University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name U.S. v. Wisconsin ID-WI-0001
Docket / Court 97-C-0231-C ( W.D. Wis. )
State/Territory Wisconsin
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
In 1993, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified the State of Wisconsin, pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. §1997, that it was commencing an investigation into conditions at the Southern Wisconsin Center for the ... read more >
In 1993, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) notified the State of Wisconsin, pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. §1997, that it was commencing an investigation into conditions at the Southern Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled ("SWC"), in Union Grove, and the Central Wisconsin Center for the Developmentally Disabled ("CWC"), in Madison, Wisconsin.

Following investigative tours of both facilities by the DOJ and its experts, the DOJ sent its initial findings letter on to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) on July 16, 1993.

The DOJ re-toured the facilities in April of 1994 and submitted it supplemental finds letter in September 1994. In that letter, the DOJ detailed the deficiencies it found in both institutions, which included:

1. Dangerously deficient medical care
2. Inadequate administration and monitoring of psychotropic medications and psychiatric services
3. Inadequate supervision resulting in harm and injuries to residents
4. Psychology services which deviated from Accepted Professional Standards
5. Institutional environments that failed to meet the needs of the residents.

Negotiations followed between the DOJ and the DHSS, which resulted in an agreed resolution of the deficiencies uncovered by the DOJ at both institutions.

On April 4, 1997, the DOJ filed a lawsuit pursuant to CRIPA in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, along with a proposed Settlement Agreement entered into by the parties. On April 10, 1997, the District Court (Judge Barbara B. Crabb) approved the Settlement Agreement. The Agreement called for monitoring of defendants' compliance by a panel of joint experts in the fields of psychology/habilitation, developmental medicine (with expertise in neurology) and psychiatry. By its terms, the Agreement was set to terminate after the third annual inspection tour of the joint experts, if the experts determined that the defendants were in compliance.

In 1998, the U.S. apparently found non-compliance, and filed a motion on February 18 to enforce the settlement agreement. The state opposed that motion, but the Court granted it on April 13, 1998. In November, the parties entered a joint stipulation scheduling their experts' annual evaluatino of compliance. There's nothing else in the docket until a joint motion to dismiss the matter in February 2006, which was granted by the Court.

Dan Dalton - 03/19/2007

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Integrated setting
Classification / placement
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Reassessment and care planning
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health 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. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Central Wisconsin Center
Department of Health & Family Services
Southern Wisconsin Center
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
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 1997 - 2006
Filing Year 1997
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  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 ]

97-C-0231 (W.D. Wis.)
ID-WI-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/13/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Findings Letter re: CRIPA Investigation of Southern and Central Wisconsin Centers for the Developmentally Disabled
ID-WI-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/1994
ID-WI-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/04/1997
Settlement Agreement
ID-WI-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/04/1997
Judges Crabb, Barbara Brandriff (W.D. Wis.)
ID-WI-0001-0003 | ID-WI-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bowman, Robert C. (District of Columbia)
ID-WI-0001-0002 | ID-WI-0001-0003
Cameli, Mark A. (Wisconsin)
Frohboese, Robinsue (District of Columbia)
ID-WI-0001-0002 | ID-WI-0001-0003
Lautenschlager, Peggy A. (Wisconsin)
ID-WI-0001-0002 | ID-WI-0001-0003
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
Pinzler, Isabelle Katz (District of Columbia)
ID-WI-0001-0002 | ID-WI-0001-0003
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
Rosenbaum, Steven H. (District of Columbia)
ID-WI-0001-0002 | ID-WI-0001-0003
Schneider, Thomas P. (Wisconsin)
ID-WI-0001-0002 | ID-WI-0001-0003
Defendant's Lawyers Pray, Lee (Wisconsin)
Pray, Eillen W. (Wisconsin)
Victor, Richard A. (Indiana)

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -