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Case Name Jeanine B. v. Doyle CW-WI-0001
Docket / Court 93-0547 ( E.D. Wis. )
State/Territory Wisconsin
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Children's Rights, Inc.
Case Summary
Children's Rights, the ACLU, and private co-counsel filed this class action lawsuit in 1993, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, against the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services and the Milwaukee County Department of Human Services. The complaint ... read more >
Children's Rights, the ACLU, and private co-counsel filed this class action lawsuit in 1993, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, against the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services and the Milwaukee County Department of Human Services. The complaint alleged abuse and neglect of children in the Milwaukee child-welfare system, inadequate investigations into abuse and neglect, lack of services, improper foster care placement, and high caseworker caseloads. The plaintiffs alleged violations of state law and federal law, including the Adoption Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 620-28, 670-79(a); Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), 42 U.S.C. § 5101-5106(a); Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12121-12150; and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794.

In early 1995, the Court granted the state defendants' motion to dismiss claims as to the state defendants brought under 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(15) of the Adoption Assistance Act and under the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, the Court certified the class of plaintiffs as children who are in foster care in Milwaukee County, and children about whom the county Department of Human Services received reports of abuse or neglect. Jeanine B. v. Thompson, 877 F. Supp. 1268 (E.D. Wisc. 1995).

The case then proceeded towards a trial bifurcated into a liability stage and a remedy stage. However, during preparations for trial in 1995, the Wisconsin state Legislature passed a provision that required the state Department of Health and Social Services to propose a plan for state takeover of the Milwaukee County child welfare system by 1998. In light of the legislative action, the Court denied the state defendant's motion for partial summary judgment on constitutional issues, adjourned the trial date, and required the parties to determine whether the law provided interim relief and how relief affected the liability and remedial aspects of the case.

After both plaintiffs and defendants provided a series of briefings to the Court, the plaintiffs moved for preliminary injunction in February 1997. The plaintiffs claimed that the pending state takeover would only exacerbate problems in Milwaukee County's child welfare system. In response, the Court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction under CAPTA. Jeanine B. v. Thompson, 967 F. Supp. 1104 (E.D. Wisc. 1997).

In 1998, the Court dismissed as moot the plaintiffs' claims against the county and proceeded with discovery for trial. After extensive discovery, the plaintiffs filed a supplemental complaint in 1999 and a second supplemental complaint in 2000. Trial was set for 2003. In September 2002, however, the parties reached a settlement agreement that provided for phased improvements to the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, which included decreased caseworker caseloads, elimination of shelter placements, and special diagnostic/assessment centers for children.

The parties modified the settlement agreement in 2003 and again in 2012, although the main substance of the agreement remained the same. The agreement is to remain in force until the defendants are in full compliance with its terms and the Court terminates jurisdiction. Attorneys' fees have been awarded to the plaintiffs in the amount of $950,000. As of the date of this summary, monitoring continues.

Elizabeth Homan - 11/25/2012
Dan Whitman - 11/29/2015
Eva Richardson - 02/04/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Preliminary relief denied
Reporting
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Adoption
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Conditions of confinement
Counseling
Emergency shelter
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Family abuse and neglect
Family reunification
Foster care (benefits, training)
Juveniles
Neglect by staff
Placement in shelters
Siblings (visitation, placement)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Timeliness of case assignment
Mental Disability
Depression
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (AACWA), 42 U.S.C. § 620 et seq.
Adoption Assistance Program, 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, 42 U.S.C. § 5101 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Milwaukee County Department of Human Services
Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services
Plaintiff Description Children in foster care in Milwaukee County, and children about whom the county Department of Human Services received reports of abuse or neglect
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Children's Rights, Inc.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Legislative action
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 1993
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
Date: Summer 2009
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School Faculty)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
93-C-547 (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:93−cv−00547 (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/29/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint
CW-WI-0001-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/01/1993
Federal Supplement
CW-WI-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/1995
Source: Westlaw
Federal Supplement
CW-WI-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/1997
Source: Westlaw
Modified Settlement Agreement
CW-WI-0001-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/14/2003
Decision and Order (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/17/2006
Decision and Order [ECF# 541] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 543] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Order [ECF# 545] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/18/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 549] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 553] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/20/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 551] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/05/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 555] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 558] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 572] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER APPROVING MODIFICATION OF SECTION I.D.9. OF THE MODIFIED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT [ECF# 568] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Modified Settlement Agreement [ECF# 569]
CW-WI-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 581] (E.D. Wis.)
CW-WI-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Randa, Rudolph Thomas (E.D. Wis.) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0002 | CW-WI-0001-0004 | CW-WI-0001-0005 | CW-WI-0001-0006 | CW-WI-0001-0009 | CW-WI-0001-0010 | CW-WI-0001-0011 | CW-WI-0001-0012 | CW-WI-0001-0013 | CW-WI-0001-0014 | CW-WI-0001-0015 | CW-WI-0001-0016 | CW-WI-0001-0017 | CW-WI-0001-9000 | CW-WI-0001-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bloodhart, Ann K (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Dorsky, Daniel S. (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Dunn, Christopher (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0001 | CW-WI-0001-9000
Hechtman, Sarah (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Holloway, Jean F (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Kasak, Cynthia J (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Klaas, Heather (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Kleinhans, Kacy F (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Koneazny, Peter M. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0001 | CW-WI-0001-9000
Langdon, James K II (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Lowry, Marcia Robinson (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0001 | CW-WI-0001-0002 | CW-WI-0001-9000
Martinez, Micabil Diaz (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Merz, Gregory R (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Moloney, Lawrence A. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Murdaugh, Anne W. (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0001 | CW-WI-0001-9000
Nealon, Kellie M (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Park, Rachel (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Peters, Mark G. (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Prine, Kenneth A. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Stone, Martha (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Thompson, Eric E. (New York) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0002 | CW-WI-0001-0004 | CW-WI-0001-0005 | CW-WI-0001-9000
Westgard, Kristen Solveig (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Wittrock, Quentin R (Minnesota) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Anderson, Peter C. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Barnett, Paul L (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Burke, Mary E. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0002 | CW-WI-0001-0004 | CW-WI-0001-0005 | CW-WI-0001-9000
Finkelmeyer, Corey F. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Jorgensen, John (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Schlaefer, Mary Woolsey (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-9000
Stier, Daniel D. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
CW-WI-0001-0002

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