On April 27, 1999, a Vermont resident who had been diagnosed with mental illness filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq., against the Vermont Department of Developmental and Mental Health Services. The plaintiffs, ...
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On April 27, 1999, a Vermont resident who had been diagnosed with mental illness filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq., against the Vermont Department of Developmental and Mental Health Services. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, brought the suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont, alleging that Vermont's statutes concerning individuals who were civilly committed for mental health reasons violated their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed the State violated their rights to have their treatment wishes, which were expressed in durable powers of attorney, followed when the State medicated them, pursuant to Vermont law, against their will in non-emergency circumstances. The law in question permitted the State to petition for medication of these individuals, even when the individuals refused it and even where such medication would violate the orders in their durable powers of attorney.
On August 2, 1999, Vermont Protection and Advocacy, Inc. moved to intervene as a plaintiff as well. The court (Magistrate Judge Jerome J. Niedermeier) approved that motion on January 11, 2000, and denied the defendants' Motion to Dismiss for lack of jurisdiction the same day.
The court (Judge Niedermeier) entered an order on July 5, 2000, granting class certification to the plaintiffs. The class consisted of individuals within the state of Vermont who had been or in the future would be diagnosed with a mental illness and who either had or would execute a durable power of attorney for health care or had been or in the future would be deterred from executing such an advance directive for health care as a result of the statute.
On October 11, 2001, the court (Judge Niedermeier) issued an opinion regarding both parties' Motions for Summary Judgment. The court found that the Vermont law facially discriminated against the mentally disabled and it rejected the defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment. It granted the plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. The court amended its Order on December 21, 2001. It enjoined the defendants from enforcing aspects of the law that apply to the individuals in the plaintiff class.
On February 6, 2002, the court (Judge Niedermeier) issued an Amended Opinion and Order. The next day, February 7, 2002, the court entered a Judgment against the State of Vermont for the plaintiffs.
The defendants appealed the Judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The court (Judge Jose A. Cabranes) affirmed the District Court's Judgment. Hargrave v. Vermont, 340 F.3d 27 (2d Cir. 2003). The litigation continued through 2004, as the plaintiffs sought an award of attorney fees. In the final entry on the PACER docket, on March 24, 2005, the court (Judge Niedermeier) granted the plaintiffs' motion for attorney fees.Laura Uberti - 07/11/2006
Nick Kabat - 11/27/2014