Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1305.13. Initiation of action to compel rights; civil remedy; sovereign immunity barred; defense to action; payment of expenses.

(a) Any interested party shall have the right to initiate an action in the Court to compel the rights afforded persons with intellectual disabilities under this chapter.

(b) Any person shall have the right to a civil remedy in an amount not less than $25 per day from the Director or the District of Columbia, separately or jointly, for each day in which said person at a facility is not provided a program adequate for habilitation and normalization pursuant to the person's individual habilitation plan, unless the District is unable to pay the cost of recommended services because available funds appropriated for the purposes of this chapter are insufficient to pay the costs.

(c) Sovereign immunity shall not bar an action under this section.

(d) The good faith belief that an habilitation program was professionally indicated shall be a defense to an action under subsection (b) of this section, despite the program’s apparent ineffectiveness. In such circumstances, the habilitation program shall be modified to one appropriate for the person within 5 days of a Court’s decision that the program is inappropriate.

(e) Reasonable attorneys’ fees and Court costs shall be available for actions brought under this section.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-137, § 513, 25 DCR 5094; Sept. 26, 1995, D.C. Law 11-52, § 506(x), 42 DCR 3684; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 26(p), 53 DCR 6198; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-169, § 17(rr), 59 DCR 5567; May 5, 2018, D.C. Law 22-93, § 201(c)(42), 65 DCR 2823.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-1973.

1973 Ed., § 6-1693.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “persons with mental retardation” for “mentally retarded persons”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-169 substituted “individual” for “customer” or variants wherever it appears in (b) and (d); and substituted “intellectual disabilities” for “mental retardation” in (a).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4(h) of the Human Services Spending Reduction Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-35, April 11, 1995, 42 DCR 1834) and § 4(h) of the Human Services Spending Reduction Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-104, July 21, 1995, 42 DCR 4014).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 402(k) of the Omnibus Budget Support Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-44, April 28, 1995, 42 DCR 2217) and § 506(x) of the Omnibus Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-124, July 27,

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 505(x) of Multiyear Budget Spending Reduction and Support Temporary Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 10-253, March 23, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 1652).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4(h) of Human Services Spending Reduction Temporary Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 11-29, July 25, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 4002).

Editor's Notes

Section 35 of D.C. Law 19-169 provided that no provision of the act shall impair any right or obligation existing under law.