University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Rhode Island DR-RI-0003
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-00175 ( D.R.I. )
State/Territory Rhode Island
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 6, 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sent a findings letter to the attorney general for the State of Rhode Island. The letter reported that the Division's investigation of Rhode Island's educational, vocational, and shelter services for the intellectually ... read more >
On January 6, 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice sent a findings letter to the attorney general for the State of Rhode Island. The letter reported that the Division's investigation of Rhode Island's educational, vocational, and shelter services for the intellectually and developmentally disabled (I/DD) found that Rhode Island violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, by "unjustifiably" isolating persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in sheltered workshops and facility-based day programs.

On April 8, 2014, the Civil Rights Division filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island against the State of Rhode Island under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134. The plaintiff asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief alleging that the defendant discriminated against people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, “I/DD,” by failing to provide state services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs and by putting Rhode Island high school students with I/DD, at "serious risk of segregation," by failing to inform them of or provide them with state services that would allow them to work in an integrated workplace. The plaintiff further claimed that Rhode Island failed to reasonably modify its delivery of its services to prevent them from causing unnecessary segregation on the basis of disability.

On that same day that the complaint was filed, both parties submitted a proposed consent decree to settle the lawsuit, indicating that the parties had likely been engaged in negotiations since the issuance of the findings letter in January.

On April 9, 2014, the District Court (Senior Judge Ronald R. Lugueux) approved a consent decree between the parties that would last for ten years. The Decree required ten outcomes by Rhode Island regarding four target populations.

The four target populations included:
(1) Individuals with I/DD that received day activity services in settings where they perform sheltered workshop tasks, “Sheltered Workshop Target Population.”
(2) Individuals with I/DD that received day activity services in facility-based day program settings, “Day Target Population.”
(3) Individuals with I/DD that were transition-age youth attending a Rhode Island secondary school, “Youth Transition Target Population.”
(4) Individuals with I/DD that were transition age youth who exited a Rhode Island secondary school during the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 school years, “Youth Exit Target Population.”

The ten outcomes included:
(1) By January 1, 2015, defendant needed to provide all individuals within the Youth Exit Target Population person-centered planning which will result in career development plans.
(2) By October 1, 2014 and September 1 of every following year, defendant needed to provide all individuals within the Youth Transition Target Population with services necessary to introduce them to work in integrated setting.
(3) Defendant needed to engage in an annual person-centered planning process with all individuals within the Youth Transition Target Population.
(4) Defendant needed to cease placement and funding for new entrants to the facility-based day programs.
(5) By January 1, 2015, defendant needed to provide career development plans for all individuals within the Youth Exit Target Population, and by January 1, 2016, defendant must provide career development plans for all individuals within the Sheltered Workshop and Day Program Target Populations.
(6) Defendant needed to institute a program that provides benefits planning information and counseling to all individuals within the Youth Exit, Sheltered Workshop, and Day Program Target Populations within one year of the individuals’ scheduled transition to supported employment placement and integrated day services.
(7) By September 1, 2014, defendant was to issue a direction to ensure that the Supports Intensity Scale assessment process will be administered with the presumption that individuals with the most severe disabilities can work in integrated settings and receive services. Defendant will also ensure the resource allocation decisions are made in a manner consistent with individuals’ support needs.
(8) Annually, the defendant was to provide Support Employment Placements and Integrated Day Services to all individuals within the Rhode Island Youth Exit Target Population, pursuant to year that group left school. Following this, through January 1, 2019, the defendant will annually provide at least fifty additional individuals within the Sheltered Workshop Target Population with the above services. This figure will then increase to at least one hundred additional individuals annually through January 1, 2024.
(9) Annually, the defendant was to provide Support Employment Placements and Integrated Day Services for individuals in the Day Target Population. At least twenty-five additional individuals annually by 2015 and 2016, at least fifty additional individuals annually in 2017 and 2018, at least seventy-five additional individuals in 2019, at least one hundred additional individuals in 2020, at least 200 additional individuals in 2021 and 2022, and at least 225 additional individuals in 2023.
(10) The defendant was to document for continuous review by the court monitor its efforts to provide the target populations Supported Employment Placements and Individual Day Programs.

Over the next year, defendant made progress and initiated programs related to Outcomes 1-10, issuing the required direction in Outcome 7 in October 2014. However, by April 10, 2015, the defendant had not met any of the deadlines or benchmarks required by the consent decree.

The plaintiff determined that additional action was necessary for the defendant to come into compliance with the consent decree, and moved for a proposed order on May 6, 2016, which was granted on May 18, 2016. The order required the defendant to (1) appropriate additional money in the Governor’s budget for the fiscal year 2017, (2) create a live database to allow for efficient tracking of each member of the target populations, (3), provide the plaintiff and the court monitor with access to the database or list of database entries by July 29, 2016 to allowthe plaintiff and court monitor to verify progress for individuals within the target populations, (4) comply with all deadlines within the Consent Decree, (5) supply additional reports regarding progress with Consent Decree, (6) compensate the court monitor for all monies owed, (7) compensate consent decree coordinator for all monies owed, and (8) receive a sanction, after a show-cause hearing coordinated by the court, of $5,000 per day for each provision violated, with an additional payment of $100 per day for each member of a target population whose employment or day services are delayed due to the violation, until the violation is remedied. Each ordered sanction was not to exceed $1,000,000 per year.

Defendant met or conditionally met the court order provisions 1, 2, 3, and 5 by July 29, 2016. Evaluation of provision 4 was deferred.

By October 31, 2016, Defendant was meeting or exceeding the supported employment placement benchmarks for the Sheltered Workshop and Day Target Populations (Outcomes 8 and 9). However, a number of benchmarks had not been met by Rhode Island. Youth Exit Target Population supported employment placements were below consent decree requirements (Outcome 8). Career Development Planning for all target populations also fell below required benchmarks (Outcomes 1 and 5). The state also had not met all requirements related to outcomes 2, 3, and 6. That said, the court monitor reported that the defendant had made progress in the development of required plans and programs to assist in their compliance with the consent decree.

By July 20, 2017, supported employment placement for the Youth Exit and Sheltered Workshop Target Populations fell below their benchmarks (Outcome 8), but the Day Target Population greatly exceeded the benchmark (Outcome 9). Career development planning and benefits planning for all target populations remained below the required benchmarks (Outcome 6). The defendant had not yet met the integrated day services requirements with regard to target populations (relevant to Outcomes 6, 8, and 9). Finally, the defendant had not yet reached provider capacity requirements that would enable the ability to provide the required services of the consent decree. While the defendant had not reached all required benchmarks, the court monitor reported that the defendant continued to make significant progress in the development of required plans and programs to assist in reaching compliance.

The next status hearing is scheduled for November 30, 2017.

Brian Kempfer - 04/13/2014
Cade Boland - 10/27/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
SSDI
SSI
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Integrated setting
Mental impairment
Discrimination-area
Steering
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Confinement/isolation
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Individualized planning
Juveniles
Placement in shelters
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Learning disability
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.
Defendant(s) Rhode Island
Plaintiff Description Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities receiving educational, vocational, and shelter services in Rhode Island
Indexed Lawyer Organizations 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 2014 - 2024
Case Closing Year 2024
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-GA-0001 : L.C.v. Olmstead (N.D. Ga.)
DR-RI-0004 : United States v. Rhode Island and City of Providence (D.R.I.)
Additional Resources
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  Pierce County v. Washington
www.bazelon.org
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Montgomery Public Schools
http://www.bazelon.org
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Missouri P&A and Scaletty v. Carnahan
http://www.bazelon.org/missouri-pa-and-scaletty-v-carnahan/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:14-cv-00175 (D.R.I.)
DR-RI-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/10/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Fact Sheet
DR-RI-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date:
Source: Non-PACER U.S. District Court Website
Findings Letter
DR-RI-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/06/2014
Source: Non-PACER U.S. District Court Website
Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-RI-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 5] (D.R.I.)
DR-RI-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/09/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 35] (D.R.I.)
DR-RI-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lagueux, Ronald Rene (D.R.I.)
DR-RI-0003-0002
McConnell, John James Jr. (D.R.I.)
DR-RI-0003-0005 | DR-RI-0003-9000
Sullivan, Patricia A. Court not on record [Magistrate]
DR-RI-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bond, Rebecca B. (District of Columbia)
DR-RI-0003-0001
Kline, Regina (District of Columbia)
DR-RI-0003-0001 | DR-RI-0003-9000
Myrus, Richard B. (Rhode Island)
DR-RI-0003-0001 | DR-RI-0003-9000
Neronha, Peter F. (Rhode Island)
DR-RI-0003-0001 | DR-RI-0003-0002
Thomas, Victoria L (District of Columbia)
DR-RI-0003-9000
Weinstock, Lindsey M. (District of Columbia)
DR-RI-0003-9000
Zeitler, Nicole K. (District of Columbia)
DR-RI-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers DeSisto, Marc (Rhode Island)
DR-RI-0003-0004 | DR-RI-0003-9000

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