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Case Name Jensen v. Minnesota Department of Human Services MH-MN-0001
Docket / Court 0:09-cv-01775-DWF-FLN ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Mental Health (Facility)
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Case Summary
On July 10, 2009, mental health patients at Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a state facility, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Minnesota state law against the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs, represented ... read more >
On July 10, 2009, mental health patients at Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a state facility, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 and Minnesota state law against the Minnesota Department of Human Services in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive and declaratory relief, and damages. They alleged that Minnesota Extended Treatment Options frequently subjected patients with developmental disabilities to the improper and inhumane use of seclusion and mechanical restraints in violation of their Fourteenth and Eighth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and §504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The plaintiffs also claimed state law violations under the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Human Rights Act, and under Minnesota statutes for negligence, false imprisonment, battery, assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud. The plaintiffs' claim for declaratory relief alleged that the Minnesota state statutes referred to as "Rule 40" (Minn. Stat. § 245.825 and Minn. R. 9525.2700 - .2810), which govern the use of seclusion and mechanical restraints in licensed facilities serving persons with developmental disabilities, violate the Minnesota and United States Constitution.

Specifically, patients were restrained with metal handcuffs, leg irons, shackles and/or nylon straps after committing insignificant conduct violations such as spitting, laughing, hand-washing, or touching a pizza box. The Minnesota State Ombudsman for Mental Health and Development Disabilities reviewed the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options facility in 2008 and released a report titled "Just Plain Wrong". The Ombudsman found that METO staff excessively used restraints and law enforcement-style devices and that 63% of METO residents at the time of the review had been restrained. One resident was restrained 299 times in 2006 and 230 times in 2007.

On March 8, 2010, the District Court (Judge Donovan W. Frank) ordered the Defendants to submit a draft settlement agreement to the Plaintiffs by April 2, 2010. On July 19, 2010, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the state law claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. That same day the Plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and a motion to certify the class.

On September 14, 2010, the parties reached a $3 million settlement agreement following two days of mediation. In the settlement, the parties agreed to work together to develop appropriate policies and procedures for implementation at METO and the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Additionally, the parties agreed to form a committee comprised of stakeholders within the developmental disabilities community. The committee's responsibilities included reviewing the Minnesota Department of Health Services rule (Rule 40), which governs and protects people with developmental disabilities. The committee would also modernize Rule 40 to reflect current best practices, including the use of positive and social behavioral supports, the development of placement plans consistent with the principles of the "most integrated setting" and "person-centered planning", and development of an "Olmstead Plan" consistent with the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 582 (1999).

On Dec. 5, 2011, Judge Frank approved the class settlement agreement. 2011 WL 6178845. On July 17, 2012, the Court appointed an independent advisor and monitor to oversee implementation of the Settlement Agreement and to provide status reports to the Court. The terms indicated that the court would retain jurisdiction for two years after the Agreement was approved of, or as the court deemed just and equitable. It contained an option for the court to extend its jurisdiction upon a motion by plaintiffs if defendants were in substantial non-compliance with certain terms of the Agreement regarding restraints.

On Dec. 11, 2013, the Court accepted the monitor's suggestion to modify an aspect of the settlement agreement governing the emergency use of manual restraints and "Velcro soft cuffs and fabric ankle straps." The monitor suggested eliminating the soft cuffs and ankle-strap options and made other changes, including special staff training on the revised policy.

On April 30, 2014, in response to another monitor update, Judge Frank issued an order expressing disappointment in the fact that "more than two years after the approval of the settlement agreement, for some [state] employees, safety is equated with a show of force, power and control in a legacy of the old institutional way and not the direction [DHS is] headed." (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court strongly encouraged the state to redouble its efforts at compliance with the settlement agreement.

On Sept. 18, 2014, the Court declined to adopt the state's proposed Olmstead Plan and ordered that they submit a revised plan. The state then submitted another revised Olmstead Plan, for which Judge Frank gave his provisional approval on January 9, 2015. However, the court's order outlined a number deficiencies in the proposed Plan, particularly with respect to the state's plans for reaching its employment, housing, and healthcare goals. To address these deficiencies, Judge Frank ordered the state to include more specificity and concrete action steps in its plan.

After the State submitted a revised plan in March of 2015, on April 14, the Independent Monitor submitted a special report to the court detailing his concerns about potential misrepresentations and inaccurate or unverified reporting on behalf of the State with respect to its progress. For instance, an April 2014 report filed by the State indicated that "mobile support teams" were actively supporting class members in their homes. However, when the Monitor asked DHS about the activities of these teams, he was told the teams did not exist. The State disputed knowingly or intentionally filing inaccurate information. Judge Frank declined to impose sanctions or hold the state in contempt of court, but did reject the state's revised Olmstead Plan on May 6, 2015. 2015 WL 2100942. He again ordered the state to submit a revised plan, this time by July 10.

On May 27, 2015, DHS filed a motion for relief from judgment, asking the court to exempt the State from the provision of the Settlement Agreement that prohibited "transfers or placements of persons committed solely as a person with a developmental disability to the Minnesota Security Hospital." The State apparently did so in response to its decision to move a 16-year-old with developmental disabilities to the Minnesota Security Hospital. On June 24, Judge Frank denied the motion and ordered the defendants to create a discharge plan for the juvenile who had been moved to the hospital. (This individual was moved to a community placement, with approval of the court, in July of 2016.)

On August 10, 2015, the State submitted another revised Olmstead Plan. The State's letter to the court indicates that it focused not only on what actions state parties would take to implement the Plan, but also on creating concrete and measurable goals. Although plaintiffs still disapproved of certain aspects of the proposed Olmstead Plan, the court approved it on September 29, 2015. Judge Frank found that three key changes influenced his decision to approve of the Plan: (1) the addition of concrete
baseline data and specific timelines to establish measurable goals; (2) improvements to each goal that make the Olmstead Plan not only measurable, but strategically tailored to make a significant impact in the lives of individuals with disabilities across the state; and (3) added commitments to make the Olmstead Plan an evolving document that will continue to respond to the changing needs of individuals in the state over time. The plan included over 100 Evaluation Criteria (EC) through which the State could measure its progress. At this time, two areas - Assistive Technology and Preventing Abuse and Neglect - remained "under development." The court gave defendants another to develop these topic areas while it began to implement the overall Plan.

On November 20, 2015, Judge Frank awarded $50,000 in additional attorneys' fees to Class Counsel.

On February 22, 2016, the court issued two orders with respect to the State's reporting requirements. One required that DHS submit quarterly and annual reports regarding implementation of the newly-approved Olmstead Plan. That order also extended the court's jurisdiction through December of 2019. The second order required DHS to submit semi-annual and annual Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) reports regarding implementation of the Settlement Agreement. The orders temporarily stayed the reporting duties of the Court Monitor.

On May 31, 2016, DHS submitted a revised Olmstead Plan, which incorporated developed plans for the areas of Assistive Technology and Preventing Abuse and Neglect.

After DHS filed its next round of reports in August, the court ordered the Monitor to write an independent Compliance Report. The Compliance Report, dated November 29, 2016, indicated that defendants had improved in the thoroughness of their self-reporting. However, it noted several areas for improvement in reporting, including verification of outcomes related to quality-of-life, looking outside the scope of documents for sources of compliance information, and including information verifying how "best efforts" were made where that standard was required. Substantively, the Monitor noted that lack of community support services continued to hamper outcomes related to successful transitions into the community. It also noted areas of significant progress, including the cessation of the use of restraints in some facilities and the development of extensive community training.

The annual CPA for the year 2016 was filed under seal on March 31, 2017, so its contents are not accessible. However, a quarterly report filed on February 28 indicated that the State had met certain annual goals, including increasing the number of individuals in integrated employment settings, increasing the number of students receiving education in the most integrated setting, and increasing the number of accessible pedestrian signals. It also highlighted areas for improvement, including increasing the number of students entering post-secondary education and decreasing the number of students experiencing the use of emergency restrictive procedures.

In April of 2017, defendants objected - but did not formally make a motion - to the court's continuing jurisdiction, arguing that it could only extend its jurisdiction for one year beyond the original two-years that the court indicated it would retain jurisdiction after the Settlement Agreement was approved in 2011. Judge Frank denied defendants' objection on the basis that, while somewhat ambiguous, the Settlement Agreement's assertion that the court could retain jurisdiction as it "deem[ed] just and equitable" meant that continuing jurisdiction to ensure proper implementation of the Agreement was appropriate, especially in light of defendants' past non-compliance.

Defendants submitted an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit regarding this decision on July 26, 2017. On October 20, they filed a motion asking the district court to stay their obligations under the Settlement Agreement while their appeal was pending.

As of January 5, 2018, the district court continues to receive reports documenting the State's assessment of its own progress. The most recent report, filed on December 21, 2017, indicates more progress with respect to the movement of individuals from segregated settings into the community, increased access to waiver services, increased capacity for integration in housing and employment, and a continued decrease in the use of manual restraints. It indicates a need for improvement in the following areas: increasing the percentage of individuals' transition plans that meet the required person-centered practices protocols; eliminating the waiting list for persons in the Institutional Exit and Defined Need categories; increasing the percent of individual plans that meet the required protocols; reducing the number of reports of emergency use of mechanical restraints with approved individuals; increasing the number of individuals living in integrated housing; increasing the number of students with disabilities enrolling in an integrated postsecondary education setting; and
increasing the percentage of people housed five months after being discharged from the hospital.

Defendants' appeal and motion for a stay are pending as of January 5, 2018.

Joe Reiter - 03/28/2011
Andrew Junker - 12/04/2014
Lauren Latterell Powell - 01/05/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Goals and Timekeeping
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Confinement/isolation
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Education
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Housing
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Individualized planning
Neglect by staff
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Restraints : physical
Transportation
Wait lists
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Autism
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Schizophrenia
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Defendant(s) Minnesota Department of Human Services
Plaintiff Description Patients of the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options program with developmental disabilities who were frequently subjected to abusive, inhumane, cruel and improper use of seclusion and mechanical restraints
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2011 - 2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
0:09-cv-01775-DWF-FLN (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT AND REQUEST FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF [ECF# 3]
MH-MN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/30/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MOTION TO DISMISS VARIOUS CLAIMS AGAINST STATE DEFENDANTS [ECF# 40]
MH-MN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF RULE 12 MOTION TO DISMISS VARIOUS CLAIMS AGAINST STATE DEFENDANTS [ECF# 42]
MH-MN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [ECF# 47]
MH-MN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [ECF# 49]
MH-MN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Press Release
MH-MN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/14/2010
Final Approval Order for Stipulated Class Action Settlement Agreement (2011 WL 6178845) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 12/05/2011
Source: Westlaw
Order [ECF# 150] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Third Report to the Court: Amendments to the Settlement Agreement [ECF# 183]
MH-MN-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/21/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Memorandum [ECF# 205] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order and Memorandum [ECF# 212] (2013 WL 1776408) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/25/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 237] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/17/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order and Memorandum [ECF# 224] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 259] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/17/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Conforming Revision to Order of December 11, 2013 [ECF# 279] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 297] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 344] (2014 WL 4670898) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/18/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 435] (2015 WL 2100942) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0018.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 510] (138 F.Supp.3d 1068) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0019.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 521] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 526] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/20/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jensen Settlement Agreement Comprehensive Plan of Action [Ninth Compliance Update Report] [ECF# 531]
MH-MN-0001-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Reporting on Olmstead Plan [ECF# 544] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order for Reporting on Settlement Agreement [ECF# 545] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 551] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/18/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Placeholder for Identified Key to Jensen Settlement Agreement Comprehensive Plan of Action [Reporting Period: January 1 - December 31, 2015] [ECF# 553-2]
MH-MN-0001-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/31/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jensen Settlement Agreement Comprehensive Plan of Action [in Response to March 18, 2016 Order] [ECF# 572]
MH-MN-0001-0027.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 587] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0028.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jensen Settlement Agreement Comprehensive Plan of Action [August 2016 Semi-Annual Compliance Report] [ECF# 589]
MH-MN-0001-0029.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 595] (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0030.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Compliance Assessment [Pursuant to Order of September 29, 2016] [ECF# 604]
MH-MN-0001-0031.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Jensen Settlement Agreement Comprehensive Plan of Action [February 2017 Semi-Annual Compliance Report] [ECF# 614-1]
MH-MN-0001-0032.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 638] (2017 WL 2799153) (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0033.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/28/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Minnesota Olmstead Subcabinet Annual Report on Olmstead Plan Implementation [ECF# 673]
MH-MN-0001-0034.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Frank, Donovan W. (D. Minn.)
MH-MN-0001-0007 | MH-MN-0001-0008 | MH-MN-0001-0009 | MH-MN-0001-0010 | MH-MN-0001-0012 | MH-MN-0001-0013 | MH-MN-0001-0014 | MH-MN-0001-0015 | MH-MN-0001-0016 | MH-MN-0001-0017 | MH-MN-0001-0018 | MH-MN-0001-0019 | MH-MN-0001-0020 | MH-MN-0001-0021 | MH-MN-0001-0023 | MH-MN-0001-0024 | MH-MN-0001-0025 | MH-MN-0001-0028 | MH-MN-0001-0030 | MH-MN-0001-0033 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Noel, Franklin L. (D. Minn.) [Magistrate]
MH-MN-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters Ferleger, David (Pennsylvania)
MH-MN-0001-0011 | MH-MN-0001-0031
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azman, Mark R (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0001 | MH-MN-0001-0004 | MH-MN-0001-0005 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Mullin, Margaret Ann (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0001 | MH-MN-0001-0004 | MH-MN-0001-0005
O'Meara, Shamus P (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0001 | MH-MN-0001-0004 | MH-MN-0001-0005 | MH-MN-0001-0006 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Santos, Margaret Ann (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alpert, Steven H (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0002 | MH-MN-0001-0003 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Brennaman, Nathan A (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Devine, Marsha Eldot (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Ikeda, Scott H (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Kohnstamm, Kenneth (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0002 | MH-MN-0001-0003 | MH-MN-0001-9000
Leonard, Michael N. (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Noss, Anthony R. (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Orbovich, Samuel D (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Stafford, Christopher A (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Swanson, Lori (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-0002 | MH-MN-0001-0003
Winter, Aaron (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Procaccini, Karl C. (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Swenson, Katherine M. (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000
Ursu, John W. (Minnesota)
MH-MN-0001-9000

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