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Case Name Welsch v. Likins ID-MN-0001
Docket / Court 72-451 ( D. Minn. )
State/Territory Minnesota
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
In 1972, six residents with intellectual disabilities of Minnesota state hospitals filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Minnesota Hospitalization and Commitment Act against the state of Minnesota in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
In 1972, six residents with intellectual disabilities of Minnesota state hospitals filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Minnesota Hospitalization and Commitment Act against the state of Minnesota in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota. The plaintiffs, represented by the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, argued that their rights were being abridged because they were not receiving a minimal level of care and because they were being committed to state institutions rather than being provided care and treatment in less restrictive community alternatives.

On February 15, 1974, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Judge Earl R. Larson) entered a declaratory judgment that held that persons civilly committed for intellectual disabilities have a right under both the U.S. Constitution and the applicable state law to minimally adequate treatment designed to afford each of them a realistic opportunity to be cured or at least to improve upon his or her mental and physical condition. The court also held that these persons have a constitutional right to have the appropriate state officials conduct good faith efforts to place them in the least restrictive conditions consistent with their physical and mental condition. Welsch v. Likins, 373 F.Supp. 487 (D.Minn. 1974).

On October 1, 1974, the district court (Judge Larson) issued an order setting forth the steps that the defendants must take to remedy the conditions at the Cambridge State Hospital. We have no record of this order other than its mention in one of the court's other opinions. The plaintiffs asked the court to award them $5,521.20 in costs (not attorneys' fees) for the litigation. On May 22, 1975, the district court (Judge Larson) granted their request in full. Welsch v. Likins, No. 4-72-Civ. 451, 68 F.R.D. 589 (D.Minn. May 22, 1975). The defendants appealed. On November 17, 1975, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a per curiam opinion affirming the district court's decision. Welsch v. Likins, 525 F.2d 987 (8th Cir. 1975).

On March 30, 1976, the district court entered an order striking certain evidence from the record, and on April 15, 1976, the district court entered an order imposing additional requirements on the Cambridge State Hospital. On July 28, 1976, the district court entered an order enjoining the state from enforcing a state statute that stood in the way of the defendants' compliance with the district court's orders. The defendants appealed those orders. On March 9, 1977, the Eighth Circuit (Judge Jesse Smith Henley) vacated the July 28, 1976 order, but affirmed all the other district court orders. Welsch v. Likins, 550 F.2d 1122 (8th Cir. 1977).

In September 1980, the district court entered a consent decree in the case. The decree was applicable to all eight of the state hospitals with residents having intellectual disabilities, and it dealt with the areas of population control, staffing, behavior management practices, discharge planning, and evacuation. On April 14, 1987, the parties submitted a negotiated settlement to the court on the issue of whether the defendants had substantially complied with the decree. On August 26, 1987, the district court (Judge David Singleton Doty) approved the settlement, which set forth the additional requirements that the defendants must meet before the consent decree could be terminated. Welsch v. Gardebring, 667 F.Supp. 1284 (D.Minn. 1987). We have no further information on the proceedings in this case.

Kristen Sagar - 08/07/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Least restrictive environment
Classification / placement
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Minnesota State Hospitals
Plaintiff Description mentally retarded residents of Minnesota state hospitals
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1980 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Links With an Eye to the Past: State Institutions Documents from Welsch v. Likins
With an Eye to the Past - State Institutions Documents: Welsch Case Documents
Written: Mar. 31, 2013
By: Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Reported Opinion 02/15/1974 (373 F.Supp. 487) (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0030.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment 10/01/1974 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Reported Opinion 05/22/1975 (68 F.R.D. 589) (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0033.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion 11/17/1975 (525 F.2d 987)
ID-MN-0001-0031.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Order 03/30/1976 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment 04/13/1976 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Order 05/19/1976 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Order 07/28/1976 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Reported Opinion 03/09/1977 (550 F.2d 1122)
ID-MN-0001-0032.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Consent Decree 12/01/1977 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Findings of Fact and Recommendations 10/09/1979
ID-MN-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Stipulation Regarding Cambridge State Hospital Consent Decree 06/27/1980
ID-MN-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Memorandum of Understanding 07/12/1980
ID-MN-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Consent Decree 09/15/1980 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Findings of fact and reccomendations 01/31/1981
ID-MN-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Hearing 05/21/1981
ID-MN-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Untitled 12/07/1981
ID-MN-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Order 01/13/1982 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Order 03/23/1982 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Findings of Fact and Recommendations 04/07/1982
ID-MN-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Supplemental findings of fact and reccomendations 05/11/1982
ID-MN-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Order 07/14/1982 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0018.pdf | Detail
Findings of Fact and Recommendations 07/28/1982
ID-MN-0001-0019.pdf | Detail
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order 11/01/1982 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Findings of Fact 06/25/1985
ID-MN-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Memorandum and Order 10/17/1985 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0022.pdf | Detail
Amendment to court monitor's findings of fact and recommendations pursuant to paragraph 95(g) 02/05/1986
ID-MN-0001-0023.pdf | Detail
Major items on Draft Welsch v. Gardebring Settlement Agreement 01/01/1987
ID-MN-0001-0024.pdf | Detail
Important notice regarding possible settlement of case involving persons with mental retardation at regional treatment centers or discharged from them since September 15, 1980 04/14/1987
ID-MN-0001-0025.pdf | Detail
Negotiated Settlement 04/14/1987
ID-MN-0001-0026.pdf | Detail
Order 07/31/1987 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0027.pdf | Detail
Order 08/26/1987 (667 F.Supp. 1284) (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0029.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order 08/25/1989 (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0028.pdf | Detail
Judges Bright, Myron H. (Eighth Circuit)
ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032
Doty, David Singleton (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0027 | ID-MN-0001-0028 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Harper, Roy Winfield (E.D. Mo., W.D. Mo.)
Henley, Jesse Smith (W.D. Ark., Eighth Circuit, E.D. Ark.)
ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032
Larson, Earl Richard (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0001 | ID-MN-0001-0002 | ID-MN-0001-0003 | ID-MN-0001-0004 | ID-MN-0001-0005 | ID-MN-0001-0006 | ID-MN-0001-0010 | ID-MN-0001-0014 | ID-MN-0001-0015 | ID-MN-0001-0018 | ID-MN-0001-0020 | ID-MN-0001-0030 | ID-MN-0001-0033
MacLaughlin, Harry Hunter (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0022 | ID-MN-0001-0025
Webster, William Hedgcock (Eighth Circuit, E.D. Mo.)
Monitors/Masters Cohen, Richard A. (New Hampshire)
Madden, Frank J. (Minnesota)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fargione, Michael R. (Minnesota)
Granquist, Luther A. (Minnesota)
ID-MN-0001-0009 | ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029 | ID-MN-0001-0030 | ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032 | ID-MN-0001-0033
Henry, Anne L. (Minnesota)
ID-MN-0001-0009 | ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Mickenberg, Neil H. (Minnesota)
Siuta, Patricia A. (Minnesota)
Defendant's Lawyers Bellis, Maureen (Minnesota)
ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Fabel, Thomas L. (Minnesota)
ID-MN-0001-0030 | ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032 | ID-MN-0001-0033
Gardebring, Sandra S. (Minnesota)
Held, Alan A. (Minnesota)
Heydinger, Beverly Jones (Minnesota)
ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Humphrey, Hubert H. III (Minnesota)
Jensen, Thomas H. (Minnesota)
Kirwin, John L. (Minnesota)
Kohnstamm, Kenneth (Minnesota)
May, Theodore N. (Minnesota)
Oakes, Judy L. (Minnesota)
Spannaus, Warren R. (Minnesota)
ID-MN-0001-0030 | ID-MN-0001-0032
Young, Ronald C. (Minnesota)
Other Lawyers Amemiya, Ronald Y. (Hawaii)
Blewitt, J. Justin (Pennsylvania)
Choate, Thomas W. (Texas)
Cooper, Jeffrey (Pennsylvania)
Douglas, Paul L. (Nebraska)
Friedman, Paul R. (District of Columbia)
Hill, John L. (Texas)
Janklow, William J. (South Dakota)
Kane, Robert P. (Pennsylvania)
Kendall, David M. Jr. (Texas)
Kurland, Philip B. (Illinois)
McLemore, Brooks (Tennessee)
Polsby, Daniel D. (Illinois)
Shevin, Robert L. (Florida)
Wald, Patricia McGowan (District of Columbia)
Yohalem, Jane Bloom (District of Columbia)

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