University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Cooper v. Kliebert MH-LA-0002
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-00507-SDD-SCR ( M.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On Aug. 14, 2014, a number of prisoners in Louisiana state prisons filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys, ... read more >
On Aug. 14, 2014, a number of prisoners in Louisiana state prisons filed this class action in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that, despite their being found not guilty by reason of insanity of criminal offenses, they were still being incarcerated in Louisiana prisons. The named plaintiffs claimed that their continued imprisonment violated their Fourteenth Amendment right under the Due Process Clause, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504).

The named plaintiffs were all found not guilty by reason of insanity during their criminal trials and they were all committed by the courts to the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System (ELMHS), which runs a state mental health facility. Nevertheless, at the time of the complaint, all named plaintiffs still remained incarcerated in state prisons, despite the fact that no other criminal charges had been filed against them. Plaintiffs claim that by continuing to incarcerate them, the state is discriminating against them on the basis of their mental illness and denying them appropriate mental health services.

The Court denied the plaintiffs class certification on December 22, 2014. Plaintiffs then filed their third and final amended complaint on May 13, 2015. Discovery and litigation continued, and on February 3, 2016, this case was consolidated with Advocacy Center v. Kliebert (Docket No. 3:15-cv-00751).

After several months of settlement discussions, on July 18, 2016, the Court dismissed the case without prejudice to the right to reopen it within sixty days if the parties did not settle. On September 2, 2016, the parties reported that they had reached a settlement, moving jointly to reopen the case for purpose of entering that agreement as a court order. The Court granted the motion and approved the settlement on November 16, 2016.

The terms of the settlement agreement apply to "All individuals who, after having been found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity or Incompetent to Stand Trial are remanded by a court to a mental health facility for treatment." The settlement requires the defendants to maintain a record of all such persons, conduct prompt behavioral health assessments after the court orders commitment or inpatient treatment, admit such persons currently on a waitlist to a mental health facility or appropriate program, create a procedure for expedited admission of such persons to the appropriate facilities in the event of an emergency need, maintain pre- and post-admissions procedures for ensuring appropriate placement of such persons, work to develop less constricting and new placement options, and report back to the plaintiffs on a monthly basis. The settlement agreement also awards the plaintiffs with attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $466,000 and possible future fees related to the execution of this settlement agreement.

The case will remain open to enforce the settlement decree through 2020.

Andrew Junker - 10/02/2014
Virginia Weeks - 01/17/2017


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Placement in detention facilities
Placement in mental health facilities
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, 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
Defendant(s) Louisiana Dept. of Health and Hospitals
Plaintiff Description Individuals who have been diagnosed with mental illness and found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) of a criminal offense but, despite that finding, continue to be incarcerated in correctional facilities in Louisiana.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2020
Case Closing Year 2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies From Hospitals to Prisons: A New Explanation
http://cornelllawreview.org/clronline/from-hospitals-to-prisons-a-new-explanation
By: Fredrick E. Vars & Shelby B. Calambokidis (Cornell Law Review)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Jane Doe v. Hunter College
http://www.bazelon.org/jane-doe-v-hunter-college/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Office of Protection and Advocacy v. State of Conneticut
http://www.bazelon.org/opa-v-ct/
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:15-cv-00751-SDD-RLB (M.D. La.)
MH-LA-0002-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/19/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:14-cv-00507-SDD-SCR (M.D. La.)
MH-LA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
MH-LA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling on Motion for Class Certification [ECF# 44] (M.D. La.)
MH-LA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Third Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 65]
MH-LA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/13/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 200]
MH-LA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bourgeois, Richard L. (M.D. La.) [Magistrate]
MH-LA-0002-9001
Dick, Shelly Deckert Court not on record
MH-LA-0002-0002 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fernandez, Kathryn (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Foley, Eric Andrew (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Hahn, Neil (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Hahn, Ellen Bentley (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Lospennato, Ronald (New Hampshire)
MH-LA-0002-0001 | MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Otero, Koki (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-9000
Schwartzmann, Katie M (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0001 | MH-LA-0002-0003 | MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Thornton, Laura Lee (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Borghardt, Stephanie (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Cody, Jeffrey K. (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000
DeLaSalle, Rebecca (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Elliott, Neal Risley Jr. (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Evans, James Garrison (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000
Everett, Elizabeth (North Carolina)
MH-LA-0002-9000
Hillburn, James L. (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000
Pantaleo, Lindsay L. (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000
Romero, Ryan Jude (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Sullivan, Kimberly Lacour (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Young, Jenna Germany (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-0004 | MH-LA-0002-9000 | MH-LA-0002-9001
Other Lawyers Kirsch, Kyle P. (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000
Luke, Benjamin Ascher (Louisiana)
MH-LA-0002-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -