopted the findings from the United States case as findings in the People First case and certified a class that included all past, present, and future residents of ADC. The Plaintiffs and the Intervenor in the People First case were also named as Intervenors in the United States case.
A settlement in both the United States case and the People First case was reached on June 26, 1996. Judge McCalla entered an Order Approving Settlement of Class Action on January 6, 1997. The Settlement Agreement acknowledged that there were violations of plaintiffs' First Amendments rights because they were prevented from associating and communicating with persons of their choice. Defendants agreed to take steps to protect these rights.
The intervenors appealed, asking the Sixth Circuit to overturn the certification of the class, the approval of the settlement, and three related rulings. We find no basis for doing so. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. People First of Tennessee v. Arlington Developmental Center, 145 F.3d 1332 (Table), 1998 WL 246146, 1998 U.S. App. LEXIS 19530 ( 6th Cir. 1998) People First v. Arlington Developmental Ctr., 145 F.3d 13326th Cir. Tenn. 1998). The Supreme Court denied certiorari. Parent-Guardian Ass'n of Arlington Dev. Ctr. v. People First, 525 U.S. 1001, 119 S. Ct. 510, 142 L. Ed. 2d 423 (1998).
The PACER docket entries for the People First case continue through July of 1999 when attorneys' fees were awarded to the plaintiffs. No further case activity is noted.
See ID-TN-0003, the United States case, for additional information on post settlement case activity that occurred in that case. Angela Heverling - 04/01/2007