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Case Name U.S. v. New York MH-NY-0002
Docket / Court 93-4807 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On October 25, 1993, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against the State of New York, in response to conditions at the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Suffolk County, New York. The government brought the ... read more >
On October 25, 1993, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, against the State of New York, in response to conditions at the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center in Suffolk County, New York. The government brought the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The lawsuit was prompted by the Department's investigation of the Center, beginning in 1987, which revealed living conditions inconsistent with patients' constitutional rights. Specifically, Department visits in 1991 and 1992 confirmed that conditions of confinement involved a general failure to protect residents from harm; inadequate assessment and development of treatment plans and programs; and inappropriate medical care and staffing. The Department issued a letter to the Governor's office on June 9, 1992, describing its findings and asking the State to implement correctional measures.

The government's complaint sought to enjoin the defendants from violating the patients' constitutional rights by such practices as described in the June 9, 1992 letter, including the failure to administer medication properly; to provide residents with individualized psychiatric care and to keep them free from unnecessary chemical restraint; and to employ an adequate number of sufficiently trained staff.

On October 31, 1993, the parties entered a Stipulation, which the court (Judge Arthur D. Splatt) approved the same day. The Stipulation stated that the defendants would employ an adequate number of trained staff, that they would develop and implement treatment plans for patients, and that they would protect patients from others' aggression and from falls. It also called for the defendants to administer medication only when and as directed ñ and to refrain from using chemical restraints ñ and to provide adequate routine, specialized, and emergency medical care for all patients. Finally, the Stipulation required the State to issue status reports on the improvement of conditions until they became satisfactory. The court closed the case on the same day.

According to the PACER docket, on June 28, 1996, the court (Judge Spatt) entered a Supplemental Stipulation and Order to ensure that the defendants were complying with the Stipulation and to protect the patients' constitutional rights. The court continued to issue periodically Supplemental Stipulations and Orders on July 29, 1999 and February 25, 2003. These orders directed the defendants to provide adequate staff for patients; to redesign treatment planning to focus on individual needs; to improve the quality of medical care; and to ensure that the patients receive services in the most integrated setting possible.

On March 21, 2005, the parties entered a Joint Motion to Dismiss. The court (Judge Splatt) approved the motion the next day and closed the case.

Laura Uberti - 06/29/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Individualized planning
Restraints : chemical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) New York Office of Mental Health
Pilgrim Psychiatric Center
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
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
Filing Year 1993
Case Closing Year 2005
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 ]

93-4807 (E.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/27/2005
General Documents
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Pilgrim Psychiatric Center, Long Island, NY
MH-NY-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/09/1992
MH-NY-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/1993
MH-NY-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/1993
Order [ECF# 14] (E.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/22/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Spatt, Arthur Donald (E.D.N.Y.)
MH-NY-0002-0001 | MH-NY-0002-0002 | MH-NY-0002-0003 | MH-NY-0002-0004 | MH-NY-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Carter, Zachary W. (New York)
Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)
Frohboese, Robinsue (District of Columbia)
MH-NY-0002-0002 | MH-NY-0002-0003
Hughes, Verlin (District of Columbia)
MH-NY-0002-0002 | MH-NY-0002-0003
Lehmann, Christopher (New York)
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Fleischer, Arnold D. (New York)
MH-NY-0002-0003 | MH-NY-0002-9000
Jaffe, William B. (District of Columbia)

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