University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Hunt v. Meszaros ID-MD-0002
Docket / Court 91-2564 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Attorney Organization Bazelon Center
Case Summary
On September 6, 1991, Mary Hunt, a resident of the Great Oaks Center for developmentally disabled persons in Silver Springs, Maryland, filed a class-action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against the State of Maryland, the administrator of ... read more >
On September 6, 1991, Mary Hunt, a resident of the Great Oaks Center for developmentally disabled persons in Silver Springs, Maryland, filed a class-action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against the State of Maryland, the administrator of Great Oaks Center, and both the Secretary and Director of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The plaintiffs, including all persons then or who may in the future be confined at Great Oaks Center, were represented by counsel from the Maryland Disability Law Center, the Mental Health Law Project, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, in addition to private firms. They asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that they had been subjected to hazardous unconstitutional conditions while in state custody at Great Oaks Center.

Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that they had been subjected to injury, abuse, neglect, and unnecessary physical restraints, as well as having been denied medical care and rehabilitative training and services. Several plaintiffs complained of injuries sustained as a result of Great Oaks personnel's failure to properly monitor the patients. Several residents died from lack of supervision as the center lacked treatment and training programs to deal with residents' aggressive and self-abusive behavior.

After two years of motions by both parties to extend time for answers, discovery orders and oppositions to class certification, the case was reassigned from Judge Joseph C. Howard to Judge Peter J. Messitte on November 15, 1993. On July 18, 1994 the Court (Judge Messitte) advised counsel that a settlement hearing would take place on September 8, 1994. The case was then referred to Magistrate Judge James E. Kenkel. Correspondence from the plaintiff's counsel indicated that the plaintiff was willing to withdraw from the Motion for Class Certification in 1995, and the case was referred to Magistrate Judge Catherine C. Blake, who entered an order permitting the plaintiffs' experts to tour the institutions upon reasonable notice on June 12, 1995. The United States entered an amicus brief on May 17, 1996 in support of the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment and in opposition to the defendants' motion for summary judgment.

On March 25, 1999, after a stipulation of dismissal and approval signed by Judge Catherine C. Blake, the case was closed. A notice of appeal was filed on April 22, 1999 by the plaintiffs and on June 11, 2001, the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for a wrt of certiorari.

We have no more information on this file.

Stacey Jensen - 06/25/2006


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
General
Aggressive behavior
Assault/abuse by staff
Neglect by staff
Restraints : physical
Medical/Mental Health
Dementia
Medical care, general
Mental Disability
Cerebral palsy
Developmental disability without intellectual disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Great Oaks Center
Maryland
Plaintiff Description All persons presently or who may in the future be confined at Great Oaks Center for developmentally disabled persons in Silver Spring, Maryland
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Bazelon Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1999
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
91-2564 (D. Md.) 06/11/2001
ID-MD-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Complaint 01/01/1991
ID-MD-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Judges Blake, Catherine C. (D. Md.) [Magistrate]
ID-MD-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burnim, Ira Abraham (District of Columbia)
ID-MD-0002-0001 | ID-MD-0002-9000
Burrell, Robin (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Freedman, Lawrence R. (District of Columbia)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Goering, Susan (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-0001
Lipps, Andrew L. (District of Columbia)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Ney, Steven (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-0001 | ID-MD-0002-9000
O'Connell, Maureen (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-0001 | ID-MD-0002-9000
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
ID-MD-0002-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Curran, John Joseph Jr. (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Dove, Maureen Mullen (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Messerschmidt, Carole Jean (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Morse, Kathleen A. (Colorado)
ID-MD-0002-9000
O'Brien, Daniel J. Jr. (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Paulus, Timothy J. (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Adams, George P. (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Lucas, Benjamin F. II (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Sherman, William F. (Arkansas)
ID-MD-0002-9000
Shuham, Martin J. (Maryland)
ID-MD-0002-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -