University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Seth v. District of Columbia DR-DC-0006
Docket / Court 1:18-cv-01034 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
On May 1, 2018, a D.C. resident with intellectual disabilities civilly committed in a North Carolina federal prison filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the District of Columbia, the D.C. Department of Disability Services (DDS), and the ... read more >
On May 1, 2018, a D.C. resident with intellectual disabilities civilly committed in a North Carolina federal prison filed this suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff sued the District of Columbia, the D.C. Department of Disability Services (DDS), and the director of DDS in his official capacity. The complaint alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and D.C. laws, including the D.C. Human Rights Act (DCHRA) and the Citizens with Intellectual Disabilities Act (CIDA). The plaintiff was represented by American University, Washington College of Law, Disability Rights Law Clinic, the Arc of the United States, and private counsel. He sought declaratory and injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. This case was assigned to Chief Judge Beryl Howell.

The plaintiff alleged that D.C. law entitled him to treatment for his intellectual and developmental disabilities in the D.C. area. Specifically, he claimed that after being arrested and found incompetent prior to standing trial, DDS should have begun civil commitment proceedings in the D.C. Superior Court. This would have allowed him to receive treatment close to his family in D.C. Instead, the plaintiff was placed in a federal prison in North Carolina and a separate petition for federal civil commitment had been filed. The plaintiff claimed that this could lead to his indefinite incarceration in the federal prison system, which would prolong separation from his family.

The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on June 14, 2018 for failure to state a claim. They alleged that the plaintiff was not a qualified individual under the ADA, that he had not allege discrimination on the basis of his disability, and that CIDA did not create a private right of action.

On September 28, 2018, the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the complaint. The court held that under the ADA, the plaintiff failed to show that defendants discriminated against him because of his disability. The court found that the defendants’ decision not to petition the court for him to remain in D.C. was not apparently on the basis of his disability. And, the plaintiff failed to prove that D.C was required to begin commitment proceedings in every case regarding civil commitment for a D.C. resident. Instead, the court held that CIDA provides D.C. with discretion in beginning commitment proceedings. 2018 WL 4682023.

This case is now closed.

Hannah Greenhouse - 10/10/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Commitment procedure
Extradition
Placement in detention facilities
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual/Developmental Disability
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
State law
Defendant(s) D.C. Department of Disability Services
District of Columbia
Plaintiff Description A D.C. resident with intellectual disabilities civilly committed in a federal prison
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2018
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:18-cv-1034 (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-DC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation [ECF# 1-1]
DR-DC-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 28] (2018 WL 4682023) (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/28/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Harvey, G. Michael (D.D.C.) [Magistrate]
DR-DC-0006-0002
Howell, Beryl Alaine (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0006-0003 | DR-DC-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Daniel W.J. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000
DiBianco, Gary (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Dinerstein, Robert D. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Hill, Eve Lynne (Maryland)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Murday, Rebecca Mei (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Salzman, Donald Paul (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Wakschlag, Shira T. (California)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blecher, Matthew Robert (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000
Montee, Amanda (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0006-9000

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