The Behavioral Research Institute, now known as the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, is a Massachusetts-based, residential care facility for children and young adults with severe autism associated with behavioral problems. JRC is known for its use of aversive treatments, such as electric shock ...
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The Behavioral Research Institute, now known as the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, is a Massachusetts-based, residential care facility for children and young adults with severe autism associated with behavioral problems. JRC is known for its use of aversive treatments, such as electric shock therapies, to disincentives undesirable behavior. As a result of its use of aversive treatments, JRC has been controversial and the subject of several lawsuits. This case, along with ID-MA-0002 and ID-MA-0004, are some of the cases brought surrounding various issues related to JRC.
In 1989, JRC and two individuals student at JRC filed a lawsuit in Bristol, Massachusetts Probate and Family Court against the Administrator of the Massachusetts Rate Setting Commission ("Commission") and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts under the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) (later amended and recodified as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA)), and state law requiring individualized service plans. They also sought contempt for violation of a settlement agreement between the Rate Settlement Commission and JRC. JRC, represented by private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief to require the Commission to reimburse JRC $153,351 in tuition that JRC claimed it was owed by the Commission. The plaintiffs claimed that its students had a right to a free and appropriate public education under federal law that was being denied by the Commission's refusal to pay an adequate rate. Lastly, the plaintiffs contend that a settlement agreement between JRC and the Commission set an agreed rate and thus required that amount to be paid to JRC.
The Probate and Family Court (Judge Earnest Rotenberg) reported the case to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts for their determination granting a temporary rate to be paid while the case was pending.
On September 4, 1990, the Supreme Judicial Court overruled the Family and Probate court. The court found that the right to a free and appropriate education under EHA (now IDEA) and appropriate treatment under state law does not require the payment of a specific rate. The court further concluded that a settlement between the Commonwealth and a private party cannot set a rate of payment unless specific services were negotiated which was not the case. The Court ordered the case remanded to the Probate Court with judgment entered in favor of the defendants with the case to be dismissed. Behavioral Research Institute v. Secretary of Administration
411 Mass. 73 (1990).Brian Kempfer - 09/25/2014