Federal Judge Grants Temporary Approval to Settlement Agreement

March 08, 2012

Judge John Gibney has granted temporary approval to the Settlement Agreement which was signed in January by the Commonwealth and the Department of Justice; this will allow Virginia to begin to do some planning.  The order is posted on the DBHDS website. In addition to granting the temporary approval,the Judge has made clear:
  • The purpose of the agreement is to allow intellectually disabled people to live in the community.
  • He has received a great deal of correspondence expressing concern that the agreement forces the Commonwealth to close four of five Training Centers.
  • In the Judge’s opinion, the Court has no role in determining how disabled individuals are cared for by the state; that is a decision to be made by the Governor and the General Assembly.  The agreement requires the Governor to submit a plan to the General Assembly on how to cease residential operations in four of the Training Centers.  Regardless of the decision of the Court to approve or not approve the Agreement, the Judge has ruled that “this Court cannot close the Training Centers; it also cannot keep them open.”
  • He wants additional information and will accept amicus briefs, in any form, from interested parties and will consider letters already received (including one from VNPP) in that capacity. He also plans to accept factual teatimony from VACSB on specific issues and will consider accepting factual testimony from a representative of a group, including private providers, from whom he has recieved consolidated comment.
  • He will visit a Training Center and other “facilities” equipped to deal with the profoundly disabled in the Richmond area.
We are reviewing our strategy and assembling the information to submit to the Court.