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Case Name Kentucky ARC v. Conn. ID-KY-0001
Docket / Court 78-0157 ( W.D. Ky. )
Additional Docket(s) 77-0048  [ 77-48 ]
State/Territory Kentucky
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
On May 16, 1977 the Kentucky Association for Retarded Citizens and residents of Outwood, a residential treatment facility in rural Kentucky for persons with intellectual disabilities, filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against the ... read more >
On May 16, 1977 the Kentucky Association for Retarded Citizens and residents of Outwood, a residential treatment facility in rural Kentucky for persons with intellectual disabilities, filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky against the Secretary of the Kentucky Department for Human Resources, state officials, and others. Outwood was operated by defendant Excepticon, Inc., a private corporation under contract with the Department for Human Resources of Kentucky. The complaint alleged violations of the residents' First, Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment Constitutional rights, the Developmentally Disabled Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and state laws. The complaint sought declaratory relief and various forms of injunctive relief.

Specifically, the plaintiffs asserted that the defendants did not provide adequate habitation, treatment, care, or services "designed to maximize the developmental potential of each individual." They argued that state and federal laws required the defendants to so provide "in a setting which is least restrictive of the individual's personal liberty." The complaint argued that the size and geographic isolation of Outwood created a situation in which the plaintiffs were not living in conditions that maximized their developmental potential. They argued that there was not enough staff, insufficient access to proper medical services, insufficient developmental opportunities, and difficulty in allowing families and patients to maintain contact. Accordingly, plaintiffs sought to enjoin the defendants from appropriating or spending new funds on the construction of a new facility and to bar further admission of residents into Outwood. The plaintiffs sought to instead compel the defendants to ensure that Outwood provided adequate supports, in part by creating individualized habitation plans for each Outwood resident.

The complaint sought to declare a class of children and adults. The individual plaintiffs stated they suffered from physical injury, slow or improper medical care, inadequate therapy for behavioral challenges, and a level of inattention that led to poor treatment and support. Moreover, Outwood's geographic isolation made it difficult for patients to see their families, thus losing access to that source of support.

The case was originally filed in the District Court's Paducah office, with the docket number 77-0048. In April 1978, it was transferred to the Louisville office, and given a new docket number, C78-0157. It seems to have kept the same judge, though, Chief District Judge Charles Allen.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on June 6, 1977. The defendants moved to dismiss the case eight days later, and the court denied it on August 30 of that year. In In January 1978, the court allowed several individuals to intervene as party defendants, and in August of that year it allowed the US to enter the litigation as an amicus.

The court granted class certification on January 30, 1978, defining the class as "all persons who presently reside at Outwood, and who allege their 1st, 8th, 9th, and 14th Amendment rights and their statutory rights provide [sic] them by the laws of the US and Com. of KY have been violated, provided, however that the class shall not include the intervening defendants."

Discovery continued throughout 1978 and 1979. The United States and the plaintiffs moved for temporary restraining order in November 1978, which the court denied. The parties went to trial in May 1979 and February 1980. On March 21, 1980, Judge Allen entered judgment dismissing the plaintiffs' complaint as it sought prevention of construction of a new facility. The Court also denied practically all other relief sought by the plaintiffs. Kentucky Asso. for Retarded Citizens v. Conn, 510 F. Supp. 1233 (W. D. Ky. 1980). Chief Judge Allen denied the plaintiffs' claim for attorney fees in an opinion dated July 8, 1980.

On April 6, 1982, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, specifically finding that the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 did not prohibit the building of residential facilities for patients for whom the least restrictive treatment was institutionalization. Kentucky Asso. for Retarded Citizens, Inc. v. Conn, 674 F.2d 582 (6th Cir. 1982). The court delayed the decision concerning attorneys' fees, pending a Supreme Court decision on that issue. The Supreme Court denied certiorari. Bruington v. Conn, 459 U.S. 1041 (1982). On September 30, 1983, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision denying attorneys' fees. Kentucky Asso. for Retarded Citizens, Inc. v. Conn, 718 F.2d 182 (6th Cir. 1983).

We have no further information on this matter.

Angela Heverling - 03/22/2007
Virginia Weeks - 11/30/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15001 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
State law
Title XIX of the Social Security (Medicaid) Act, 42 U.S.C §1396
Defendant(s) Kentucky Department of Human Resources
Plaintiff Description Residents of Outwood residential treatment facility in Kentucky.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 1977
Case Closing Year 1983
Case Ongoing No
C78-0157 (W.D. Ky.)
ID-KY-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/1980
Source: Nat'l Archives (NARA)-details in other
General Documents
Amended Complaint
ID-KY-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/02/1977
Source: Nat'l Archives (NARA)-details in other
Judgment (510 F.Supp. 1233) (W.D. Ky.)
ID-KY-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/21/1980
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (674 F.2d 582)
ID-KY-0001-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/06/1982
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision (459 U.S. 1041)
ID-KY-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/29/1982
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (718 F.2d 182)
ID-KY-0001-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/30/1983
Source: Google Scholar
Judges Allen, Charles Mengel (W.D. Ky.)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Phillips, Harry (Sixth Circuit)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Elswit, Lawrence S. (Kentucky)
Hinton, Henry (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003 | ID-KY-0001-0005 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Lawlor, Brian (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003 | ID-KY-0001-0005 | ID-KY-0001-9000
McHugh, Richard (Kentucky)
Newberg, Herbert B. (Pennsylvania)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Swan, Betsy B. (Kentucky)
Triplett, Henry (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003 | ID-KY-0001-0005 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Wolkowitz, Barbara (Kentucky)
Defendant's Lawyers Barber, Sarah (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Barber, Oliver H. Jr. (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Dobbins, Charles W. (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Durham, H. Hunter (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Fauri, Paul F. (Kentucky)
Hunsaker, Ann T. (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Kasdan, Martin Z. Jr. (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002
Kazdan, Martin Jr. (Kentucky)
Lowe, Cathy (Kentucky)
Shuffett, James A. (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Terry, Joseph H. (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Vandercoy, David (Missouri)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Wickliffe, Charles (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Other Lawyers Crawford, James D. (Pennsylvania)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Fleischner, Robert D. (Massachusetts)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Grafton, Mikell (Kentucky)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Master, Barry L. (Kentucky)
Meyers, Joyce S. (Pennsylvania)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-9000
Reynolds, William Bradford (District of Columbia)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Rieser, Leonard (District of Columbia)
ID-KY-0001-0001 | ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003
Schwartz, Steven J. (Massachusetts)
ID-KY-0001-0002 | ID-KY-0001-0003

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