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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)
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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 individuals with intellectual disabilities 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 population of those with intellectual disabilities 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

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
disability, unspecified
Mental impairment
Assault/abuse by staff
Classification / placement
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Informed consent/involuntary medication
Placement in mental health facilities
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
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
Defendant(s) Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation
Plaintiff Description Present and future inmates of the Mansfield Training School
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
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 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1998
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Case Listing ID-CT-0002 : Conn. Traumatic Brain Injury Assoc. v. Hogan (D. Conn.)
78-653 (D. Conn.)
ID-CT-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/12/1996
Source: Nat'l Archives (NARA)-details in other
78-653 (D. Conn.)
ID-CT-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/23/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Ruling on Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Recommended Ruling on Motion to Join Third-Party Defendant (1993 WL 765698) (D. Conn.)
ID-CT-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 02/12/1993
Opinion (30 F.3d 367)
ID-CT-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/25/1994
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision (513 U.S. 1079)
ID-CT-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/09/1995
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (68 F.3d 547)
ID-CT-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/06/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Covello, Alfred V. (D. Conn.)
Eagan, Claire (N.D. Okla., FISC)
Walker, John Mercer Jr. (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brooks, Hollace (Connecticut)
Gilhool, Thomas K. (Pennsylvania)
Laski, Frank J. (Pennsylvania)
Shaw, David C. (Connecticut)
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0003 | ID-CT-0001-0004 | ID-CT-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barber, Hugh (Connecticut)
Blumenthal, Richard (Connecticut)
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0003
Lynch, Richard J. (Connecticut)
ID-CT-0001-0003 | ID-CT-0001-9001
MacGregor, Francis J. (Connecticut)
McGovern, Bernard F. Jr. (Connecticut)
Myrun, Maurice (Connecticut)
Salton, Henry A. (Connecticut)
Vogel, Sidney (Connecticut)
Welsh, James P. (Connecticut)
ID-CT-0001-0002 | ID-CT-0001-0004 | ID-CT-0001-9000

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