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Case Name A.W. v. South Carolina Department of Mental Health PB-SC-0006
Docket / Court 2:17-cv-01346 ( D.S.C. )
State/Territory South Carolina
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization Bazelon Center
Case Summary
On May 24, 2017, six patients of South Carolina’s G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital (Bryan Hospital), along with a non-profit corporation that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities - Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc - filed this class action lawsuit in ... read more >
On May 24, 2017, six patients of South Carolina’s G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital (Bryan Hospital), along with a non-profit corporation that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities - Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc - filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. This lawsuit was brought against the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the South Carolina Mental Health Commission, which operated Bryan Hospital. The plaintiffs, represented by the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc, and private counsels, claimed violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. They sought injunctive and declaratory relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.

Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants had a practice of arbitrarily preventing patients the opportunity to discharge from Bryan Hospital despite those patients being stable and capable of integrating with society. Furthermore, the defendants had a practice of isolating these patients, preventing them from contacting family and friends, and charging $503.00 daily for those that did not have access to medical insurance. This case was assigned to Judge Richard Gergel.

On July 27, 2017, the court issued a scheduling order for discovery proceedings. The scheduling was amended twice.

On April 3, 2018, the plaintiffs moved for class certification. The plaintiffs sought the class to be defined as: “All current and future adult, non-forensic residents of G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital (“Bryan”) who, with appropriate supports and services, would now or in the future be able to live in an integrated community setting and who do not oppose living in an integrated community setting.” The parties informed the court that they had begun mediation in July of 2018, but discovery continued during this time.

The court denied the plaintiffs' motion to certify the class on August 21, 2018, and subsequently denied their motion to reconsider the issue on September 7, 2018. Discovery and mediation continued into 2019.

On February 25, 2019, after the death of one of the plaintiffs, his attorneys stipulated to dismissal of the claims only so far as they relate to that plaintiff. Two days later, on February 27, 2019, the attorneys for the defendants submitted a letter informing the court that the mediation had resulted in a successful settlement of the claims. That same day, the court dismissed the case without prejudice for 60 days, giving both parties the opportunity to reopen the action if the settlement was not consummated. The contents of the private settlement agreement were not made publicly available. On March 14, 2019, after stipulation to dismissal, the case was dismissed with prejudice. This case is now closed.

Sean Whetstone - 07/19/2018
Alex Moody - 04/21/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Confinement/isolation
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Discharge & termination plans
Disparate Treatment
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Pattern or Practice
Payment for care
Placement in mental health facilities
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) South Carolina Department of Mental Health
South Carolina Mental Health Commission
Plaintiff Description Six individual, persons with mental disabilities and patients of South Carolina’s G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital (Bryan Hospital), and Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities Inc, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting persons with mental disabilities.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Bazelon Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Filed 05/24/2017
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:17−cv−01346 (D.S.C.)
PB-SC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-SC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 52] (2018 WL 6680941) (D.S.C.)
PB-SC-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal [ECF# 77] (D.S.C.)
PB-SC-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/27/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Gergel, Richard Mark (D.S.C.) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-0002 | PB-SC-0006-0003 | PB-SC-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Eibling, Sarah Theresa (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-9000
Houseal, Sean (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-0001 | PB-SC-0006-9000
Klugman, Maura M (New York) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-9000
Lang, Dana Woodrum (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-0001 | PB-SC-0006-9000
Mansfield, Kathryn Susan (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-0001 | PB-SC-0006-9000
Murphy, Mark J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-9000
Simons, Thornwell (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-0001 | PB-SC-0006-9000
St. Onge, Sarah (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-0001 | PB-SC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Davidson, William Henry II (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-9000
Hughes, Joel Steve (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-9000
Lindemann, Andrew F. (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-SC-0006-9000

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