Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jensen v. Minnesota Department of Human Services

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 26, 2018

James Jensen; Lorie Jensen, as parents, guardians and next friends of Bradley J. Jensen and others similarly situated; James Brmker; Darren Allen, as parents, guardians and next friends of Thomas M. Allbrink and others similarly situated; Elizabeth Jacobs, as parent, guardian and next friend of Jason R. Jacobs and others similarly situated Plaintiffs - Appellees
v.
Minnesota Department of Human Services, an agency of the State of Minnesota Defendant-Appellant Director, Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a program of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, an agency of the State of Minnesota; Clinical Director, the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a program of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, an agency of the State of Minnesota; Douglas Bratvold, individually, and as Director of the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a program of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, an agency of the State of Minnesota; Scott TenNapel, individually, and as Clinical Director of the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options, a program of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, an agency of the State of Minnesota Defendants State of Minnesota Defendant-Appellant

          Submitted: June 13, 2018

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Minnesota - Minneapolis

          Before WOLLMAN, ARNOLD, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

          KELLY, Circuit Judge.

         The Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS) appeals from a post-judgment order of the district court[1] concluding that the court retained jurisdiction to enforce the stipulated class action settlement agreement (Agreement) MDHS entered into with plaintiffs (collectively, the Jensen class). The Jensen class defends the district court's order but also asserts that we lack jurisdiction over the case because the order appealed is not final as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

         I.

         On July 10, 2009, the Jensen class-civilly committed individuals, their next friends, and others similarly situated-filed suit in federal district court in Minnesota. Their claims were based on "the abusive, inhumane, cruel and improper use of seclusion and mechanical restraints routinely imposed upon patients of the Minnesota Extended Treatment Options program (METO)." METO was an in-patient facility designed to provide residential treatment and care for persons with developmental disabilities who posed a risk to public safety.

         On December 5, 2011, the district court approved the Agreement proposed by the parties. Under the Agreement's terms, METO closed and was replaced by successor facilities that were intended to provide the same services to the same population that METO had served. These facilities are also governed by the Agreement. Pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, a judgment of dismissal was entered and the district court retained jurisdiction to enforce the Agreement:

The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this matter for two (2) years from its approval of this Agreement for the purposes of receiving reports and information required by this Agreement, or resolving disputes between the parties to this Agreement, or as the Court deems just and equitable. Should Plaintiffs believe a pattern and practice of substantial non-compliance . . . exists, the State and Plaintiffs shall meet and confer in an effort to resolve any such concerns. The meet and confer shall be held no later than sixty (60) days prior to the two year anniversary of the Court's approval. Should Plaintiffs continue to believe a pattern and practice of substantial non-compliance . . . exists, Plaintiffs may, within thirty (30) days thereafter, file a motion with the Court to extend the reporting requirements to the Court under this Agreement for an additional one (1) year.

         The parties agreed that the Agreement would "terminate at the same time as the [district] court's jurisdiction ends," with some limited exceptions that are not at issue here.

         On August 27, 2013, the district court, with the consent of the parties, entered an order extending its jurisdiction for an additional year beyond the original termination date (until December 4, 2014). The district court stated that it "expressly reserve[d] the authority and jurisdiction to order an additional extension of jurisdiction, depending upon the status of compliance by the Defendants with the specific provisions of the Settlement Agreement, absent stipulation of the parties."[2]Neither party objected to the extension of jurisdiction or the court's reservation of authority.

         About a year later, on September 3, 2014, MDHS was still not in compliance. The district court determined that it could "no longer tolerate continued delay in the implementation of the Settlement Agreement" and that "[a]dherence to the Court's Orders by the [M]DHS officials and staff at all levels [wa]s essential, not discretionary." The court then extended jurisdiction for another two years (until December 4, 2016) "based on the significant delays in implementation as well as the non-compliance with the Settlement Agreement." It further noted that "the extension of jurisdiction may be considered a sanction related to the circumstances described in [its] Order." Neither party objected.

         Litigation proceeded for another year and a half. On February 22, 2016-after mediation conducted by Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson was concluded-the district court established a "schedule for compliance reporting." In its order, the court extended its jurisdiction for three more years (until December 4, 2019). The district court also "expressly reserve[d] the authority and jurisdiction to order an additional extension of jurisdiction, depending upon the status of Defendants' compliance and absent stipulation of the parties." Again, neither party objected.

         At a March 24, 2017, status conference, MDHS for the first time raised an objection to the district court's continuing jurisdiction. According to MDHS, the court's jurisdiction had ceased as of December 4, 2014.[3] The parties briefed the issue, and, on June 28, 2017, the district court entered an order concluding it retained jurisdiction. The district court found that the jurisdictional provision in the Agreement was ambiguous, but looked to extrinsic evidence to conclude that the parties intended ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.