In December 1978, the Connecticut Association of Retarded Citizens and twelve individuals filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut against the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR). The class action lawsuit ...
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In December 1978, the Connecticut Association of Retarded Citizens and twelve individuals filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut against the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR). The class action lawsuit challenged the quality of care, living conditions, and residential placement of retarded individuals who were residing at the Mansfield Training School.
On April 9, 1984, the district court (Magistrate Judge F. Owen Eagan) approved a consent decree which was executed by the parties after a trial had begun. According to the consent decree, the DMR and the Department of Income Maintenance agreed to overhaul the system for serving the mentally retarded population in the state. In November of 1990, after implementation of the consent decree, the court issued its Final Order. The Final Order held in part that defendant DMR would continue to enforce its policy regarding withholding cardiopulmonary resuscitation for terminally ill patients. Due to confusion regarding that policy and instances of Do Not Resuscitate Orders being given to clients who were not terminal, plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs also moved to join the Connecticut Department of Health Services (DHS) as a defendant in the same action, even though it was not a party to the Final Order. The district court (Judge Eagan) granted both motions. Conn. ARC v. Thorne, 1993 WL 765698 (D. Conn. Feb. 12, 1993). The court found that DMR had complied with the Final Order when clients were housed in DMR run facilities but that clients who were housed in DHS licensed facilities did not have the protections afforded by the order. It ordered DMR and DHS to take all necessary action to implement the order.
The DHS appealed and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Judge John Mercer Walker Jr.) held that it was improper for the district court to add DHS as a party and reversed its orders granting joinder and preliminary injunction. Ass'n for Retarded Citizens of Conn. v. Thorne, 30 F. 3d 367 (2d Cir. 1994). The court reasoned that a judgment based on a consent decree cannot be enforced against third parties.
Prior to the Second Circuit's opinion, plaintiffs had moved for attorneys' fees. Following that decision, plaintiffs moved for enlargement of time to move for reconsideration. The district court (Judge Eagan) granted enlargement of time and held that plaintiffs could not be awarded attorneys' fees with respect to the attempt to add DHS as a defendant. The Second Circuit (Judge Walker) affirmed. Ass'n for Retarded Citizens of Conn. v. Thorne, 68 F.3d 547 (2d Cir. 1995).
The PACER docket for this case began in 1997 and shows that litigation continued through September 23, 1998 regarding attorneys' fees and status reports. Plaintiffs were awarded attorney fees, but no documents were available to indicate how much they were awarded.Angela Heverling - 04/17/2006
Maurice Youkanna - 07/09/2014