University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Preston v. Gutierrez MH-MO-0002
Docket / Court 90-6029 ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Mental Health (Facility)
Case Summary
On March 12, 1990, a patient at Fulton State Hospital (Fulton) filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Fulton and the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Jefferson City Division. The plaintiff, represented by ... read more >
On March 12, 1990, a patient at Fulton State Hospital (Fulton) filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Fulton and the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Jefferson City Division. The plaintiff, represented by Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services, asked the court for release and back-pay of Social Security benefits, alleging that various conditions of confinement at Fulton were unconstitutional and that the defendants withheld his Social Security payments.

Originally, on December 23, 1985, the plaintiff was committed to DMH after he pleaded not guilty by reason of mental defect to a charge of burglary in the second degree and stealing over $150.

In the case at hand, on May 2, 1990, the District Court (Judge Howard F. Sachs) severed and dismissed the claim for unconditional release from the suit. And, on October 10, 1990, the Court held that Social Security payments were not recoverable from the named defendants.

On September 24, 1991, the plaintiff filed a supplemental complaint, asking the court for injunctive and declaratory relief as well as damages for past and continued administration of psychotropic medication to him without his consent. Specifically, in his supplemental complaint, the plaintiff contended that the defendants violated his procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, and sought injunctive relief requiring the defendants to adopt and follow new policies and procedures for administering psychoactive medications.

On July 23, 1993, the District Court (Judge Howard F. Sachs) granted in part and denied in part the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment. Preston v. Gutierrez, No. 90-6029-CV-SJ-6, 1993 WL 280819 (W.D. Mo. July 23, 1993). The Court granted limited declaratory relief, holding that the DMH's policy of involuntarily administering psychotropic drugs for treatment of involuntary mental patients violated the Due Process Clause insofar as a finding of "danger to self or others" was not required, but held injunctive relief would be premature.

Subsequently, there was significant litigation respecting discovery. On May 22, 1995, the District Court (Judge Sachs) ordered the plaintiff to show cause why the action should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. After the plaintiff showed cause, the Court granted significant additional discovery time.

On April 25, 1996, the District Court (Judge Sachs) granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment and terminated the case. And, on June 25, 1996, the Court struck the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. And, on February 13, 1997, the Court dismissed a number of the plaintiff's subsequent notices and motions as moot. The plaintiff appealed.

On March 23, 1999, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as having been untimely filed.

We have no more information on this file.

Josh Altman - 06/29/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Confinement/isolation
Informed consent/involuntary medication
Medical/Mental Health
Medication, administration of
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Fulton State Hospital
Plaintiff Description Male committed to the Missouri Department of Mental Health challenging the constitutionality of various conditions of his confinement at Fulton State Hospital and alleging that the defendants unconstitutionally withheld Social Security payments
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
90-6029 (W.D. Mo.) 03/23/1999
MH-MO-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Memorandum and Order 07/23/1993 (1993 WL 280819 / 1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 10339) (W.D. Mo.)
MH-MO-0002-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Sachs, Howard Frederic (W.D. Mo.)
MH-MO-0002-0001 | MH-MO-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chakes, Kenneth M. (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-0001 | MH-MO-0002-9000
Finkelstein, Michael H. (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-9000
Murray, John Thomas (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-0001 | MH-MO-0002-9000
Thompson, Kevin A. (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Doughty, June Striegel (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-9000
Marshall, Hugh (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-9000
Webster, William L. (Missouri)
MH-MO-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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