University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States v. Hawaii MH-HI-0001
Docket / Court 1:91-cv-00137-DAE-KSC ( D. Haw. )
State/Territory Hawaii
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On March 3, 1991, the United States filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against the State of Hawaii, the Hawaii Department of Health, and Hawaii State Hospital (HSH), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, Hawaii ... read more >
On March 3, 1991, the United States filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against the State of Hawaii, the Hawaii Department of Health, and Hawaii State Hospital (HSH), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, Hawaii Division. The government asked the court for injunctive relief, alleging that the defendants were depriving HSH residents of their constitutional rights, privileges or immunities. Specifically, the government contended that the defendants (a) failed to provide patients at HSH with psychiatric care necessary to ensure patients were free form undue bodily restraint or unreasonable risks to their personal safety, (b) failed to ensure that medications were prescribed and administered by qualified staff, (c) failed to provide an adequate number of sufficiently trained staff, (d) failed to ensure professionally based recordkeeping and record review systems, (e) failed to maintain the physical environment at HSH, and (f) failed to limit bodily restraint and seclusion to instances where professional judgment indicated their use.

Previously, on November 6, 1989, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sent the Governor of Hawaii a letter indicating its intention to investigate conditions within HSH at Kanehoe and Honolulu, Hawaii. In the letter, the DOJ related allegations of inadequate number of professional and direct care staff, abuse and neglect of patients, overuse of restraints, inadequate recordkeeping practices, substandard physical conditions, and the failure to provide treatment sufficient to avoid undue risks to personal safety and unreasonable bodily restraint. After touring HSH on December 11-14, 1989, on March 1, 1990, the DOJ sent the Governor a findings letter. In the letter, the DOJ cited conditions at HSH respecting inadequate food, clothing and shelter, unsafe psychopharmacological practices, inadequate general medical care, a lack of adequate treatment programs that resulted in undue bodily restraint, and inadequate record-keeping practices. The DOJ further outlined certain remedies to stop patterns and practices at HSH that resulted in deprivations of patients' constitutional rights.

After the DOJ's findings letter apparently went unheeded, the government filed this suit.

On September 19, 1991, the District Court (Judge David Alan Ezra) approved a consent decree. Under the consent decree, the defendants were required to submit monthly and quarterly reports and to permit the DOJ to regularly tour HSH to monitor compliance. The DOJ toured HSH in April 1992, January 1993, March 1994 and November 1994. The DOJ repeatedly communicated to the defendants that they never fully complied with the consent decree.

On December 14, 1994, the government filed a petition to hold the defendants in contempt for failing to adequately staff HSH and implement an effective organizational structure. The government further sought a moratorium on further non-emergency admissions, full staffing within four months, procedures for monitoring abuse, the appointment of an external monitor and a protective order for HSH employees who assisted DOJ. Ruling on the government's contempt motion, on January 10, 1995, the District Court (Judge Ezra) found the defendants in contempt, and further granted the protective order for HSH employees who assisted the DOJ.

On November 15, 1995, and on June 28, 1996, the District Court (Judge Ezra) entered orders regarding procedures for reporting and investigating allegations of abuse and neglect at HSH, as well as implementation of certain provisions to remedy the defendants' contempt of the settlement agreement.

On February 13, 1998, the District Court (Judge Ezra) denied the government's motion for appointment of an independent expert to monitor compliance in the child and adolescent mental health programs. However, on March 18, 1999, the Court established a compliance committee.

On January 7, 2000, the District Court (Judge Ezra) ordered a special monitor to be in place within 30 days, and, on January 20, 2000, the Court appointed Leland Chang as special monitor. On February 21, 2002, the Court appointed Kris A. McLounglin to replace Leland Chang as special monitor. Significant litigation followed respecting the power, term and budget of the special monitor.

On June 19, 2001, the District Court (Judge Ezra) appointed Magistrate Judge Kevin S. Chang as special master. Significant litigation followed respecting the numerous reports and recommendations from the master. See e.g., United States v. Hawaii, 424 F.Supp.2d 1278 (D.Hawai'i 2006). On December 1, 2006, following the filing of the master's twelfth report, the district court (Judge Ezra) dismissed the case with prejudice.

Kristen Sagar - 10/06/2008

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Least restrictive environment
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Reassessment and care planning
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Hawaii Department of Health
Hawaii State Hospital
State of Hawaii
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se 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 1991 - 2006
Filing Year 1991
Case Closing Year 2006
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 ]

91-137 (D. Haw.)
MH-HI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/21/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Hawaii State Hospital, Kaneohe and Honolulu, Hawaii
MH-HI-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/1989
Findings Letter re: Hawaii State Hospital, Kaneohe and Honolulu, Hawaii, 42 U.S.C. Section 1997b (a)(1)
MH-HI-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/1990
MH-HI-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/07/1991
Order Holding Defendants in Contempt (885 F.Supp. 212) (D. Haw.)
MH-HI-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/10/1995
Order Adopting and Approving Eleventh Report and Recommendation (424 F.Supp.2d 1278) (D. Haw.)
MH-HI-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/24/2006
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 35207) (D. Haw.)
MH-HI-0001-0007.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/30/2006
Source: LexisNexis
Twelfth Report and Recommendation [ECF# 413]
MH-HI-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/28/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chang, Kevin S.C. (D. Haw.)
MH-HI-0001-0005 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Ezra, David Alan (D. Haw.)
MH-HI-0001-0003 | MH-HI-0001-0004 | MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-0007
Monitors/Masters McLoughlin, Kris A (Hawaii)
MH-HI-0001-0005 | MH-HI-0001-0007 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bent, Daniel A (Hawaii)
MH-HI-0001-0001 | MH-HI-0001-0002 | MH-HI-0001-0003
Chun, Michael (Hawaii)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Deerinwater, Verlin Hughes (District of Columbia)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Deutsch, David (District of Columbia)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)
Farano, Richard J. (District of Columbia)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Frohboese, Robinsue (District of Columbia)
MH-HI-0001-0003 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Hughes, Verlin (District of Columbia)
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)
MH-HI-0001-0001 | MH-HI-0001-0002
Yee, Harry (Hawaii)
Defendant's Lawyers Andreas, Ann V. (Hawaii)
AuCoin, Paul M. (Ohio)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Goto, Blair A. (Hawaii)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Marks, Robert A. (Hawaii)
MH-HI-0001-0006 | MH-HI-0001-9000
Price, Warren III (Hawaii)
MH-HI-0001-0001 | MH-HI-0001-0002
Other Lawyers Akaka, Jeffrey (Hawaii)
Broderick, Michael F. (Hawaii)

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