HALDERMAN v. PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL Civ. A. No. 74-1345.
446 F.Supp. 1295 (1977)
Terri Lee HALDERMAN, a retarded citizen, by her mother and guardian, Winifred Halderman, et al., Plaintiffs, Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens et al., on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs-Intervenors, United States of America, Plaintiff-Intervenor, v. PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL et al., Defendants.
United States District Court, E. D. Pennsylvania.
On Injunctive Relief March 17, 1978.
Norman Watkins, Jeffrey Cooper, Deputy Attys. Gen., Dept. of Justice, Harrisburg, Pa., for Pennhurst State School & Hospital, Dept. of Public Welfare, Frank S. Beal, Stanley Meyers, Aldo Colautti, Wilbur Hobbs, Russell Rice, Jr., and C. Duane Youngberg.
INDEX PageI. Procedural History ............................. 1300 II. Parties ........................................ 1300 III. Education, Training and Care (Habilitation) Afforded the Retarded at Pennhurst ..................................... 1302 A. Staffing .................................... 1303 B. Habilitation at Pennhurst ................... 1304 C. Restraints at Pennhurst ..................... 1306 D. Deterioration and Abuse of the Residents at Pennhurst ...................... 1308 E. Voluntariness ............................... 1310 F. Community Services in the Five County Area ................................. 1311 G. County Participation ........................ 1312 IV. The Merits ..................................... 1313 A. Constitutional Right to Minimally Adequate Habilitation ....................... 1314 B. Constitutional Right to be Free from Harm ................................... 1320 C. Constitutional Right to Non-Discriminatory Habilitation ................................ 1321 D. Pennsylvania Statutory Right to Minimally Adequate Habilitation ............. 1322 E. Federal Statutory Right to Non-Discriminatory Habilitation ................................ 1323 V. Liability of the Individual Defendants ...... 1324 VI. Conclusion .................................. 1325
RAYMOND J. BRODERICK, District Judge.
This is a class action in which the named plaintiffs are either residents or former residents of Pennhurst State School and Hospital, now known as Pennhurst Center ("Pennhurst"), an institution owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, located in Spring City, Pennsylvania. These plaintiffs are all retarded persons, or their representatives, who claim injury based on violations of certain state
This matter was tried before the Court, sitting without a jury, over a period of thirty-two days, testimony being limited solely to the issue of liability. In connection therewith, the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
Mental retardation, by definition, is an impairment in learning capacity and adaptive behavior.
The incidence of mental retardation is about 3% in the general population. There are four basic levels of mental retardation: (1) mild (I.Q. 52-69) which comprises 89% of the mentally retarded population; (2) moderate (I.Q. 36-51) which comprises 6% of the
Pennhurst, as an institution for the retarded, was on trial. Recent years have witnessed an assault upon such institutions.
History is replete with misunderstanding and mistreatment of the retarded. As Wolf Wolfensberger points out in The Origin and Nature of Our Institutional Models 3 (1975):
Institutions for a number of "deviant" groups were founded in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century for the purpose of making the deviant less deviant. They were originally relatively small centers, often located within the community, in which intensive training could be concentrated on the deviants. Their emphasis was on education; they were viewed as temporary boarding schools, geared toward returning the individuals to their family or living group once appropriate skills were learned. By the late nineteenth century, however, these schools were replaced by asylums isolated from the community, where instead of providing the individual
I. Procedural History
This action was commenced in May, 1974. On November 26, 1976, it was certified by the Court as a class action, with the plaintiff class of retarded persons defined as:
On February 4, 1977, by agreement of the parties, we entered an Order trifurcating the trial. This Order reads, in pertinent, part, as follows:
The first phase of this non-jury trial began on April 18, 1977 and ended on June 13, 1977, occupying thirty-two court days.
II. The Parties
The original complaint in this action was filed as a class action by Terri Lee Halderman, a retarded individual who had been admitted to Pennhurst on the application of her parents pursuant to 50 P.S. § 4402
On January 17, 1975, the Court granted the United States of America leave to intervene as a party plaintiff.
Defendants are: Pennhurst; the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare;
III. Education, Training and Care (Habilitation) Afforded the Retarded at Pennhurst
Pennhurst, a residential institution for the retarded, was founded in 1908. It is owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and is located in Spring City, Pennsylvania about 30 miles from Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1908, the institution has been overcrowded and understaffed. (PARC Exhibit 40, R. Smilovitz, Pennhurst in Perspective: Purpose, Programs, Possibilities.) The present resident population is approximately 1,230, reduced from a high of nearly 4,000 in the early 1960's. (Youngberg, N.T. 22-123). Its staff numbers approximately 1,500. All parties concede that the institution has undergone tremendous improvement since the 1950's when, at best, the residents' treatment could be described as "warehousing". Even with these improvements, it was admitted by the defendants that Pennhurst does not presently meet minimum standards for the habilitation of its residents. (Rice, N.T. 26-24; Youngberg, Deposition at 22-31).
Approximately half of the residents at Pennhurst have been admitted upon application of their parents or guardians, while the other half have been committed by a court. (Youngberg, N.T. 22-122). No distinction is made in the services extended to either group. The average
On the whole, the staff at Pennhurst appears to be dedicated and trying hard to cope with the inadequacies of the institution. (Hersh, N.T. 13-130).
Standards Pennhursta. Psychologists 23 23 b. Social Workers 40 6 c. Vocational Therapists 5 4 d. Recreation Therapists 23 0 e. Occupational Therapists 18 10 f. Registered Nurses 95 54 g. Physicians 7 6 h. Physical Therapists 14 2 i. Speech and Hearing Therapists 14 9 j. Dentists 7 4 k. Chaplains 7 4 l. Teachers 2451 8
(Clements, N.T. 2-26, 2-27).
B. Habilitation at Pennhurst
All parties to this litigation are in agreement that Pennhurst as an institution is inappropriate and inadequate for the habilitation of the retarded. It is also admitted that the inadequacies in programming at Pennhurst are directly attributable to staff shortages. Residents' records commonly contain a notation that they would benefit from specific types of programming. However, such programming has, for the most part, been unavailable to the individual because of staff shortages. (Foster, Deposition at 42; DeAngelis, N.T. 16-49). The average resident receives only 1½ hours of programming per weekday and no programming on weekends. (Thurman, N.T. 14-60; DeAngelis, N.T. 16-31). No one, except those in school, gets more than 3½ to 4 hours per day. If one factors out those programs which are not considered beneficial, the average drops to about fifteen minutes per day. (Thurman, N.T. 14-60).
Residents are referred to special programs at Pennhurst, but often, due to staff shortages, placements are not made. (DeAngelis, N.T. 16-40, 16-41). Almost every service offered at Pennhurst has a long waiting list. (Foster, Deposition at 42). For example, as of April 15, 1977, there were 511 residents on the referral list for occupational therapy. (Hilker, N.T. 20-43). While 50-60 Pennhurst residents have wheelchairs which have been individually adapted to meet the individual's needs, 75-100 residents need such adaptions. (Fekula, N.T. 20-99). The consequences for the resident not having his or her wheelchair adapted are especially grave, including: (1)
Pennhurst has established a communication center for 22 non-verbal individuals, but the institution has approximately 300 non-verbal residents. In theory, the residents in the communication center spend their day in classes learning signing (i. e., sign language skills), academics, and self-care skills. However, when there is only minimal staff coverage, classes are not offered since the staff is totally occupied with custodial tasks. During the month of April, 1977, there were 5 days during which there was minimal coverage on the first shift (7:00 a. m.—4:00 p. m.); 25 days of minimal coverage on the second shift (4:00 p. m.—11:00 p. m.); and thirty days of minimal coverage on the third shift (11:00 p. m.—7:00 a. m.) — on five of these days during the third shift, there was less than minimum staff coverage. (Nelson, N.T. 21-23, 21-24).
Not only is the programming at Pennhurst inadequate to meet minimum professional standards (Rice, Deposition at 179, 180), but so are the evaluations performed on the residents to determine what is required to adequately habilitate the individual. None of the residents at Pennhurst had a full multi-discipline assessment as of January, 1977. (PARC Exhibit 53; Flueck, N.T. 4-9). Twenty and six-tenths percent of the residents have not received a limited multi-discipline assessment since January, 1975, and those assessments which have been made are generally limited to psychological, speech and hearing skills and are rarely concerned with vocational or self-care skills. (Hare, N.T. 8-165, 8-166). Proper habilitation cannot be provided to retarded persons unless those responsible for providing such programs are aware of the individual's needs.
Defendants have not made "full exit plans," i. e., plans delineating: (1) a place for each individual to live outside of Pennhurst; (2) the daily activity necessary for each individual living outside Pennhurst; (3) necessary support services; and (4) the person who would be responsible, for any Pennhurst resident.
Defendants have also failed to make full "program plans," i. e., plans containing: (1) identification of long and short term goals; (2) specification of the conditions under which the individual might achieve these goals; and (3) specification of the criteria to evaluate the individual's mastery of the goals, for Pennhurst residents.
Pennsylvania's immediate plans for Pennhurst call for a reduction of the population at the institution to 850
C. Restraints at Pennhurst
At Pennhurst, restraints are used as control measures in lieu of adequate staffing.
Often physical restraints are also used due to staff shortages. An extreme example is a female resident who, during the month of June 1976, was in a physical restraint for 651 hours 5 minutes; for the month of August, 1976, was in physical restraints for 720 hours; during September, 1976, was in physical restraints for 674 hours 20 minutes; and during the month of October, 1976, was in physical restraints for 647 hours 5 minutes. (Matthews, Deposition at 64-68). This resident was extremely self-destructive — she totally blinded herself. She was not enrolled in occupational therapy until early 1977. Once initiated, her programming has apparently been quite successful, and she is now able to be out of restraints for as much as four hours per day. (Foster, N.T. 23-43). Had this programming been initiated earlier, her self-inflicted injuries might have been avoided or at least lessened.
Physical restraints are potentially physically harmful and can create conditions in which physical injuries are more likely to occur (Clements, N.T. 2-87; Hirst, N.T. 7-131; Roos, N.T. 1-166),
Psychotropic drugs at Pennhurst are often used for control and not for treatment, and the rate of drug use on some of the units is extraordinarily high. (Hersh, N.T. 13-153).
Dr. Sprague also found that Pennhurst residents on drugs were inadequately monitored. Without monitoring, one cannot determine whether the drug has been effective and whether it should be continued. Dr. Sprague found that in only 29% of the cases in which a drug was administered
One of the side effects of the use of psychotropic medication is that it may make the individual receiving it lethargic — so much so that the recipient may fall asleep during school, or during other times when activities and/or programming are being attempted. (Lowrie, N.T. 5-22). Other hazardous side effects of these drugs include hypersensitivity to sunlight; ataxia (inability to maintain balance and gait); and gingival hyperplasia (gum tissue condition marked by inflammation, bleeding and increased growth). (Hedson, Deposition at 59-61). Thus, the administration of such drugs actually impedes the habilitation of the resident, especially when used as a control rather than a habilitation device.
D. Deterioration and Abuse of the Residents at Pennhurst
The physical environment at Pennhurst is hazardous to the residents, both physically and psychologically. (Clements, N.T. 2-59). There is often excrement and urine on ward floors (Roos, N.T. 1-158; Smith, Deposition at 41), and the living areas do not meet minimal professional standards for cleanliness. (Youngberg, Deposition at 24). Outbreaks of pinworms and infectious disease are common (M. Conley, N.T. 16-193; Lowrie, N.T. 4-153; Hedson, Deposition at 122). As Superintendent Youngberg noted:
The environment at Pennhurst is not only not conducive to learning new skills, but it is so poor that it contributes to losing skills already learned.
Meals are eaten in a large group setting. Staff supervision is at a minimum, and residents are often free to steal food from other residents — which results in some residents not getting enough to eat. (Clements, N.T. 2-73). Obviously, diet control in such an environment is almost impossible.
Injuries to residents by other residents, and through self-abuse, are common. For example, on January 8, 1975, one individual bit off three-quarters of the earlobe and part of the outer ear of another resident while the second resident was asleep. (Matthews, Deposition at 83). About this same period, one resident pushed a second to the floor, resulting in the death of the second resident. (Barton, Deposition at 67, 68). Such resident abuse of residents continues. In January, 1977 alone, there were
In addition, there is some staff abuse of residents. In 1976, one resident was raped by a staff person (Ruddick, N.T. 3-115 to 3-117); one resident was badly bruised when a staff person hit him with a set of keys (Barton, Deposition at 40); another resident was thrown several feet across a room by a staff person (Ruddick, N.T. 3-113; Caranfa, N.T. 12-79); and one resident was hit by a staff person with a shackle belt (Bowman, N.T. 13-83; Pirmann, N.T. 19-94). On each occasion, an investigation was conducted and the staff person responsible was suspended and/or terminated (Ruddick, N.T. 3-114; Bowman, N.T. 13-82, 13-83, 13-84; Pirmann, N.T. 19-94).
Many of the residents have suffered physical deterioration and intellectual and behavioral regression during their residency at Pennhurst. Terri Lee Halderman, the original plaintiff in this action, was admitted to Pennhurst in 1966 when she was twelve years of age. During her eleven years at Pennhurst, as a result of attacks and accidents, she has lost several teeth and suffered a fractured jaw, fractured fingers, a fractured toe and numerous lacerations, cuts, scratches and bites.
Plaintiff Charles DiNolfi was admitted to Pennhurst when he was nine years old; he is now forty-five and has resided at the institution continually except for short stays at White Haven State School and Hospital. (Hunsicker, N.T. 9-39). Dorothy Hunsicker, his sister, testified that whenever she or her family visited him, Mr. DiNolfi had some type of bandage on. (Id.) Twenty-six years ago, while at Pennhurst, Mr. DiNolfi lost an eye. A Pennhurst physician told Ms. Hunsicker that Mr. DiNolfi slipped while taking a shower, and hit the spigot with his eye. The sight in his remaining eye has been impaired due to injury. (Id., N.T. 9-46, 9-47). He has only a few teeth remaining and his nose has been battered. (Id., N.T. 9-41).
Plaintiffs Robert and Theresa Sobetsky were admitted to Pennhurst on November 29, 1971.
Plaintiff Robert Hight, born in 1965, was admitted to Pennhurst in September, 1974. He was placed on a ward with forty-five other residents. His parents visited him two and one-half weeks after his admission and found that he was badly bruised, his mouth was cut, he was heavily drugged and did not recognize his mother. On this visit, the Hights observed twenty-five residents walking the ward naked, others were only partially dressed. During this short period of time, Robert had lost skills that he had possessed prior to his admission. The Hights promptly removed Robert from the institution, Mrs. Hight commenting that she "wouldn't leave a dog in conditions like that." (N.T. 11-22, 11-23).
Plaintiff George Sorotos entered Pennhurst in 1970 at the age of seven. In the seven years that George has been at Pennhurst, his former foster mother, Marion
Plaintiffs Larry and Kenny Taylor entered Pennhurst on February 28, 1961. In the early 1970's, Mrs. Taylor questioned the staff about the medication being given to Larry. He was very lethargic, falling asleep at school and barely able to walk. (Taylor, N.T. 13-24). The physician in charge of Larry's unit, checked Larry's medical record and found that he was on dilantin, a drug used to control epileptic seizures. Mrs. Taylor testified that Larry had had only one seizure that she knew of and that had been when he was a baby. Larry was removed from dilantin and placed on mellaril, a psychotropic drug. This, too, made him lethargic. (Id., N.T. 13-26 to 13-28). Larry and Kenny were transferred to Woodhaven in 1975 where Mrs. Taylor testified that Larry does not receive any psychotropic medication, and is able to walk independently. (Id., N.T. 13-32). Larry was often injured while at Pennhurst; on one occasion, he was hospitalized for two weeks because of head and face injuries he received as a result of a beating by another resident. (Id., N.T. 13-30). Kenny, too, suffered serious injuries while at Pennhurst. (Id., 13-29).
Plaintiff Nancy Beth Bowman entered Pennhurst at the age of ten in 1961. She was placed on a large ward which had sixty-five residents and often only two child-care aides in attendance. (Bowman, N.T. 13-71; Pirmann, N.T. 19-89). During her residency at Pennhurst she developed maladaptive behavior, i. e., biting and pushing. (Bowman, Id.) As a result of this maladaptive behavior she has been placed in seclusion for days at a time. (Id., N.T. 13-71). While at Pennhurst, she has lost teeth, been badly bruised and has been abused by the staff. (Id., N.T. 13-72, 13-73, 13-81). When asked about her present physical condition Nancy Beth's mother replied, "Nancy Beth will be scarred for the rest of her life." (Id., N.T. 13-94).
Plaintiff Linda Taub, who is blind in addition to being retarded, was admitted to Pennhurst in 1966 at the age of fifteen. According to her father, during her nine year residency at Pennhurst Linda received only custodial care and she experienced regression rather than growth. (Taub, N.T. 2-170). Time on the ward was spent sitting and rocking, with few activities. (Id., N.T. 2-155). During one of their visits in 1968, Linda's parents found Linda, a person capable of walking, strapped to a wheelchair by a straightjacket. A staff member explained that by strapping her into the chair, they would know exactly where Linda was. (Id., N.T. 2-152, 2-153). While at the institution, Linda was badly bruised and scarred. (Id., N.T. 2-164).
Approximately 21 of the 45 living units at Pennhurst are locked (Matthews, Deposition at 34) to prevent individuals from leaving their living units. (Uphold, Deposition at 139). Those individuals over the age of 18 who have been "voluntarily" admitted to Pennhurst are theoretically free to leave the institution at any time. (Allen, N.T. 21-185). Those admitted on the petition of their parents are informed by their caseworker when they reach the age of 18 that they do not have to remain at Pennhurst. If the residents state that they wish to leave the institution and the staff determines that there is no place for them in the community, or believes that the individuals are not ready to go into the community, the staff will petition the courts to have the individuals committed to the institution by a court. (Id., N.T. 21-186, 21-205). Furthermore,
F. Community Services in the Five County Area
Since the early 1960's there has been a distinct humanistic renaissance, replete with the acceptance of the theory of normalization for the habilitation of the retarded. Mason & Menolascino, supra note 6, at 136. The principles of normalization are an outgrowth of studies showing that those in large institutions suffered from apathy, stunted growth and loss in I. Q., and that the smaller the living unit on which the retarded individual lived, the higher the level of behavioral functioning shown by the individual. (Roos, N.T. 1-96 to 1-104). Under the principles of normalization, the retarded individual is treated as much like the non-retarded person as possible. (Id., N.T. 1-106, 1-107). The basic tenet of normalization is that a person responds according to the way he or she is treated. (Glenn, N.T. 5-186, 5-187). The thrust of habilitation through normalization is the remediation of the delayed learning process so as to develop the maximum growth potential by the acquisition of self-help, language, personal, social, educational, vocational and recreation skills. Mason & Menolascino, supra note 6, at 139-140. The older theories of habilitating the retarded stressed protecting the individual, and were characterized by little expectation of growth. Given this lack of expectation, the individual rarely exhibited growth. However, once removed from depressing, restrictive routines, the retarded have been able to accomplish a great deal. (Dybwad, N.T. 7-160).
The environment at Pennhurst is not conducive to normalization. It does not reflect society. It is separate and isolated from society and represents group rather than family living. (Hirst, N.T. 7-124). The principles of normalization have been accepted by the administration of Pennhurst and by the Department of Public Welfare, which is responsible for the administration of programs for the retarded in the five county area (Youngberg, N.T. 22-171; Rice, N.T. 26-43 to 26-45; Bilyew, N.T. 24-13; Hirst, N.T. 7-120), and the current intention of the Department of Public Welfare is to transfer all residents from Pennhurst by the early 1980's. (Rice, N.T. 28-48).
The five county area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia) has some community facilities providing for the education, training and care of the retarded covering all ages of retardation, including the profoundly retarded with multiple handicaps. (Girardeau, N.T. 4-140, 4-141). These community facilities have been an outgrowth of the acceptance of the principle of normalization and the rejection of institutions such as Pennhurst in connection with the habilitation of the retarded.
Many individuals now living at Pennhurst could be moved immediately into the community and would be able to cope with little
The primary limiting factor in the transfer of Pennhurst residents to community facilities has been the failure of the Commonwealth and its subdivisions to provide sufficient living units, vocational and day care facilities and other support services at the community level. Since fiscal year 1972, only 186 Pennhurst residents have been transferred from the institution directly into community living units (Bilyew, N.T. 24-50); although 176 others were transferred from Pennhurst to other institutions during 1974 and 1975. (Clark, N.T. 21-170).
In November, 1970, Act 256 was signed by the Governor of Pennsylvania. This legislation appropriated twenty-one million dollars for the purpose of planning, designing and constructing community facilities which would enable 900 Pennhurst residents to be transferred to the community. In 1971, the McDowell report was prepared at a cost of $68,000. It detailed the programs and services needed to support the 900 Pennhurst residents in the community and provided a blueprint for the implementation of the Act. (Samuels, N.T. 23-9, 23-10, 23-55). Though seven years have passed since the Act was signed, few of the facilities have become operational. The Department of Public Welfare now expects this program to be completed by 1980. (Id., N.T. 23-44). Over eighteen million dollars of this fund remains unspent but is allocated to building these facilities. (Stipulation, N.T. 7-97). As of April 25, 1977, however, only 37 Pennhurst residents have directly benefited from the Act. (Samuels, N.T. 23-80).
Comparable facilities in the community are generally less expensive than large isolated state institutions. Services can be purchased at regular rates, rather than at rates which must be paid to attract individuals to work in a setting like Pennhurst. (Conley, N.T. 11-107). The cost of running Pennhurst in 1976 was $27.8 million dollars, or $60 per resident per day. (Id., N.T. 12-28). This does not include the fair rental value of the buildings at Pennhurst (estimated at $3-$4 per resident per day). (Id., N.T. 11-114). The statewide cost of community living arrangements in Pennsylvania for 1976 was $17.64 per individual per day. (PARC Exhibit 63, 64). Program services, which 1/3 of mentally retarded individuals would need, average approximately $10 per individual per day. (Conley, N.T. 11-116, 11-117). Moreover, keeping the retarded individual in the community makes it possible for him or her to get employment. Eighty-five percent of the mentally retarded can be employed, though not all are capable of competitive employment. (Settle, N.T. 7-4). The lifetime earnings of a mildly retarded individual often exceeds $500,000. (Conley, N.T. 12-21). For those with an I.Q. between 25 and 50, 45% of men and 12% of women earn about 20% of the average wage. (Id., N.T. 12-31). When the retarded can work, the amount of financial support which society must provide decreases and the individuals may benefit society with the taxes they pay. Furthermore, the investment per individual at Pennhurst is primarily for warehousing and not for the individual's well-being or future planning, as is the case with community facilities. (Id., N.T. 11-23, 11-24).
G. County Participation
The counties presently have a financial incentive to send their retarded to Pennhurst rather than provide them with habilitation within the community. When a retarded individual is placed in a state institution, such as Pennhurst, the Commonwealth pays 100% of the costs incurred in the habilitation of the individual. However, if the individual receives services within the community, the county must provide 10% of the funds necessary to provide some of the services.
The BSU's have been doing little to prepare Pennhurst residents to leave Pennhurst. Although the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Pennhurst staff and county officials are in complete agreement that the residents of Pennhurst should be transferred as soon as practicable to appropriate community facilities, apparently no one has taken the initiative to accomplish this objective. (Hersh, N.T. 13-136).
The five county defendants are not in compliance with the Commonwealth's Community Living Arrangement (CLA) policy that at least 50% of the residents for these living facilities must be drawn from institutions. In contrast to other regions in the state, the counties which Pennhurst serves have a lower percentage of CLA residents drawn from institutions than from the community. (Knowlton, Deposition at 52).
IV. The Merits
This case concerns the constitutional and statutory rights of retarded persons institutionalized at Pennhurst. Our discussion herein pertains to the retarded, individuals who, because of circumstances beyond their control, are unable to function at the same educational and behavioral levels as the rest of society. It concerns solely the retarded and not persons who are mentally or emotionally ill. These are individuals who have not broken any laws, carry no contagious disease and are not in any way a danger to society. If anyone is in need of training, education and care, they are. At issue is whether the Commonwealth's system of incarcerating the retarded in an institution known as Pennhurst in any way violates their constitutional or statutory rights.
Having concluded the trial phase of the liability portion of this litigation, it has become apparent that by and large the parties share the same goals: all desire to improve the education, training and care provided the retarded in Pennsylvania and believe that Pennhurst should be closed and that all the residents should be educated, trained and cared for in the community. All agree that institutions such as Pennhurst are inappropriate and inadequate for the habilitation of the retarded. Defendants agree with plaintiffs' contention that the habilitation provided Pennhurst residents does not meet minimally acceptable professional standards. The Commonwealth in recent years has been attempting to upgrade Pennhurst and the education, training and care provided therein to its retarded residents. Moreover, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's current plans call for the transfer of all Pennhurst residents from the institution into the community (though perhaps temporarily into other institutions) by the early 1980's. Defendants contend, however, that they are neither constitutionally nor statutorily mandated to make these transfers or to upgrade the care, education and training provided at Pennhurst. It is their position that no constitutional or statutory rights have been violated. We disagree. Moreover,
A. Constitutional Right to Minimally Adequate Habilitation
The Supreme Court has not as yet stated that the retarded have a constitutional right to habilitation. It has, however, discussed the right to treatment of the mentally ill. O'Connor v. Donaldson,
Donaldson allegedly was suffering from "paranoid schizophrenia", id. at 565, 95 S.Ct. 2486, and was not retarded. When dealing with the retarded, the concern is for "habilitation" rather than for "treatment".
Mason & Menolascino, supra note 6, at 147 n. 72 (1976). Although we are convinced that the concept of "habilitation" for the retarded and "treatment" for the mentally and emotionally ill are separate and distinct concepts which should never be confused, in dealing with the question of the right of the retarded to adequate habilitation one must consider, to the extent applicable, those cases which deal with the right to treatment of the mentally ill.
Rouse v. Cameron, 125 U.S.App.D.C. 366,
Civil commitment entails a "massive curtailment of liberty". Humphrey v. Cady,
Moreover, as the Court stated in Jackson v. Indiana, 406 U.S. at 738, 92 S.Ct. at 1858, "[a]t the least, due process requires that the nature and duration of commitment bear some reasonable relation to the purposes for which the individual is committed." Since the only justifiable purpose
In Robinson v. California,
373 F.Supp. at 496. Thus, commitment of the retarded can withstand constitutional scrutiny only when it is coupled with minimally adequate habilitation. See United States v. Jackson, 179 U.S.App.D.C. 375, 385,
Of the federal courts which have considered the right to habilitation issue in connection with involuntarily committed retarded individuals and the right to treatment of involuntarily committed mentally or emotionally ill individuals, only two reported cases have been called to our attention which denied the existence of such a constitutional right: Burnham v. Department of Public Health of the State of Georgia,
New York State Ass'n for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Carey,
The other courts which have examined the issue have all found a constitutional right to treatment or habilitation. See, e. g., Wyatt v. Aderholt,
The Third Circuit has not yet decided the right to treatment or habilitation question. However, in Scott v. Plante,
We hold that when a state involuntarily commits retarded persons, it must
We wish to make it clear that our finding that the retarded at Pennhurst are being deprived of their constitutional right to minimally adequate habilitation is not limited to those residents who were court committed. Nearly fifty percent of the residents at Pennhurst did not go through court commitment procedures. They have been, and are being, deprived of minimally adequate habilitation to the same extent as those who were court committed. Moreover, as we have heretofore found, voluntariness in connection with admission and exit from Pennhurst is an illusory concept. The record in this case shows that Pennhurst residents had no practical alternative at the time of their admission and at the present time, they have no place else to go.
No constitutional mandate has been called to our attention which would require a state to provide habilitation for its retarded citizens. However, whenever a state accepts retarded individuals into its facilities, it cannot create or maintain those facilities in a manner which deprives those individuals of the basic necessities of life. In the case of the retarded, this constitutes an obligation to provide them with minimally adequate habilitation. See Welsch v. Likins,
The right to minimally adequate habilitation in the least restrictive alternative stems from the Supreme Court's decision in Shelton v. Tucker,
All admissions to state facilities, be it through court commitment, or otherwise, entail an infringement on fundamental rights and freedoms. See Eubanks v. Clarke,
B. Constitutional Right to be Free from Harm
The retarded at Pennhurst have been physically abused. Lack of adequate supervision has produced an atmosphere of danger to the residents. Occasionally, there have been incidents of staff abuse of residents, including rape and beatings. Hundreds of injuries, both major and minor, are reported every month.
Residents of state institutions for the retarded have both an Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment right to freedom from harm. Spence v. Staras,
Id. 97 S.Ct. at 1412 (footnote omitted). The retarded at Pennhurst have none of these safeguards. Due to their own handicaps,
As stated by Judge Judd in New York Association for Retarded Children, Inc. v. Rockefeller,
On the basis of the evidence in this record, we find that the constitutional right to be free from harm of the retarded residents at Pennhurst has been violated.
C. Constitutional Right to Non-Discriminatory Habilitation
In a three-judge decision emanating from this court, Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
As stated by Professor Burt in "Beyond the Right to Habilitation", in The Mentally Retarded Citizen and the Law 425-32 (1976):
In this record, the evidence has been "fully marshaled" and we find that the confinement and isolation of the retarded in the institution called Pennhurst is
D. Pennsylvania Statutory Right to Minimally Adequate Habilitation.
The question has also been presented to the Court as to whether the residents at Pennhurst have a statutory right to minimally adequate habilitation. 50 P.S. § 4201 provides in pertinent part:
This statute was first interpreted in In Re: Joyce Z., a minor child, No. 2035-69 (Common Pleas, Allegheny County, filed March 31, 1975). Joyce Z.'s caseworker petitioned the court, pursuant to 50 P.S. § 4406,
Id. at 10-11. (Emphasis supplied).
It is abundantly clear that the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act, 50 P.S. §§ 4201 et seq., grants to the retarded in Pennsylvania the statutory right to minimally adequate habilitation. See Eubanks v. Clarke,
On the basis of this record, we find that both the Commonwealth and the counties have violated their statutory obligation to provide minimally adequate habilitation to the retarded residents at Pennhurst. In particular, the Commonwealth has violated its statutory mandate to supervise and control the program of minimally adequate habilitation to these individuals.
E. Federal Statutory Right to Non-Discriminatory Habilitation
The question has also been presented whether Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, grants federal statutory rights to the retarded residents at Pennhurst which have been violated. Section 504 provides:
There is no question that the retarded are "handicapped individuals" within the meaning of the Act, 42 Fed.Reg. 22678; cf. Rhode Island Society for Autistic Children v. Board of Regents for Education for the State of Rhode Island, No. 5081 at 8 (D.R.I., filed August 1, 1975), nor is there any question that Pennhurst is a "program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
In enacting Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Congress has in effect codified the constitutional right to equal protection. Section 504 was originally introduced in 1971-72 as a bill to include the handicapped in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Introducing the bill in the Senate on January 20, 1972, Senator Humphrey, its primary sponsor there, said:
118 Cong. Rec. 525 (1972).
In view of our finding that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the segregation of the retarded in an isolated institution such as Pennhurst where the habilitation provided the retarded does not meet minimally adequate standards, consistency requires that we find that the Pennhurst residents' federal statutory right to habilitation in a nondiscriminatory manner has been violated. See Nattie T. v. Charles E. Holladay, No. DC 75-31-S (N.D.Miss., filed July 20, 1977). We hold that Section 504 confers a private right of action; that it imposes affirmative obligations on state and local governmental officials and that under Section 504 unnecessarily separate and minimally inadequate
V. Liability of the Individual Defendants
Plaintiffs Terri Lee Halderman, Larry Taylor, Kenny Taylor, Robert Sobetsky, Theresa Sobetsky, Nancy Beth Bowman, George Sorotos, and Linda Taub
As the Court heretofore found, these plaintiffs did suffer serious injury during their residence at Pennhurst. However, there was no evidence introduced at trial that any one of the above named defendants was, in any way, personally involved with the physical abuses inflicted upon these residents. To the contrary, the evidence shows that the defendants acted in the utmost good faith and that they did not know nor reasonably should have known that the actions which they took, or failed to take, within the sphere of their official responsibilities were in any way violative of the rights of the retarded residents at Pennhurst. For the most part, the evidence showed that those affiliated with the administration of Pennhurst were dedicated and sincere in their efforts to habilitate the retarded who came within the sphere of their supervision. They apparently took every means available to them to reduce the incidents of abuse and injury, but were constantly faced with staff shortages. In addition, as we have already found, the administration at Pennhurst was saddled with an institution which by its very nature produced an atmosphere conducive to injury. The Court, therefore, finds that the defendants have met their burden of convincing us by a preponderance of the evidence that they are entitled to the good faith immunity from damages afforded to such officials in connection with the injuries suffered by the named plaintiffs. O'Connor v. Donaldson,
Accordingly, we find that there is no basis for awarding monetary damages in this case.
This opinion is in lieu of Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As we have attempted to make clear, our Findings and Conclusions pertain solely to the retarded at Pennhurst.
For the reasons heretofore enunciated, the Court finds that the retarded at Pennhurst have been and are presently being denied certain constitutional and statutory rights in connection with their institutionalization at Pennhurst.
In an Order filed this date, we have scheduled a hearing for Friday, January 6, 1978 at 9:00 a. m. in Courtroom 10-B of this United States Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the purpose of determining the appropriate relief to be granted.
ON INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
In an opinion filed on December 23, 1977, this Court made findings of fact and conclusions of law in this matter. Upon its findings, the Court held that the constitutional and statutory rights of the retarded at Pennhurst State School and Hospital ("Pennhurst") had been and are being violated. Some of the determinations made by the Court in its opinion were:
1. That when a state institutionalizes individuals because they are retarded, the United States Constitution (Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments) and the laws of Pennsylvania (50 P.S. §§ 4101 et seq.) require the state to provide such minimally adequate habilitation as will afford a reasonable opportunity for them to acquire and maintain such life skills as are necessary to enable them to cope as effectively as their capacities permit.
2. That the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, grants rights to the retarded residents of Pennhurst, which rights have been and are being violated.
3. That the retarded at Pennhurst are not receiving minimally adequate habilitation and that such minimally adequate habilitation cannot be provided at Pennhurst because it does not provide an atmosphere conducive to normalization, which the experts all agree is vital to the minimally adequate habilitation of the retarded.
Having concluded the liability phase of this litigation, we must now determine the appropriate relief. In view of the Court's finding that institutionalization at Pennhurst is not conducive to normalization, which is vital to the habilitation of the retarded, our Order must provide that immediate steps be taken to remove the retarded residents from Pennhurst. Great caution and care must be exercised, however, to make certain that each and every retarded resident who is moved from Pennhurst can be accommodated in a community facility which will provide minimally adequate habilitation. Furthermore, the Court's Order shall not be construed to limit in any manner the use of the Pennhurst facilities from any other purpose in the future.
A hearing was held on January 6, 1978, at which the Court requested that the parties meet and attempt to agree upon a Court Order which would be acceptable to all the litigants. After meeting, the parties informed the Court that they had been unable to agree and would never be able to agree. The Court then directed that the parties submit proposed Orders detailing their views as to the appropriate relief for the Court to grant together with a memorandum pointing out what they considered unacceptable in their opponent's proposed Order.
The Order submitted by the Commonwealth defendants contained a plan which was essentially the same plan introduced by them at the trial in May, 1977. As was pointed out in this Court's opinion, the Commonwealth defendants agreed that the retarded should be removed from Pennhurst and readily admitted that the only reason that the litigation was necessary was because they wished to accomplish the closing of Pennhurst as a residence for the retarded, pursuant to their own schedule which was vague and indefinite.
Accordingly, we shall this date enter an Order of judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, and shall mandate the appropriate injunctive relief necessary to remedy the constitutional and statutory violations which the Court in its Opinion of December 23, 1977 found are being suffered by the retarded residents at Pennhurst.
AND NOW, this 17th day of March, 1978, pursuant to findings of fact and conclusions of law made by the Court in an Opinion filed December 23, 1977, it is hereby ORDERED that judgment is entered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, and injunctive relief is ORDERED as follows:
1. Commonwealth and county defendants, their successors, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys and all persons in active concert or participation with them are permanently enjoined to provide suitable community living arrangements for the retarded residents of Pennhurst, and those retarded persons on its waiting list, together with such community services as are necessary to provide them with minimally adequate habilitation until such time as the retarded individual is no longer in need of such living arrangement and/or community service.
2. Commonwealth and county defendants, as aforesaid, are permanently enjoined to develop and to provide a written individualized program plan, formulated in accordance with professional standards (Opinion, page 25; Roos N.T. 1-115, 1-116, Hare N.T. 8-168) to each member of plaintiff class, to provide to each an individualized habilitation program, to provide annual periodic review thereof and the opportunity to each member of plaintiff class and to his or her next friend to be heard thereon.
3. Commonwealth and county defendants, as aforesaid, are permanently enjoined to provide all necessary and proper monitoring mechanisms to assure that community living arrangements and other community services of the necessary quantity and quality are provided and maintained.
4. Commonwealth and county defendants, as aforesaid, are permanently enjoined to implement with dispatch Act 256 of the 1970 Pennsylvania General Assembly, the specific schedule to be set by further Order of this Court upon recommendation of the Master as set forth in paragraph 6(a) below.
5. The Court, on the basis of nine weeks' testimony in this case and the submissions of all parties, finds that the implementation of this Order will be impossible without the appointment of a Special Master, and, therefore, pursuant to Rule 53, Fed.R. Civ.P., and in the exercise of the Court's equitable powers, the Court shall appoint a Special Master with the power and duty to plan, organize, direct, supervise and monitor the implementation of this and any further Orders of the Court. Commonwealth and county defendants, their successors, officers, agents, servants, employees, attorneys and all persons in active concert or participation with them shall provide the Master with access to all premises, records, documents and personnel and residents and with every other cooperation and service necessary to the discharge of the Master's duties and shall make available to the Master all professional and other resources of the Department of Public Welfare, the Pennhurst State School and Hospital, the County Offices of Mental Retardation and the Base Service Units as may be necessary to execute this Court's Orders.
6. The Special Master shall prepare and present to this Court for its approval and Order a Plan of Implementation which shall include the following:
7. Within not more than sixty (60) days after appointment, the Master shall file with this Court the reports required at paragraphs 6(a) and (b) above and 11 below. A hearing will then be scheduled by the Court within fifteen (15) days from the date of their filing. Following the adoption of any plan by Order of the Court, it shall be implemented forthwith.
8. The Master shall engage such staff of his or her own as he or she finds necessary, subject to the approval of the Court. The Master and his or her staff shall be compensated by commonwealth defendants at a rate to be set by the Court; the expenses of the mastership shall be borne by the commonwealth defendants. The Master shall promptly submit to the Court a form of Order with respect to these matters.
9. County defendants, as aforesaid, are hereby enjoined from recommending or in any way counselling that any individual be committed to Pennhurst, and from petitioning for the commitment of any individual to Pennhurst, and from advancing in any way any application for admission to Pennhurst, and are herewith enjoined from participating in any program or activity in connection with the placement in the future or commitment in the future of any retarded person at Pennhurst.
10. Commonwealth defendants, as aforesaid, are hereby enjoined from recommending
11. The Special Master, as aforesaid, shall prepare and present to the Court for its Order a plan for the interim operation of Pennhurst pending its prompt replacement by community living arrangements and other community services. The plan shall address, but need not be limited to, the matters referenced in paragraphs 12-19 below, any other condition at Pennhurst which threatens the life, safety or well-being of any Pennhurst resident, and measures to assure that the interim operation of Pennhurst, including all activities therein, contributes to the prompt provision of services in the community necessary to the habilitation of each Pennhurst resident.
12. Commonwealth defendants are hereby mandated to take every precaution to prevent the physical or psychological abuse, neglect or mistreatment of any Pennhurst resident. Each and every alleged incident of abuse, neglect or mistreatment shall be promptly investigated. The manner and mechanisms of such investigations shall be developed and established by the plan referenced in paragraph 11.
13. Commonwealth defendants are hereby enjoined to exert the maximum effort in enforcing the following Department of Public Welfare regulations on the "Use of Restraints in Treating Patients/Residents" and "Personnel Rules and Institutional Policy on Acts of Abuse Against Patients/Residents" (promulgated in 7 Pennsylvania Bulletin 3199 (October 29, 1977)) which include inter alia the following requirements:
15. Commonwealth defendants are enjoined from failing to provide a program of medical and health related services for residents which provides accessibility, quality and continuity of care for physical illness or injury. The plan of implementation shall develop and establish detailed standards for the provision of adequate medical and health related services to residents.
16. Commonwealth defendants are hereby enjoined from failing to provide individualized adaptive wheelchairs to each physically handicapped resident who needs them. Each and every individual resident shall be immediately evaluated to ascertain the need for such equipment.
17. Commonwealth defendants are hereby enjoined from feeding any resident in the supine position or in any position less than the maximum upright position consistent with their capabilities and handicaps.
18. Commonwealth defendants are hereby enjoined from denying any resident programmed activities as punishment.
19. Commonwealth defendants are enjoined to take every precaution to keep every Pennhurst building currently housing residents clean, odorless and insect-free at all times.
20. All bulletins, memoranda, directives of official policy issued by the defendants in connection with the implementation of this Court's Order, shall, upon issuance, be sent to counsel for each of the plaintiffs.
21. Jurisdiction is retained by this Court until further Order.
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