On October 14, 2003, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of developmentally disabled adults under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment against the Arkansas Department of Human Services in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of ...
read more >
On October 14, 2003, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of developmentally disabled adults under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment against the Arkansas Department of Human Services in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief and any other appropriate relief. Plaintiffs claimed that their rights had been violated because they were involuntarily committed to and detained in institutions without a hearing. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint when one of the plaintiffs was moved from an institutional setting.
On February 12, 2004, the Court (Judge Susan Webber Wright) granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion to dismiss, granted Family and Friends of Care Facility Residents' motion to intervene, and denied intervenors' motion to redact names of individual plaintiffs. Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiffs' equal protection claims should be dismissed for failure to state a claim, but held that Plaintiffs could proceed with their procedural due process claims.
The Court granted in part and denied in part both Plaintiffs' and Defendants' motions for summary judgment on November 23, 2004. Specifically: the plaintiff who moved from the institutional setting was dismissed as a party to the action; Plaintiffs' equal protection claim was dismissed with prejudice; and, the Court determined that the challenged procedures violated the Due Process Clause because they did not provide adequate post-admission review of the continued need for institutional placement.
On June 9, 2005, the Court adopted Defendants' post-admission review procedures. In light of its holding in the previous opinion, the Court had previously ordered Defendants to submit proposed post-admission review procedures that complied with Due Process requirements. The Court entered final judgment at the same time that it adopted Defendants' procedures.
The Court ordered Defendants to pay over $5,000 in Plaintiffs' attorney's fees and about $2,600 in costs on September 16, 2005.
There were cross-appeals of the Court's final judgment. On August 8th, 2006, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's judgment. Porter v. Knickrehm, 457 F.3d 794 (8th Cir. 2006).Haley Waller - 01/17/2011