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Case Name United States v. North Carolina PB-NC-0002
Docket / Court 5:12-cv-557 ( E.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization Bazelon Center
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 2010, the United States Department of Justice (Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section) began an investigation into the provision of services to individuals with mental illness in North Carolina. On July 28, 2011, the DOJ issued a letter of findings to the State Attorney General ... read more >
In 2010, the United States Department of Justice (Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section) began an investigation into the provision of services to individuals with mental illness in North Carolina. On July 28, 2011, the DOJ issued a letter of findings to the State Attorney General detailing violations of the ADA, Section 504, and the Olmstead v. L.C integration mandate. The DOJ found that North Carolina unnecessarily placed individuals with mental illness in "adult care homes" rather than in community-based settings, and that the state's policies cause individuals with mental illness who receive some services outside of institutions to face a risk of unnecessary institutionalization.

After a year of negotiations, the DOJ concurrently filed a complaint and settlement agreement on August 23, 2012. Through this court-enforceable settlement agreement, North Carolina promised to increase its community-based services available to individuals with mental illness and to offer additional supports so that these individuals can stay out of institutions. Specifically, North Carolina was required to put transition programs in place to move individuals out of adult care homes and divert individuals from those placements where possible. The State also agreed to create additional opportunities for individuals with mental illness to live in supported housing, and to put programs in place to expand employment opportunities. The settlement also mandated that the State improve its community-based mental health services, with an emphasis on "Assertive Community Treatment" teams and crisis services. The parties selected an independent reviewer to monitor the State's progress in complying with the agreement. The Court retained jurisdiction for purposes of enforcing the settlement.

For the next five years, the parties monitored North Carolina's progress toward the terms of the settlement agreement. On January 9, 2017, the United States submitted a motion for the court to enforce the settlement agreement. The DOJ alleged that the State had repeatedly failed to comply with the agreement's housing and employment provisions, and had redefined ways to measure its own compliance with those provisions without the agreement of the DOJ. Specifically, the DOJ found that the State was far below the housing and employment services benchmarks that had been set for the year 2016, and that, because of its shortcomings, had decided to reevaluate the way it measured its progress toward those benchmarks to artificially boost the number of individuals who had received services. The DOJ stated that because of these failures, hundreds of mentally ill North Carolinians remained needlessly segregated in adult care homes.

The State opposed the motion, arguing that the DOJ's motion for court enforcement violated terms of the settlement agreement that called for collaborative dispute resolution. It also argued that its means of evaluating progress were consistent with the terms of the agreement.

On June 22, 2017, the case was reassigned to Chief Judge James C. Dever. On September 21, 2017, Judge Dever granted the DOJ's motion in part. Finding that the United States had satisfied its dispute resolution obligations under the settlement agreement and that its interpretation of the State's obligations was correct, he ordered the parties to meet and negotiate a modified timeline for the State's compliance obligations. 2017 WL 4238866. The parties met and agreed to extend the term of the agreement from July 2020 to July 2021, finding the State needed additional time to meet its obligations. The court granted an order approving of this modification on November 1, 2017.

Beth Kurtz - 11/09/2012
Lauren Latterell Powell - 11/01/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Individualized planning
Placement in mental health facilities
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Depression
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Schizophrenia
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) State of North Carolina
Plaintiff Description The United States filed this complaint on behalf of individuals with mental illness in North Carolina who are unnecessarily housed in adult care homes or placed at risk of such institutionalization by the state's policies.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Bazelon Center
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2012 - 2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  United States of America v. North Carolina
http://www.bazelon.org/u-s-v-north-carolina/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:12-cv-557 (E.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
DOJ Letter of Findings
PB-NC-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/2011
Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Letter sent to N.C. Governor, N.C. Division of Health and Human Services, and N.C. Attorney General by Bazelon Center on behalf of stakeholder group
PB-NC-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/11/2011
Letter sent to N.C. Governor and N.C. Attorney General by Bazelon Center attorneys on behalf of stakeholder group
PB-NC-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/30/2011
Letter sent to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) by Bazelon Center attorneys on behalf of stakeholder group, regarding proposed 1915(i) option in North Carolina
PB-NC-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/27/2012
Settlement Agreement
PB-NC-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Complaint
PB-NC-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
DOJ Press Release
PB-NC-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2012
Source: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
Notice of Withdrawl [ECF# 21]
PB-NC-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/2017
Consent Order Entering Modification Of Settlement Agreement and Extending Jurisdiction [ECF# 32] (E.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dever, James C. III (E.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0002-0009 | PB-NC-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Acker, G Norman III (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002 | PB-NC-0002-9000
Barkoff, Alison (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
England, Travis W (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002 | PB-NC-0002-9000
Foran, Sheila (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
Friel, Gregory (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
Graff, Julia (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-9000
Hill, Eve L. (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
Kline, Regina (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002 | PB-NC-0002-0004
Raish, Anne (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002 | PB-NC-0002-9000
Rush, Regan (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
Walker, Thomas G. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002
Welan, Joy Levin (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0001 | PB-NC-0002-0002 | PB-NC-0002-9000
Yeh, Teresa (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Corbett, Lisa G. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0002-9000
Rabinovitz, Brian D. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0002-9000
Tetteh, Josephine N. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0002-0008 | PB-NC-0002-9000
Wood, Michael T. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Burnim, Ira Abraham (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0005 | PB-NC-0002-0006 | PB-NC-0002-0007
Mathis, Jennifer (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0002-0005 | PB-NC-0002-0006 | PB-NC-0002-0007

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