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Friday, September 8, 2017

Tennessee Case Protecting the Rights of Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities Reaches Successful Conclusion

Today, in Nashville, Tennessee, Chief District Court Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. granted the parties’ motion to dismiss a civil rights case after the State of Tennessee reshaped services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. People with intellectual or developmental disabilities are now eligible to receive services in community-integrated housing throughout the state. This case was filed under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act.

“We applaud the State’s efforts—and the efforts of families, caregivers, and advocates throughout this case—to develop services that help assure safety and appropriate care for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who were in the State’s care,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We also recognize and appreciate the continued collaboration of important stakeholders in resolving this case, including People First of Tennessee and the Parent Guardian Associations of Clover Bottom and Greene Valley Developmental Centers. Together, we have pursued this case to enforce the important rights of people with disabilities and to treat these individuals with dignity.”

“This case demonstrates the United States Attorney’s Office’s commitment to safeguard the civil rights of all Tennesseans, especially those of its most vulnerable citizens,” said United States Attorney Mark H. Wildasin. “Because of the concerted efforts of many, the State has fulfilled its obligation to train physicians and other professionals who care for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, provided access to healthcare through the State’s Medicaid program, and moved its residents to community-based care facilities.”

United States originally brought this case, United States v. Tennessee, No. 3:95-1227 (E.D. Tenn.), to address conditions of care for residents of Clover Bottom Developmental Center, Greene Valley Developmental Center, and Nat. T. Winston Center and the right to receive care in integrated settings. The State and the United States, along with two intervenors, settled the case through an agreement that called for both improved conditions within the centers and the integration of residents into community settings. Shortly after the initiation of the suit, the State closed Nat T. Winston Center. The State closed Clover Bottom Center in November 2015 and Greene Valley Developmental Centers in May 2017. In 2015, the Court approved an Exit Plan designed to resolve this litigation by bringing to fruition planned community improvements in respite care, individual support planning, and other areas. The State has now completed that Exit Plan and thereby met its requirements to dismiss the case.

For more information on the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt.



Press Release Number: 
Updated September 8, 2017