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Case Name Conn. ARC v. Thorne ID-CT-0001
Docket / Court 78-653 ( D. Conn. )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In December 1978, the Connecticut Association of Retarded Citizens and twelve individuals filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. They sued the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR), the Department of Income Maintenance (DIM) and ... read more >
In December 1978, the Connecticut Association of Retarded Citizens and twelve individuals filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. They sued the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR), the Department of Income Maintenance (DIM) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The class action lawsuit challenged the quality of care, living conditions, and residential placement of individuals with intellectual disabilities residing at the Mansfield Training School (MTS).

Based on the pre-Pacer docket, the United States moved to participate as a litigating amicus curiae on December 13, 1979. The United States proceeded to participate in discovery for the next several years. On April 3, 1980 the New England Health Care Employees Union moved to intervene as defendants.

According to a 1994 order (30 F.3d 367), the District Court certified class in February 1980. The court defined the class as all persons residing at MTS or who may reside there in the future; all persons with intellectual disabilities who may be sent to MTS; and all persons who reside in other facilities but remain in MTS responsibility. In 1982, the District Court granted DHS's motion to be dismissed from the case

On July 13, 1983, Judge Foe oversaw a court trail. This lasted until October 12, 1983. On December 2, all parties signed a consent decree. On December 19, 1983, the New England Health Care Employees Union brought objections to a separate consent decree (based on the pre-Pacer docket, it is unclear how the two consent decrees differed).

On April 9, 1984, Judge Foe approved an additional consent decree. According to the decree, the DMR and the Department of Income Maintenance agreed to overhaul the system for serving those with intellectual disabilities in Connecticut. The parties litigated attorneys fees for several months, and on October 12, 1984, Judge Foe ordered the State of Connecticut to pay the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia $237,600.

The court supervised the implementation of the consent decree. Based on the Pre-Pacer docket, it appears monitors found violations to the consent decree for the Bennett Hall class Members in late 1984. On May 2, 1985, the court ordered an implementation plan to resolve these violations.

In November of 1990, the court issued its Final Order. Part of the Final Order required consistent procedures for withholding CPR for terminally ill patients and for placing "Do Not Resuscitate Orders" in patients' folders.

In the early 1990s the defendants inappropriately placed "Do Not Resuscitate Orders" in patients' files and withheld CPR. On July 9, 1992, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction to enforce the Final Order and moved to join the DHS as a defendant in the litigation. Although DHS 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). He held that DHS was in a position to frustrate the implementation of the Final Order when patients were transferred from a compliant DMR group home to a non-compliant DHS nursing home or hospital. He also granted the preliminary injunction, requiring defendants to implement the Final Order with all deliberate speed.

The DHS appealed. On July 25, 1994, 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 order granting joinder. 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 extension of time to move for reconsideration. The district court (Judge Eagan) granted the extension and held that plaintiffs could not be awarded attorneys' fees for litigation over joining 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).

Based on the Pre-Pacer docket, the plaintiffs filed motions about contempt and "further orders" on December 15, 1995. The court held a trail for several days in February 1996, and ultimately granted $39,843.48 to plaintiffs in attorney fees.

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
Gabriela Hybel - 06/17/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Hospital/Health Department
disability, unspecified
Mental impairment
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Informed consent/involuntary medication
Placement in mental health facilities
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
End of life choice and DNR orders
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation
Department of Income Maintenance
Plaintiff Description Present and future inmates of the Mansfield Training School
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se 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 1984 - 1998
Filed 12/06/1978
Case Closing Year 1998
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing ID-CT-0002 : Conn. Traumatic Brain Injury Assoc. v. Hogan (D. Conn.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Review of the Use of Monitors in Civil Settlement Agreements and Consent Decrees Involving State and Local Government Entities
U.S. Department of Justice
Date: 9/13/2021
By: Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assoc. AG Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  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 ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Conn.
ID-CT-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: Nat'l Archives (NARA)-details in other
D. Conn.
ID-CT-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Conn.
Ruling on Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Recommended Ruling on Motion to Join Third-Party Defendant [ECF# 1483] (1993 WL 765698)
ID-CT-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion (30 F.3d 367)
ID-CT-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Supreme Court
Memorandum Decision (513 U.S. 1079)
ID-CT-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
Opinion (68 F.3d 547)
ID-CT-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Covello, Alfred V. (D. Conn.) show/hide docs
Eagan, Claire (FISC, N.D. Okla.) show/hide docs
Walker, John Mercer Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brooks, Hollace (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Gilhool, Thomas K. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Laski, Frank J. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Shaw, David C. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0003 | ID-CT-0001-0004 | ID-CT-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barber, Hugh (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Blumenthal, Richard (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0003
Lynch, Richard J. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0001-0003 | ID-CT-0001-9001
MacGregor, Francis J. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
McGovern, Bernard F. Jr. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Myrun, Maurice (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Salton, Henry A. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Vogel, Sidney (Connecticut) show/hide docs
Welsh, James P. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0004 | ID-CT-0001-9000

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