University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name U.S. v. Tennessee ID-TN-0004
Docket / Court 3:96-cv-01056 ( M.D. Tenn. )
State/Territory Tennessee
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
In 1994, the United States Department of Justice investigated conditions at Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Nashville, Greene Valley Developmental Center in Greeneville, and Nat T. Winston Developmental Center in Bolivar, Tennessee. The investigation also included the Harold Jordon ... read more >
In 1994, the United States Department of Justice investigated conditions at Clover Bottom Developmental Center in Nashville, Greene Valley Developmental Center in Greeneville, and Nat T. Winston Developmental Center in Bolivar, Tennessee. The investigation also included the Harold Jordon Habilitation Center, a program at Clover Bottom. The investigation revealed numerous violations of the constitutional and statutory rights of the developmentally delayed residents of the facilities. The Department of Justice suspected that the abuse of residents by staff at Clover Bottom constituted criminal behavior.

On November 15, 1996, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee against the State of Tennessee on behalf of individuals residing at the three facilities. The complaint alleged numerous violations of the constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Tennessee state law. These included failure to provide education and adequate medical care, abusive treatment, and insufficient staffing. The lawsuit followed a similar private lawsuit filed against the state, People First of Tennessee v. Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Civ. No. 96-cv-01056 (M.D.Tenn.), ID-TN-0002 in the Clearinghouse, and essentially simultaneously with the complaint, the U.S. moved to consolidate the cases; this motion was granted two weeks later.

All three parties immediately settled, and the settlement was approved by Judge Echols in November of 1996. The state agreed to a number of changes, including the following:

• Create person-centered evaluation of citizens in need of services
• Develop community programs and resources
• Increase staffing and staff training
• Improve living conditions in the centers
• Provide education for school-age residents

For a record of compliance litigation information, please see ID-TN-0002. The case is now closed.

Angela Heverling - 04/08/2007
Brent Winslow - 10/28/2016
Timothy Leake - 10/11/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Least restrictive environment
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Assault/abuse by staff
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Neglect by staff
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Special education
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 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Clover Bottom Developmental Center
Greene Valley Developmental Center
Nat T. Winston Developmental Center
State of Tennessee
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1996 - n/a
Filing Year 1996
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing ID-TN-0002 : People First of Tenn. v. Clover Bottom Devel. Center (M.D. Tenn.)
ID-TN-0001 : People First of Tenn. v. Arlington Developmental Center (W.D. Tenn.)
ID-TN-0003 : U.S. v. Tennessee (W.D. Tenn.)
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 ]

96-1056 (M.D. Tenn.)
ID-TN-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/06/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Notice Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Nashville; the Greene Valley Developmental Center, Greeneville; and the Nat T. Winston Devel., Ctr., Bolivar, Tennessee
ID-TN-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/22/1994
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Greene Valley Developmental Center, Greeneville, Tennessee
ID-TN-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/10/1995
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Nashville, Tennessee
ID-TN-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/1995
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Nat T. Winston Developmental Center, Bolivar, Tennessee
ID-TN-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/1995
Memorandum re: ""Placement of Undercover Employee at the Clover Bottom Developmental Center, a Facility for Developmentally Disabled, in Nashville, Tennessee"".
ID-TN-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/13/1995
Findings Letter re: Harold Jordan Habilitation Center (Jordan Center) a program of Clover Bottom Developmental Center
ID-TN-0004-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/01/1996
ID-TN-0004-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/21/1996
Settlement Agreement Between People First, the United States, and the State of Tennessee
ID-TN-0004-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/1996
Order granting Motion to Consolidate (M.D. Tenn.)
ID-TN-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/1996
Opinion (260 F.3d 587)
ID-TN-0004-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/08/2001
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (2001 U.S.App.LEXIS 29309)
ID-TN-0004-0012.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/01/2001
Source: LexisNexis
Judges Batchelder, Alice Moore (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit)
ID-TN-0004-0011 | ID-TN-0004-0012
Echols, Robert L. (M.D. Tenn.)
ID-TN-0004-0009 | ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-9000
Feikens, John (E.D. Mich.)
ID-TN-0004-0011 | ID-TN-0004-0012
Nelson, David Aldrich (Sixth Circuit)
ID-TN-0004-0011 | ID-TN-0004-0012
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bell, Aileen M. (District of Columbia)
Bowman, Robert C. (District of Columbia)
ID-TN-0004-0008 | ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-9000
Derryberry, Jack W. (Tennessee)
ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-0011
Donehey, Darcey Kathleen (District of Columbia)
Edwards, Lisa Wilson (District of Columbia)
Frohboese, Robinsue (District of Columbia)
ID-TN-0004-0008 | ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-9000
Geissler, R. Jonas (District of Columbia)
Goggin, Wendy Hildreth (Tennessee)
Gran, Judith A. (Pennsylvania)
Gross, Mark L. (District of Columbia)
Jackson, Shelley (District of Columbia)
Jones, Michelle A. (District of Columbia)
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
ID-TN-0004-0001 | ID-TN-0004-0002 | ID-TN-0004-0003 | ID-TN-0004-0004 | ID-TN-0004-0007 | ID-TN-0004-0008 | ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-9000
Peabody, Arthur E. Jr. (District of Columbia)
Picciotti-Bayer, Andrea (District of Columbia)
Porter, Nicole (District of Columbia)
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
Roberts, Richard W. (District of Columbia)
Rocah, David R. (District of Columbia)
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
ID-TN-0004-0008 | ID-TN-0004-9000
Russell, Kevin K. (District of Columbia)
Schneider, Todd J. (District of Columbia)
Scott, Janine (District of Columbia)
Trepel, Samantha Kay (District of Columbia)
Watson, Robert C. (Tennessee)
ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-9000
Weinstein, Laurie J. (District of Columbia)
Defendant's Lawyers Barrick, William M. (Tennessee)
Dycus, Dianne Stanley (Tennessee)
ID-TN-0004-0010 | ID-TN-0004-0011
Hubbard, William B. (Tennessee)
Maloy, Kathleen A. (Tennessee)

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