University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Pennsylvania ID-PA-0006
Docket / Court 3:92-cv-00033-DBS ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
On November 19, 1987, the United States Department of Justice notified the governor of Pennsylvania of the findings of an investigation of the Ebensburg Center in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania conducted pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). The DOJ concluded that the ... read more >
On November 19, 1987, the United States Department of Justice notified the governor of Pennsylvania of the findings of an investigation of the Ebensburg Center in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania conducted pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). The DOJ concluded that the constitutional rights of the residents with intellectual disabilities of the Ebensburg Center were being violated by the conditions at the facility. It alleged that the center failed to provide its residents with adequate training programs and the staff used inappropriate restraints. The center also failed to provide proper medical care and was understaffed.

On February 10, 1992, the United States filed a lawsuit alleging violations of CRIPA in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against the state of Pennsylvania. The allegations in the complaint were based on the findings of the CRIPA investigation.

On July 27, 1995, after a trial, the district court (Judge D. Brooks Smith) found that there were no constitutional violations. United States v. Pennsylvania, 902 F. Supp. 565 (W.D. Pa. 1995). The district court conceded that many residents of the facility would be better served by placement in the community, but held that the conditions in Ebensburg Center provided the minimum level of care required by the constitution. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed without opinion on August 26, 1996. United States v. Ridge, 96 F.3d 1436 (3d Cir. 1996). The PACER docket indicates that litigation regarding attorneys' fees continued through 1998.

Angela Heverling - 05/25/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Habilitation (training/treatment)
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) State of Pensylvania
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 1992
Case Closing Year 1996
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 ]

92-33J (W.D. Pa.)
ID-PA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/1998
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Ebensburg Center
ID-PA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/08/1986
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Ebensburg Center, 42 U.S.C. Section 1997b(a)(1)
ID-PA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/1987
Memorandum for the Attorney General RE: Proposed Notice Letter
ID-PA-0006-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/09/1990
ID-PA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/1992
United States' Proposed Order
ID-PA-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/01/1994
United States' Proposed Conclusion of Law and Memorandum of Law
ID-PA-0006-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/16/1994
United States' Proposed Detailed Findings of Fact, Volume I
ID-PA-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/1994
United States' Proposed Detailed Findings of Fact, Volume II
ID-PA-0006-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/1994
Appendix to the United States' Proposed Detailed Findings of Fact
ID-PA-0006-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/17/1994
Opinion and Order (902 F.Supp. 565) (W.D. Pa.)
ID-PA-0006-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/27/1995
Source: Google Scholar
Brief for the United States as Appellant
ID-PA-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/1996
Brief for the Appellees
ID-PA-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/1996
Brief for the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems and the Arc of the United States
ID-PA-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/23/1996
Reply Brief for the United States
ID-PA-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/1996
Opinion (96 F.3d 1436)
ID-PA-0006-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/22/1996
Judges Pesto, Keith A. (W.D. Pa.) [Magistrate]
Smith, David Brooks (W.D. Pa., Third Circuit)
ID-PA-0006-0005 | ID-PA-0006-0015 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0007 | ID-PA-0006-0008 | ID-PA-0006-0009 | ID-PA-0006-0010
Barr, William P. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Bowers, Susan (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Corbett, Thomas W. Jr. (Pennsylvania)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Dunne, John R. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Farano, Richard J. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0006 | ID-PA-0006-0012
Frohboese, Robinsue (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0006 | ID-PA-0006-0012 | ID-PA-0006-0015 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Guzman, Philip A. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Nelson, Mellie H. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0008 | ID-PA-0006-0010
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0004 | ID-PA-0006-0006 | ID-PA-0006-0012 | ID-PA-0006-0015 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Reynolds, William Bradford (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0001 | ID-PA-0006-0002
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0008 | ID-PA-0006-0010
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)
ID-PA-0006-0006 | ID-PA-0006-0012 | ID-PA-0006-0014
Defendant's Lawyers Davison, Douglas J. (Pennsylvania)
DeMichele, Christine D. (Pennsylvania)
ID-PA-0006-0007 | ID-PA-0006-0008 | ID-PA-0006-0010 | ID-PA-0006-0015
Kane, John A. (Pennsylvania)
York, Thomas B. (Pennsylvania)
ID-PA-0006-0006 | ID-PA-0006-0007 | ID-PA-0006-0008 | ID-PA-0006-0009 | ID-PA-0006-0010 | ID-PA-0006-0015 | ID-PA-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Miller, V. Collen (New Mexico)

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