National Center for Youth Law


Connor v. Patrick

This class action lawsuit was filed against the Massachusetts Governor, the Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families in April 2010.  The complaint alleges that Defendants are violating the constitutional rights of foster children by placing them in dangerous and unstable placements after removing them from their families’ care. According to plaintiffs’ complaint, Massachusetts’s foster youth suffer abuse in state-supervised placements at almost four times the national average, and a third of Massachusetts’s foster youth get shuffled between at least five different placements during their time in the foster care system. The complaint also alleges that the state has failed for the last decade to adequately prepare and support families for reunification.



3:10-cv-30073; District of Massachusetts Western Division; April 15, 2010


Sara Michelle Bartosz, Rachel B. Nili, Sarah T. Russo
330 Seventh Avenue, Fourth Floor
New York, New York 10001
Phone: (212) 683-2210
Facsimile: (212) 683-4015

Daniel J. Gleason, Mary K. Ryan, Jonathan D. Persky
Seaport West
155 Seaport Boulevard
Boston, MA 02210-2604
Phone: (617) 439-2000
Facsimile: (617) 310-9000



Plaintiffs, six children who were harmed in Massachusetts’s foster care system, filed this lawsuit in federal court on April 15, 2010.  On that same day, plaintiffs also filed a motion to certify the case as a class action.

·      April 20, 2010—Defendants moved to dismiss the case in its entirety.

·      January 4, 2011—The district court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint.

·      February 28, 2011—The district court certified a statewide class of all children in Massachusetts’s custody as a result of abuse and neglect.

·      November 10, 2011—The U.S. District Judge rejected the defendants’ attempt to decertify the class-action status of the suit.

·      May 18, 2012—The trial date was set for January 21, 2013 (revising the original trial start date of January 7, 2013).

·      January 10, 2013—The court rejected the defendants’ motion for summary judgment

·      April 30, 2013—After the plaintiffs concluded their case-in-chief, the defendants filed a motion for judgment on the record.

·      September 30, 2013—The U.S. District Judge granted the defendants motion for judgment on the record.

·      March 24, 2014—The plaintiffs filed an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

·      December 2014—The First Circuit ruled in favor of defendants.


Last updated: 11/18/2016