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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name People First of Wash. v. Rainer RHC ID-WA-0002
Docket / Court 3:96-cv-05906-FDB ( W.D. Wash. )
State/Territory Washington
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
On October 21, 1996, four advocacy groups, the People First of Washington, the Arc of Washington State, the Autism Society of Washington, and the Washington Protection and Advocacy System (WPAS), and several individuals filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the ... read more >
On October 21, 1996, four advocacy groups, the People First of Washington, the Arc of Washington State, the Autism Society of Washington, and the Washington Protection and Advocacy System (WPAS), and several individuals filed a class action civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, challenging the dangerous conditions at Rainier School, Washington's largest state-operated residential habilitation center for people with intellectual disabilities. Plaintiffs alleged violations of their constitutional rights and rights guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Social Security Act. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as class action certification.

Plaintiffs' Complaint detailed numerous deficiencies and incidents of abuse, neglect and injury which occurred at the Rainier School. The Complaint alleged inadequate basic care, substandard medical care, excessive injury and abuse, inadequate habilitation and training, inadequate behavior management, and lax discharge planning and community placement at the Rainier School. Plaintiffs sought injunctive relief to correct the conditions and to allow residents to be transferred to integrated community settings.

On March 21, 1997, the District Court (Judge Franklin D. Burgess) granted defendants' motion to strike the complaint. Plaintiffs were granted leave and directed to file an amended complaint, which was filed on April 8, 1997.

Plaintiffs' motion for class certification was denied on May 1, 1997. The District Court allowed the group Friends of Rainier, Inc. to intervene as a intervenor/defendant.

On January 27, 1998, the parties filed a joint motion to stay the proceedings and for adoption of the Settlement Agreement. The District Court granted the motion on February 5, 1998 and stayed the case. A hyper-link to the Settlement Agreement was not available on the PACER docket and it terms are not known.

The Court entered a Stipulation and Order on December 6, 1999, granting the parties joint motion to voluntarily dismiss the case with prejudice. Plaintiffs were awarded attorneys fees and costs in the amount of $75,000.00.

Dan Dalton - 03/20/2007

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Integrated setting
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Communication skills
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Loss or damage to property
Neglect by staff
Reassessment and care planning
Recreation / Exercise
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Sanitation / living conditions
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
ICF/MR & HCFA standards
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Social Security (Title XX), 42 U.S.C. § 1397 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Rainier Residential Habilitation (Rainier School)
Plaintiff Description Individuals that (1) reside at Rainier; (2) may be admitted to Rainier; or (3) have been discharged from Rainier to group homes, nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
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 Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 1998 - 1998
Filed 10/21/1996
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
W.D. Wash.
ID-WA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Wash.
WPAS Case Summary
ID-WA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
W.D. Wash.
Fact Sheet
ID-WA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
W.D. Wash.
Complaint [ECF# 1]
ID-WA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
W.D. Wash.
WPAS Bibliography
ID-WA-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
W.D. Wash.
ID-WA-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
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Judges Burgess, Franklin D. (W.D. Wash.) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Randal B. (Washington) show/hide docs
ID-WA-0002-0002 | ID-WA-0002-9000
Costanzo, Cathy E. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ID-WA-0002-0002 | ID-WA-0002-9000
Dorfman, Deborah A. (Washington) show/hide docs
ID-WA-0002-0002 | ID-WA-0002-9000
Jones, Larry A. (Washington) show/hide docs
Schwartz, Steven J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ID-WA-0002-0002 | ID-WA-0002-9000
Smith, Michael Jay (Washington) show/hide docs
ID-WA-0002-0002 | ID-WA-0002-9000
Stanhope, Elizabeth A. (Washington) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Dee, Edward Joseph (Washington) show/hide docs
Jellum, Linda D. (Georgia) show/hide docs
Sabol, JoAnn (Washington) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Kemper, Keith Allen (Washington) show/hide docs

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