University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Virginia MH-VA-0004
Docket / Court 1:99-cv-642 ( E.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On May 6, 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against Virginia in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Plaintiff sued pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1997-1997j. The case was assigned to ... read more >
On May 6, 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed this lawsuit against Virginia in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Plaintiff sued pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 1997-1997j. The case was assigned to Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.

The events leading up to this lawsuit began in March 1997, when the DOJ informed the Governor of Virginia that it was commencing an investigation of the Central State Hospital (CSH). CSH is an institution covered by CRIPA and operated by Virginia to provide psychiatric treatment and other services to persons with mental illness. In April 1997, the DOJ conducted on-site inspections and evaluations of CSH. It found that conditions at CSH constituted a pattern of violations of the constitutional and federal statutory rights of patients, specifically the Fourteenth Amendment, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794.

In June 1997, the Plaintiff advised Virginia of these findings. Virginia then voluntarily started to develop a written plan to address the care provided at CSH. This plan would later get incorporated into the Settlement Agreement.

On May 6, 1999, the DOJ filed both the complaint and Settlement Agreement in anticipation of the resolution of this case through the execution of the Agreement. To avoid adversarial litigation, the parties agreed upon a Plan (described in the Agreement) to remedy CSH's deficiencies that the U.S. found.

The Settlement Agreement included the following important provisions for the Plan, among several other smaller promises:
- The U.S. shall tour the facility with its expert consultants to assess the status of implementing the Plan.
- The parties will share information necessary to determine Virginia's compliance with the Agreement.
- Virginia shall provide the U.S. with quarterly summaries of each open or founded allegation of abuse and/or neglect, as well as other problematic incidents as defined in the Administrative Practice Manual.
- Virginia shall allow the U.S. to take a certification tour, which is to permit the U.S. to assess the status of Virginia's implementation of the Plan.
- By no later than July 1, 2000, Virginia shall provide written notice to the United States that it may conduct the certification tour (called the "Notice Date").
- If the Plaintiff found that Virginia failed to implement the Plan, the Plaintiff may file a motion to vacate the dismissal without prejudice and to restore the Action to the Court's active docket. This motion must be filed within ten months of the Notice Date.
- If the Plaintiff fails to file a Motion to Restore within this time frame, Virginia shall be conclusively entitled to an order dismissing this case with prejudice.

Judge Brinkema dismissed the case without prejudice on the same day the Settlement Agreement was filed. However, the case was not fully closed on this date because as explained more fully above, the Agreement stated that the U.S. may restore the case if Virginia failed to implement the Plan.

By October 4, 2001, the government had not filed a motion to restore. Virginia thus filed a motion to dismiss the case. Judge Brinkema granted the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice. The case closed in 2001.

Lisa Koo - 05/25/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reporting
Required disclosure
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Aggressive behavior
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Conditions of confinement
Confinement/isolation
Discharge & termination plans
Failure to supervise
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Suicide prevention
Untreated pain
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
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.
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Commonwealth of Virginia
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 1999 - 2001
Filing Year 1999
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  An Analysis of CRIPA Findings Letters Issued to Jails for Constitutional Violations by the Department of Justice
Date: Apr. 15, 2016
By: Jeff Mellow, Bryce E. Peterson & Mijin Kim (John Jay College of Criminal Justice Faculty)
Citation: Am. J. Crim. Just. (April 2016)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:99-cv-642 (E.D. Va.)
MH-VA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/04/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Central State Hospital Findings Letter
MH-VA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/1997
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Virginia Central State Hospital Settlement Agreement
MH-VA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/1999
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
MH-VA-0004-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/06/1999
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
show all people docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Deutsch, David (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001 | MH-VA-0004-0003
Fahey, Helen F. (Virginia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0003
Frohboese, Robinsue (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0003
Lee, Bill Lann (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001 | MH-VA-0004-0003
Parker, Richard (Virginia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001 | MH-VA-0004-9000
Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0002
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0003
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001 | MH-VA-0004-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Bigley, Garland L. (Virginia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001
Hickey, Jane D. (Virginia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001
Hurd, William H. (Virginia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001
Taylor, Ashley L Jr (Virginia) show/hide docs
MH-VA-0004-0001

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