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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 sent a "findings letter" to the governor of Texas, advising him of the results of its investigation into conditions and practices at the Lubbock State School ("LSS"), which housed people with developmental disabilites. The ... read more >
On December 11, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division sent a "findings letter" to the governor of Texas, advising him of the results of its investigation into conditions and practices at the Lubbock State School ("LSS"), which housed people with developmental disabilites. The DOJ advised that its investigation found that conditions and services at LSS substantially departed from generally accepted standards of care.

On December 1, 2008, the DOJ issued additional "findings letters" regarding its investigation of additional State-Sponsored Living centers (SSLCs) for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) in Abilene, Austin, Benham, Corpus Christi, Denton, El Paso, Lufkin, Mexia, Richmond, San Angelo, and San Antonio, Texas. They identified significant deficiencies in care at these facilities and identified remedial measures to improve their care.

On June 26, 2009, the U.S. Attorney General filed suit against the state of Texas, the governor, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability, the Texas Department of State Health Services, and the superintendents of the thirteen state-operated facilities for people with ID/DD to whom it had issued findings letters. 2009 WL 2350318. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997. The complaint claimed violations of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, Title XIX of the Social Security Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12132. It alleged that the facilities failed to provide its residents with reasonably safe conditions, adequate healthcare, adequate therapeutic or psychological services, or proper evaluation for placement in the most integrated settings. The A.G. sought injunctive relief to halt these unlawful practices and comply with the relevant laws.

On that same day, the parties filed an joint settlement agreement with the court regarding services provided for people with ID/DD in these facilities, as well as the transition of those individuals into the most integrated settings appropriate to their needs. 2009 WL 5053774. The settlement agreement included plans for improvement as well as ongoing monitoring and enforcement provisions. The agreement stated that the court would retain jurisdiction over the case for five years, provided the facilities had reached substantial compliance for at least one year. The case was assigned to Judge Sam Sparks.

On June 27, 2009, Judge Sparks approved the parties' joint settlement agreement and conditionally dismissed the suit subject to the appointment of monitors to evaluate ongoing efforts to comply with the agreement. Judge Sparks retained the court's jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement.

In January 2010, the monitors and expert consultants conducted baseline reviews of each facility. Beginning in July 2010, compliance reviews were completed every 6 months for each facility. This continued until 2015, with the exception of a three month period in 2013.

On October 11, 2012, Judge Sparks issued an order establishing parameters for the monitors and their communications with the Texas state legislature, allowing them to answer, decline, or postpone their responses to questions as they saw fit. It also allowed for counsel for the United States and the State of Texas and its relevant agencies to be present for these meetings between the monitors and legislature.

In January 2013, the parties agreed to delay the four-year report until June 2014. That same month, Judge Sparks approved the parties' request to postpone monitoring inspection dates to coincide with the postponement of the production of the four-year report.

On June 23, 2014, the parties filed a joint report with the court by three monitors who had been visiting the facilities approximately every six months over the past four years. By the time the report was prepared, each facility had undergone seven compliance review visits. The monitors reported that the facilities made significant progress towards compliance with the agreement, but that it was unlikely that Texas would achieve substantial progress on most of the provisions any time soon. It noted that no facility was fully in compliance and that only 3 of the facilities had achieved substantial compliance with any substantive provision (e.g., minimum common elements of clinical care, protection from harm- restraints, etc.). They also made statewide recommendations for change across the centers. For example, it noted that system-wide action was sorely needed to decrease the use of restraints on patients for routine medical and dental care so that staff used restraints only when safe and appropriate. As an additional example, it noted that four facilities failed to timely report incidents and allegations of abuse and neglect within the facility and/or to law enforcement or protective services.

On August 29, 2014, the court granted the parties' joint motion to suspend late 2014 monitoring visits and set the next round of monitoring visits for 2015. In their motion requesting this order, the parties explained that they sought suspension of monitoring in order to restructure the monitoring approach to focus more directly on outcomes for individuals. They also provided recommendations for action across the state-supported living system.

On January 14, 2015, the parties notified the court to agreed upon modifications to the monitoring framework moving forward. For unknown reasons, no additional documents were filed nor court orders issued on this case after this notification.

The case is likely closed.

Mike Fagan - 05/30/2008
Veronica Portillo Heap - 10/05/2018


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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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Filing Year 2009
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
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)
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]
Four-Year Report [ECF# 21-1]
ID-TX-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/23/2014
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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