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Case Name Wilkes v. Lamont ID-CT-0007
Docket / Court 3:20-cv-00594 ( D. Conn. )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This class-action injunctive and habeas case against the State of Connecticut sought release and improved conditions at two inpatient psychiatric facilities. The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction for improved conditions on June 8, and the defendants moved to dismiss the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This class-action injunctive and habeas case against the State of Connecticut sought release and improved conditions at two inpatient psychiatric facilities. The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction for improved conditions on June 8, and the defendants moved to dismiss the case on June 11. The plaintiffs withdrew their motion for preliminary injunction on July 16.


On April 30, 2020, five individuals hospitalized at the Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) and the Whiting Forensic Hospital (WFH) filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut against the State of Connecticut, seeking improved conditions and release because of the threat posed by the COVID pandemic. Represented by the Connecticut Legal Rights Project, the plaintiffs brought this lawsuit as a habeas petition under 28 U.S.C. § 2241, and as an injunctive and declaratory action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. They asserted claims on behalf of all patients admitted or to be admitted by the CVH and WFH during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged failure to timely isolate patients and staff, which resulted in or substantially contributed to infections and outbreaks; they complaint alleged that conditions violated their rights under the Due Process Clause and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiffs sought immediate temporary and conditional release of all patients who could be safely discharged. The plaintiffs also requested implementation of COVID-19 testing and social distancing measures, and appointment of an independent court monitor to enforce court orders. The case was assigned to Judge Janet C. Hall.

On May 7, the complaint was amended, dismissing several defendants.

The plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on June 8. They sought COVID-19 testing protocols in line with CDC standards, improved hygiene and protective equipment, maximum social distancing possible, and clinical review that would allow accelerated discharges. The defendants moved to dismiss the case on June 11, claiming that the plaintiffs failed to exhaust state court remedies.

The defendants opposed the preliminary injunction on July 9, pointing to the low number of positive cases and deaths at the facilities. According to the defendants, as of July 9, the date that a patient at CVH last tested positive for COVID-19
was on May 16, 2020, while the date that a patient at Whiting last tested positive was on April 21, 2020.

The plaintiffs sought continued hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction and a discovery period of 60 days on July 15. A hearing was held on July 16 and the plaintiffs withdrew their motion for preliminary injunction the same day.

The case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 09/07/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Crowding
Crowding / caseload
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Disability
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Bathing and hygiene
Sanitation / living conditions
Medical/Mental Health
COVID-19 Mitigation Requested
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Chief Executive Officer of Connecticut Valley Hospital
Chief Executive Officer of Whiting Forensic Hospital
Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Governor of Connecticut
Plaintiff Description Five individuals at two inpatient psychiatric facilities seeking safe hospitalization conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic The proposed class includes all patients admitted or to be admitted by the Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH) and the Whiting Forensic Hospital (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 04/30/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
3:20-cv-00594 (D. Conn.)
ID-CT-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action of Complaint and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus [ECF# 1]
ID-CT-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/30/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 24, 25 (& 25-1 to 25-19)]
ID-CT-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/08/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 32, 33 (& 33-1 to 33-3)]
ID-CT-0007-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 47, 47-1 & 47-2]
ID-CT-0007-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Objection to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (with Exhibit List and Exhibit A to Exhibit P) [ECF# 49 & 49-1 to 49-17]
ID-CT-0007-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Objection to Motion for Preliminary Injunction Exhibits Q to BB] [ECF# 49-18 to 49-29]
ID-CT-0007-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Hall, Janet C. (D. Conn.) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burnim, Ira Abraham (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0002 | ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Hall, Karyl Lee (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0002 | ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Lowry, Kirk W. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0001 | ID-CT-0007-0002 | ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Mathis, Jennifer (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0002 | ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Murphy, Mark J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0002 | ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Schwartz, Steven J. (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Teixeira, Virginia Martins (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0002 | ID-CT-0007-0004 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Melendez, Emily V. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0003 | ID-CT-0007-0005 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Rutchick, Shawn L. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0003 | ID-CT-0007-0005 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Salton, Henry A. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0003 | ID-CT-0007-0005 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Thurston, Laura D. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0003 | ID-CT-0007-0005 | ID-CT-0007-9000
Tong, William (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0003 | ID-CT-0007-0005
Urban, Ralph E. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
ID-CT-0007-0003 | ID-CT-0007-0005 | ID-CT-0007-9000

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