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Case Name U.S. v. Texas (DOJ CRIPA lawsuit involving many State Schools) ID-TX-0002
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-00490-SS ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On December 11, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent its "findings letter" to the governor of Texas, advising him of the results of the June 2005, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Lubbock State School ("LSS"), which houses developmentally ... read more >
On December 11, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division ("DOJ") sent its "findings letter" to the governor of Texas, advising him of the results of the June 2005, DOJ investigation of conditions and practices at the Lubbock State School ("LSS"), which houses developmentally disabled persons, including persons with intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and/or autism. 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 and reviewed a wide array of documents there. The investigators also conducted interviews with personnel and observed residents in a variety of settings at LSS. The letter commended LSS staff for providing cooperation during the investigation and noted the staff's genuine concern for residents.

Nevertheless, the DOJ advised that its' investigation found continuing deficiencies in resident care at LSS, in that conditions and services there substantially departed from generally accepted standards of care. Constitutional and federal statutory rights of residents at LSS were violated in several respects, according to the DOJ.

The DOJ concluded that deficiencies in conditions of resident care and treatment at LSS existed as to four topic areas. The letter provided examples of the deficiencies for each of the four identified categories. Texas caused LSS' residents significant harm or risk of harm through: (1) failure to provide adequate health care (including deficient, incompetent, untested, ill-trained, unreviewed, and/or understaffed nursing services, psychiatric services, general medical care, pharmacy services, dental care, and occupational and physical therapy, and physical and nutritional management; in sum, at LSS, these health services were "alarmingly short of professional standards"); (2) failure to keep residents safe (e.g., residents subjected to neglect and possible physical abuse; disproportionate number of unexplained and unreported injuries; lack of resident and staff supervision; inadequate incident management); (3) failure to provide residents with adequate behavioral support planning, appropriate restraint usage, and habilitation services (e.g., inadequate, non-individualized behavior programs, lacking adequate functional analysis of problem behaviors; poor program implementation, monitoring, evaluation, revision, and follow-up; poor staff training; "woefully inadequate" professional review and monitoring of behavior support services; no tracking of psychological services' use, for example, of restraints or emergency procedures nor of outcome measurements; inexperienced, untrained, and understaffed psychological personnel; overuse of, and overly-restrictive, physical and manual restraints, as well as inappropriate release criteria; excessive and unreviewed use of chemical restraints; failure to use behavioral modification, other than regressive interventions; little meaningful functional training or activity programming; insufficient speech or communication services, including a lack of augmentative or alternative communication evaluations and services); and (4) failure to provide services to LSS residents in the most integrated setting appropriate to the residents' needs, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq.; 28 C.F.R § 35.130(d). Regarding this latter category, the DOJ concluded that, at LSS, Texas had not taken adequate steps concerning: (1) community placements; (2) assessments; (3) communication of information on community resources to residents, guardians, and family members; and (4) execution of the discharge process. Consequently, fewer capable residents transitioned to community settings than desired.

Almost ten pages of minimally-acceptable remedial measures for each of the four categories were outlined in the letter, which concluded by inviting continued collaboration in implementing the remediation. The letter also provided notice that, absent a resolution of federal concerns, the DOJ would file a CRIPA lawsuit to compel correction of the identified deficiencies at LSS.

We have no information indicating post-"findings letter" activity in this case.

Mike Fagan - 05/30/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Disability
Integrated setting
General
Assault/abuse by staff
Bathing and hygiene
Classification / placement
Communication skills
Food service / nutrition / hydration
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Incident/accident reporting & investigations
Individualized planning
Neglect by staff
Reassessment and care planning
Record-keeping
Restraints : chemical
Restraints : physical
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Bed care (including sores)
Dental care
Medical care, general
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Wound care
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997 et seq.
Defendant(s) Texas Department of Aging and Disability Service
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Docket(s)
1:09-cv-00490-SS (W.D. Tex.)
ID-TX-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Re: CRIPA Investigation of the Lubbock State School Lubbock, Texas
ID-TX-0002-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/11/2006
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Statewide CRIPA Investigation of the Texas State Schools and Centers
ID-TX-0002-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/01/2008
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Complaint [ECF# 1]
ID-TX-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/26/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 2] (2009 WL 5053774)
ID-TX-0002-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/26/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Joint Motion for Entry of Settlement Agreement [ECF# 4] (W.D. Tex.)
ID-TX-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 16] (W.D. Tex.)
ID-TX-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/11/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 19] (W.D. Tex.)
ID-TX-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/07/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Postponement in, and Changes in Timing of, Monitoring Visits [ECF# 23]
ID-TX-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/26/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Notice of Agreed-Upon Modifications to Monitoring Framework [ECF# 26]
ID-TX-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sparks, Sam (W.D. Tex.)
ID-TX-0002-0005 | ID-TX-0002-0006 | ID-TX-0002-0007 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0002
Brown Cutlar, Shanetta Y. (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Castillo, Daniel M (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Coles, Arethea (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004
Dean, Kerry Krentler (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004
Deerinwater, Verlin Hughes (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-0009
Farano, Richard J. (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0008
Holder, Eric H. Jr. (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Jansen, Regina (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0001
King, Loretta (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Mazor, Marina (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-0008 | ID-TX-0002-0009 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Murphy, John E. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004
Roper, Richard B. III (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0001
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0008 | ID-TX-0002-0009
Tayloe, Benjamin O. (District of Columbia)
ID-TX-0002-0003 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-0008 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abbott, Greg (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0001 | ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-0009
Davis, James E. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0008
Eccles, James B. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0008
Hodge, Daniel (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0009
Mattax, David C (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0009
Morales, David S. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-9000
O’Keefe, Robert B. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Paxton, Ken (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0008
Roy, Charles E. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0008
Todd, James Carlton (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0004 | ID-TX-0002-0008 | ID-TX-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Eecles, James B. (Texas)
ID-TX-0002-0009 | ID-TX-0002-9000

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