On March 7, 2008, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issued a CRIPA/ADA findings letter to the State of Nebraska that detailed systemic conditions that violated the constitutional and statutory rights of the residents of the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC), the State's ...
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On March 7, 2008, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division issued a CRIPA/ADA findings letter to the State of Nebraska that detailed systemic conditions that violated the constitutional and statutory rights of the residents of the Beatrice State Developmental Center (BSDC), the State's largest facility for persons with developmental disabilities. At the time, BSDC housed close to 350 residents. The parties then swiftly concluded negotiations on a judicially enforceable remedial agreement.
On June 30, 2008, the United States of America filed suit in the U.S. District Court of the District of Nebraska under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 against the State of Nebraska. The United States asked the court to require that the defendants comply with federal law and ensure that adequate protections, supports, and services are afforded to residents of the BSDC.
Specifically, the United States claimed that the care at BSDC substantially departed from generally accepted professional standards of care, exposing residents to significant risks of harm and actual harm in the following respects: providing reasonable safe conditions; providing training to protect residents' liberty interests; providing adequate psychiatric, therapeutic, and health care services; and providing adequate nutritional and physical management. Additionally, the United States claimed that defendants failed to comply with ADA standards by excluding BDSC residents, by reason of their disability, from participating in and obtaining benefits from services, programs, or activities in an integrated setting appropriate to their needs. Further, the United States claimed that defendants failed to ensure that BSDC residents were evaluated for placement in the most integrated setting.
On July 2, 2008, the U.S. District Court of the District of Nebraska (Judge Richard G. Kopf) issued an order stating that no hearing was required prior to the approval of a settlement agreement. On the same day, the parties and Judge Kopf signed a consent decree. The consent decree detailed the steps to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the residents, including protecting the residents from abuse and neglect, and taking effective steps to minimize or eliminate resident injuries and incidents that negatively impact their health, safety, and welfare. It also included provisions for ensuring compliance with the ADA standard of serving residents in the most integrated setting appropriate to meet each person's needs. The settlement agreement was intended to remain in place until the State implemented all of its provisions, which the parties anticipated would take four years. However, as of November 2014, the settlement agreement had not yet been terminated.Julie Singer - 10/30/2014