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Halderman by Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hosp.

filed: April 17, 1990.

TERRI LEE HALDERMAN, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HER MOTHER AND GUARDIAN, WINIFRED HALDERMAN; LARRY TAYLOR, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HIS PARENTS AND GUARDIANS, ELMER AND DORIS TAYLOR; KENNY TAYLOR, A MINOR, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HIS PARENTS AND GUARDIANS, ELMER AND DORIS TAYLOR; ROBERT SOBETSKY, A MINOR, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HIS PARENTS AND GUARDIANS, FRANK AND ANGELA SOBETSKY; THERESA SOBETSKY, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HER PARENTS AND GUARDIANS, FRANK AND ANGELA SOBETSKY; NANCY BETH NOWMAN, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HER PARENTS AND GUARDIANS, MR. AND MS. HORACE NOWMAN; LINDA TAUB, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HER PARENTS AND GUARDIANS, MR. AND MRS. ALLEN TAUB; GEORGE SOROTOS, A MINOR, A RETARDED CITIZEN, BY HIS FOSTER PARENTS, WILLIAM AND MARION CARANFA, ALL OF THE ABOVE INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED; THE PARENTS AND FAMILY ASSOCIATION OF PENNHURST PENNSYLVANIA ASSOCIATION FOR RETARDED CITIZEN, JO SUZANNE MOSKOWITZ, A MINOR, BY HER PARENTS AND NEXT FRIENDS, LEONARD AND NANCY MOSKOWITZ, ROBERT HIGHT, A MINOR, BY HIS PARENTS AND NEXT FRIENDS, JOHN AND JEANNE HIGHT, DAVID PREUSCH, A MINOR BY HIS PARENTS AND NEXT FRIENDS, CALVIN AND ELIZABETH PREUSCH, AND CHARLES DINOLFI, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS-INTERVENORS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR
v.
PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, FRANK S. BEAL, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, STANLEY MEYERS, DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR MENTAL RETARDATION, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, HELENE WOHLGEMUTH, FORMER SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, ALDO COLAUTTL, EXECUTIVE DEPUTY SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, WILBUR HOBBS, DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR SOUTHEASTERN REGION, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, RUSSELL RICE, JR., COMMISSIONER OF MENTAL RETARDATION FOR SOUTHEASTERN REGION, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, C. DUANE YOUNGBERG, SUPERINTENDENT, PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL, ROBERT SMILOVITZ, FORMER ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL, JOSEPH FOSTER, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL, MARGARET GREEN, BETTY UPHOLD, ALICE BARTON, P.E. KLICK, DR. PAROCCA, HELEN FRANCIS, EMPLOYEES AND AGENT OF PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL, JOHN DOCTOR, JAMES NURSE, JANE AIDE, JILL THERAPIST, RICHARD ROE, JANE DOE, UNKNOWN AND UNNAMED STAFF, EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS OF PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL & HOSPITAL, EACH INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANT SUED INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY, GEORGE HETZGER, JOSEPH CATANIA, AND ROGER BOWERS, COMMISSIONERS FOR BUCKS COUNTY, ROBERT STREBL, EARL BAKER AND LEO MCDERMOTT, COMMISSIONERS FOR CHESTER COUNTY, FAITH R. WHITTLESEY, CHARLES KELLER, AND WILLIAM SPINGLER, COMMISSIONERS FOR DELAWARE COUNTY, A. RUSSELL PARKHOUSE, FRANK W. JENKINS AND LAWRENCE H. CURRY, COMMISSIONERS FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MAYOR FRANK L. RIZZO AND THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, AS AUTHORITIES FOR PHILADELPHIA COUNTY, PETER BODENHEIMBER, MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATION FOR BUCKS COUNTY, WILLIAM A. MCKENDRY, MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATOR FOR CHESTER COUNTY, P. PAUL BURRICHTER, MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATION FOR DELAWARE COUNTY, HERMAN A. ROETHER, MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATION FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY AND LEON SOFFER, MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATOR FOR PHILADELPHIA COUNTY. PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL AND HOSPITAL, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WELFARE, THE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF MENTAL RETARDATION, THE EXECUTIVE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF PUBLIC WELFARE, THE DEPUTY SECRETARY FOR SOUTHEAST REGION, THE COMMISSIONER FOR MENTAL RETARDATION FOR SOUTHEAST REGION, THE SUPERINTENDENT FOR PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL AND HOSPITAL AND THE EMPLOYEES AND AGENTS FOR PENNHURST STATE SCHOOL AND HOSPITAL, APPELLANTS NO. 89-1788. COMMISSIONERS AND MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATOR OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA APPELLANTS NO. 89-1841. THE MENTAL HEALTH/MENTAL RETARDATION ADMINISTRATION AND COUNTY COUNCIL OF DELAWARE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA APPELLANTS NO. 89-1842



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, D.C. Civil No. 74-1345.

Hutchinson and Cowen, Circuit Judges, and Alfred J. Lechner, District Judge*fn*

Author: Cowen

Opinion OF THE COURT

COWEN, Circuit Judge.

Today we revisit the seemingly endless litigation over the closing of Pennhurst State School and Hospital ("Pennhurst"). In March 1989, the Association of Retarded Citizens/Pennsylvania ("ARC/PA") moved the district court for enforcement of a settlement agreement entered into by all the parties to this litigation six years ago which supposedly ended their dispute. After holding evidentiary hearings on the motion, the district court entered an order finding the various state defendants in this action (whom we will refer to collectively as "the Commonwealth"), the Montgomery County defendants ("Montgomery County"), and the Delaware County defendants ("Delaware County") in substantial noncompliance with the agreement and its court order incorporating the agreement. The Commonwealth and the two Counties now appeal the district court's order, as well as the denial of their motions to dismiss due to the court's lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Because we find that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction and did not err in finding the Commonwealth and the Counties in substantial noncompliance, we will affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

The Pennhurst case has a long and complex procedural history.*fn1 It suffices for our purposes to note that the original complaint was filed in 1974 as a class action by Terri Lee Halderman against the Commonwealth, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and various officials of three other counties.*fn2 The ARC/PA intervened as a party plaintiff in 1975.*fn3 The case was actively litigated for eleven years, producing 28 published opinions and three arguments before the United States Supreme Court.

Ultimately, all parties conceded that Pennhurst was not providing adequate care and habilitation to its retarded residents. On July 12, 1984, under the guidance of Judge Rosenn of this Court, the parties reached a settlement. In approving the settlement agreement -- titled and referred to by the parties as the Final Settlement Agreement ("FSA") -- the district court explained that:

the Commonwealth and County defendants have agreed to provide community living arrangements to those members of the plaintiff class for whom such placement is deemed appropriate by the individual planning process, together with such community services as are necessary to provide each person with minimally adequate habilitation, until such time as the retarded individual no longer is in need of such living arrangements and/or community services. The defendants agree to provide residential and habilitative services to all persons who have been furnished with such services pursuant to prior orders of this Court. The defendants agree to develop and provide a written habilitation plan, formulated in accordance with professional standards, to each member of the plaintiff class; provide an individualized habilitation program to each member of the plaintiff class; and permit each class member and his family or guardian to be heard in connection with his or her program. The defendants also agree to provide an annual review of each person's individualized habilitation program, and to monitor the services and programs provided to the class members in accordance with a detailed, professionally-established monitoring and visitation procedure. All defendants shall assure that all persons provided with services under the terms of the agreement shall be afforded: (1) protection from harm; (2) safe conditions; (3) adequate shelter and clothing; (4) medical, health-related, and dental care; (5) protection from physical and psychological abuse, neglect, or mistreatment; (6) protection from unreasonable restraint and the use of seclusion; and (7) protection from the administration of excessive or unnecessary medication.

Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hosp., 610 F. Supp. 1221, 1227 (E.D.Pa. 1985).

The basic structure of the FSA is relevant to the resolution of this appeal. The FSA consists of four sections: the main body of the agreement, consisting of 22 paragraphs containing general obligations of the parties, conditions and definitions; Appendix A, which sets forth the specific obligations of the Commonwealth and the Counties as detailed in the district court's opinion quoted above; Appendix B, which allocates the funds made available by the closure of Pennhurst, establishes both a cost review procedure for the individual habilitation plans and a funding dispute resolution mechanism, and contains an application for federal funding; and Appendix C, which concerns the required notice to members of the class.

In March 1989, the ARC/PA filed several motions with the district court, joined in by the Halderman plaintiffs, for "Enforcement, Further Orders and Extension of the Final Settlement Agreement" as to the Commonwealth, and Montgomery and Delaware Counties. After holding evidentiary hearings over a period of four days between June 21 and July 6, 1989, the district court found that the Commonwealth and both Counties were in substantial noncompliance with the FSA. Specifically, the court found that Montgomery County was not providing the habilitative services mandated by the FSA to six members of the class, App. at 811-12, and that Delaware County was not providing the required habilitatlve services to 68 members of the class, App. at 810. In addition, the court found that the Commonwealth was in substantial noncompliance with the FSA because it was jointly responsible with the Counties for providing the habilitative services to the class members and also because it was failing to provide the necessary monitoring of the Counties' compliance. App. at 809, 811, 813-14.

The district court rejected the Appellants' arguments that under the terms of the FSA, the district court had lost jurisdiction over the case. First, the court found that the contractual obligations of Appendix A were, in effect, court orders. App. at 814-16. Second, the court found that the terms of the FSA -- specifically paras. 14-16 -- are unambiguous and provide the court with continuing jurisdiction to enforce its Appendix A orders. App. at 812-13. Alternatively, the court found that it had jurisdiction over the case, at least as to the Commonwealth, pursuant to a December 2, 1989 amendment of the FSA. App. at 812. The court interpreted the amendment as extending the jurisdictional period contained in the FSA to sometime in 1990.*fn4

The district court entered an order on August 28, 1989, requiring the Commonwealth and the Counties to comply with all provisions of the FSA by March 1, 1990. App. at 801.*fn5 In addition, the court ordered that paras. 10, 12-16, 18 and 21 of the main text of the FSA and paras. A5(c), A5(e) and A8 of Appendix A "shall remain in full force and effect notwithstanding any language contained therein calling for earlier expiration. . . ." App. at 802. The district court further ordered that the Commonwealth and the Counties are to file monthly progress reports to the court until they come into full compliance. App. at 802.

On appeal, the Commonwealth and the Counties contest both the district court's denial of their motions to dismiss on the jurisdiction issue and the court's finding that they are in substantial noncompliance with the FSA. On the compliance issue, the Commonwealth argues that, under state law, the Counties have the sole responsibility to place the class members in community living arrangements. In addition, the Commonwealth argues that the evidence presented at the hearing showed that it was providing the required monitoring services under the FSA. Montgomery County does not dispute that six members of the class from its county are not being provided the care mandated by the FSA, but contends that since 194 of the 200 former Pennhurst residents from Montgomery County are being properly cared for, the County is in substantial compliance. Likewise, Delaware County does not dispute the district court's finding that 68 members of the class from its county are not being provided the services mandated by the FSA. Rather, Delaware County's argument is that its obligations under the FSA are conditioned upon adequate funding from the Commonwealth which has not been forthcoming.*fn6 We have jurisdiction over these appeals pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291 (1982).

II.

JURISDICTION

The first issue we address is the jurisdictional one. This circuit has not yet conclusively settled the question of whether courts have inherent jurisdiction to enforce settlement agreements in cases that were once properly before them. Compare Fox v. Consol. Rail Corp., 739 F.2d 929, 932 (3d Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 469 U.S. 1190, 105 S. Ct. 962, 83 L. Ed. 2d 968 (1985) and Kelly V. Greer, 365 F.2d 669, 671 (3d Cir. 1966), cert. denied, 385 U.S. 1035, 17 L. Ed. 2d 682, 87 S. Ct. 772 (1967) with Washington Hosp. v. White, 889 F.2d 1294, 1298-99 (3d Cir. 1989). Under either ...


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