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D.C. denied end to lawsuits

The District was dealt another setback Wednesday in its effort to end the class action lawsuits covering three of the city's social services agencies.

In an 84-page decision issued Wednesday morning, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle rejected the city's argument that under a recent Supreme Court decision, the city was not obligated to comply with the consent decree agreed to in the long-running case.

Huvelle had announced her decision at a hearing in December, but she had not laid out her reasoning until the issuance of her opinion Wednesday. She has scheduled a hearing for this afternoon and required Attorney General Peter Nickles to be present.

Known as Evans v. Fenty, the suit was filed in 1976 over conditions at Forest Haven, which was the city's institution for people with severe developmental disabilities. Forest Haven was closed almost two decades ago, but the city failed to provide adequate services to the many of the former Forest Haven residents, and the litigation has lived on.

Nickles and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty have made ending the suit and others involving the child welfare and mental health agencies a key administration priority.

On Monday, the judge in the child welfare case, Thomas F. Hogan, issued his long-awaited on the District's effort to the end that case, known as LaShawn v. Fenty. Hogan said that the city had not met the standards set out last year by the Supreme Court in the institutional reform case Horne v. Flores.

Hogan also found Fenty in civil contempt for failing to involve the plaintiffs in the selection of a new child welfare director.

Henri E. Cauvin

By Washington Post editors  |  April 7, 2010; 8:26 AM ET
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I'm loving these jugdes. What color is the shoe polish today?

Posted by: candycane1 | April 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Today Judge Huvelle and on Monday Judge Hogan raked baby fenty's Chief of Staff, I mean the District's alleged Attorney General peter ashcroft-gonzales-cheney, over the coals. As a District resident and taxpayer, I hope our heroic Council will sternly question peter ashcroft-gonzales-cheney, at his upcoming FY 2011 budget review oversight hearing, about this frivolous and costly waste of valuable and limited District financial assets to accomplish absolutely nothing! Councilmembers Catania, Graham and Wells - grow a pair and start exercising some oversight responsibility!

Posted by: bob_dylan_rocks | April 7, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: jancanan | April 13, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

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