On December 20, 2002, individuals with mental illnesses confined at the Center for Forensic Services (CFS) at Western State Hospital (WSH) filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act against various hospital and state officials in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. Plaintiffs, represented by Disability Rights Washington, asked the court for injunctive relief to protect them from harm. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that Defendants had denied them minimally adequate treatment, and psychiatric, medical, and dental care.
On February 2, 2001, the Court (Judge Robert J. Bryan) issued an agreed order for class certification. The class consisted of: all individuals (1) who currently are residents of the Center for Forensic Services at Western State Hospital and (2) who will be committed to the Center for Forensic Services at Western State Hospital in the future.
On April 31, 2001, the Court issued an order detailing Plaintiffs' relief. Defendants were required to provide the class with, among other things: (1) constitutionally minimally adequate protection from harm and adequate and timely dental and medical care; (2) freedom from unnecessary restraint; (3) adequate discharge planning; (4) privacy; and, (5) services, care, and treatment in the most integrated setting. The parties were to establish a Monitoring Committee to oversee the implementation of the order. Defendants were to bear the costs and fees of the Monitoring Committee, and would reimburse Plaintiffs for reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.
The Court approved the parties' partial settlement [described above] on May 25, 2001.
The Court granted a preliminary injunction on July 9, 2001. The parties had previously reached partial settlement, resolving a majority of the issues. The remaining issues involve the provision of minimally adequate treatment and the adequacy of staff to provide that treatment. The Court found that Defendants' newly implemented "active treatment program" failed to meet the constitutional minimal standard because it was not meaningfully individualized and not provided to all members of the class. Thus, the Court found that a preliminary injunction was necessary because Plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits and had raised serious questions about the constitutional adequacy of Defendants' program. Further, the Court found that staff levels were inadequate to require the required care.
On August 14, 2001, the Court granted the parties' joint motion for approval and issued an order requiring Defendants to timely commence implementation of the provisions of the order. Among other things, the Order provided for: establishment and oversight of a monitoring committee; dispute resolution and enforcement; class notice; and, attorneys' fees and costs.
The Court (Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold) issued a Report and Recommendation on September 10, 2001 recommending that the Court approved the parties' proposed order approving the settlement agreement. The Court approved the parties' settlement agreement on September 28, 2001.
The Court issued a release and stipulated order dismissing Plaintiffs' petitions for attorneys' fees on October 17, 2002. Defendants agreed to pay more than $500,000 in attorneys' fees and costs, and Plaintiffs released any additional claims for attorneys' expenses.
The Court issued an amended order based on the monitoring committee's report on November 19, 2004.
The case has been closed, and there has been no additional litigation.Haley Waller - 05/11/2011