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Case Name DOJ CRIPA Investigation of Atascadero State Hospital, Atascadero, California MH-CA-0002
Docket / Court 2:06-cv-02667 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On May 2, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent its "findings letter" to California's governor, advising him of the results of the November 2005, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Atascadero State Hospital ("ASH"), a facility housing residents ... read more >
On May 2, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent its "findings letter" to California's governor, advising him of the results of the November 2005, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Atascadero State Hospital ("ASH"), a facility housing residents with mental illness. The investigation occurred under the authority of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act ("CRIPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. DOJ and expert consultants visited the facility, reviewed a wide array of documents there, and conducted interviews with personnel and residents. The letter commended ASH staff for providing a high level of cooperation during the investigation, as well as the dedication many showed for patient well-being. Nevertheless, the investigation found "significant and wide-ranging" deficiencies in patient care at ASH.

DOJ concluded that deficiencies in conditions of patient care and treatment at ASH existed as to seven topical areas, including (1) psychiatry; (2) pharmaceutical services; (3) psychology; (4) medical care, including general medical services, infection control, physical and occupational therapy, dietary and dental care; (4) nursing services; (5) placement in the most integrated setting; (6) protection from harm and (7) quality assurance. Moreover, the findings letter stated that these shortcomings were materially similar to those outlined in the other findings letters to the state in 2003 and 2004. The letter provided details of deficiencies for all seven of these categories.

Minimally-acceptable remedial measures for each of these categories were outlined in the letter, which referenced a more detailed "Enhancement Plan" which had been negotiated by the state and the DOJ. That plan existed as part of a May 2, 2006, consent judgment in a separate civil rights enforcement proceeding concerning, at first, two other California mental health facilities. Settlement in that matter formed the basis for a February 27, 2007, amended consent judgment which included ASH and a fourth California mental hospital. Summarized information about that proceeding exists in this database at case MH-CA-0004 (U.S. V. California). Related information about the fourth hospital (Patton State Hospital) exists in this database at case MH-CA-0005.

Mike Fagan - 05/21/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Disability
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Record-keeping
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, unspecified
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Atascadero State Hospital
California Dept. of Mental Health
Plaintiff Description U.S. DOJ (Civil Rights Enforcment Division)
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
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 2006 - 2011
Filing Year 2006
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing MH-CA-0005 : DOJ CRIPA Investigation of Patton State Hospital (C.D. Cal.)
MH-CA-0004 : U.S. v. California (C.D. Cal.)
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 ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Findings Letter: Atascadero State Hospital, Atascadero, California
MH-CA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/02/2006
(Amended) Consent Judgment [ECF# 9]
MH-CA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Schiavelli, George P. (C.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Daniels, Howard F. (California) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0001 | MH-CA-0002-0002
Plessman, Gary L. (California) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Tayloe, Benjamin O. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Weidman, Leon W. (California) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Yang, Deborah W. (California) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Furtek, Frank S. (California) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002
Rodriguez, Cynthia (California) show/hide docs
MH-CA-0002-0002

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