Messier Agreement: Being a Class Member
On November 19, 2010, United States District Court Judge Ellen Bree Burns signed an Order approving the Settlement Agreement in the 1994 class action Messier v. Southbury Training School (STS). A class member is anyone who lived at Southbury Training School on November 19, 2010.
The Settlement Agreement makes it clear that individuals who live at Southbury have the right to receive services in the most integrated setting. As part of the Settlement Agreement, the state has agreed to provide the resources necessary for anyone who wishes to transition from Southbury Training School to a residential setting in the community. The Agreement also requires the state to assist individuals who live at Southbury Training School and their guardians and families in learning how community services are provided, funded and monitored.
The staff at Southbury is required to make a "professional judgment" on an annual basis as to whether individuals at Southbury can be effectively supported in a community program. This recommendation is provided to the individual and their guardian at the annual planning meeting. The individuals and their guardians retain the right to accept or oppose the recommendation for community transition. If the recommendation is accepted, then transition to the community must occur within 18 months.
The Agreement also calls for the appointment of a "Remedial Expert" who is required to evaluate the state's compliance with the requirements. The Remedial Expert provides technical assistance to the state and helps inform individuals at Southbury and their families about the benefits and opportunities that community services and supports offer. The name of the Remedial Expert is Melanie Reeves Miller. She can be reached at (615) 975-8310. Her email address is email@example.com.