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Pedreira v. Sunrise Children's Services, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

March 16, 2017

ALICIA M. PEDREIRA, et al. PLAINTIFF
v.
SUNRISE CHILDREN'S SERVICES, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the court on motion of the defendant, Sunrise Children's Services, Inc. f/k/a Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children, Inc. (“Sunrise”), for reconsideration of the court's December 22, 2016 Memorandum Opinion and Order. DN 573. Defendants Vicki Yates Brown Glisson, Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and John Tilley, Secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet (collectively, the “Commonwealth Defendants”) join in the motion. DN 577.

         The action was remanded to this court by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Court of Appeals returned the case for the explicit purpose of having this court decide whether the agreement reached between the plaintiffs and the Commonwealth to settle the case, an agreement which it found was a consent decree, was fair, reasonable and consistent with the public interest. The Court of Appeals added the further directive that the court consider its observation that “the consent decree denie[d] Sunrise a chance to clear its name, ” and “impose[d] the very reputational harm that Sunrise sought to avoid by means of 15 years of litigation.” Pedreira v. Sunrise Children's Services, Inc., 802 F.3d 865, 872 (6th Cir. 2015((“Pedreira II”).

         Within a week after the denial of the plaintiffs' motion for rehearing en banc by the Sixth Circuit, the parties entered into a First Amendment to Settlement Agreement (hereinafter “the Amendment”). The parties attempted to address the Court of Appeals' concern that the Settlement Agreement “single[d] out Sunrise by name for special monitoring by the ACLU and Americans United, ” Id. Sunrise was the sole objector to the Settlement Agreement at that time.

         In the Amendment's “Recitals, ” the parties stated, in part, that:

C. In light of this potential concern, the Parties desire to amend the Settlement Agreement to eliminate any “singl[ing] out” of or potential reputational harm to Sunrise by uniformly applying the same monitoring triggers and rules to all Agencies, as set forth in this Amendment.
D. Further, in light of objections raised by Sunrise during briefing concerning the Settlement Agreement, the Parties desire to clarify that no new or modified administrative regulations need to be enacted to comply with the Settlement Agreement.

         In the Amendment's “Agreement” section, the parties agreed, in pertinent part, to:

         Section 1. Modification of Section 3.

[Section 3 is deleted and replaced with new language which we do not recite here].

         Section 2. Approval of Settlement Agreement, as Amended; Dismissal of Lawsuit.

[The parties agree to file a joint motion seeking the court's approval of the Amendment, dismissal of the action with prejudice, incorporation of the Amendment into the order of dismissal, retention by the court of jurisdiction to enforce the order, and to otherwise cooperate as necessary to obtain relief].

         Section 3. No regulatory changes needed. Notwithstanding any references in the Settlement Agreement to possible enactment of new or modified administrative regulations, the Parties agree that the Commonwealth Defendants do not need to enact or modify any administrative regulations to comply with the Settlement Agreement.

[Section 6(b) remains in the text of the Settlement Agreement, as amended, which requires the Commonwealth to initiate the process of modifying any administrative regulations necessary for the Commonwealth to comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement].

         Section 4. No Effect Upon Other Terms of Settlement ...


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