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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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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
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
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
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
Filed 1972
Case Closing Year 1987
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  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
Date: 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 (373 F.Supp. 487) (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0030.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/15/1974
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/1974
Reported Opinion (68 F.R.D. 589) (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0033.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/22/1975
Source: Google Scholar
Reported Opinion (525 F.2d 987)
ID-MN-0001-0031.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/17/1975
Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/30/1976
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/13/1976
Memorandum Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/19/1976
Memorandum Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/1976
Reported Opinion (550 F.2d 1122)
ID-MN-0001-0032.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/09/1977
Source: Google Scholar
Consent Decree (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/1977
Findings of Fact and Recommendations
ID-MN-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/09/1979
Stipulation Regarding Cambridge State Hospital Consent Decree
ID-MN-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/27/1980
Memorandum of Understanding
ID-MN-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/12/1980
Consent Decree (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/1980
Findings of fact and reccomendations
ID-MN-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/1981
ID-MN-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/21/1981
ID-MN-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/07/1981
Memorandum Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/13/1982
Memorandum Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/23/1982
Findings of Fact and Recommendations
ID-MN-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/1982
Supplemental findings of fact and reccomendations
ID-MN-0001-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/11/1982
Memorandum Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/1982
Findings of Fact and Recommendations
ID-MN-0001-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/28/1982
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/1982
Findings of Fact
ID-MN-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/25/1985
Memorandum and Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/17/1985
Amendment to court monitor's findings of fact and recommendations pursuant to paragraph 95(g)
ID-MN-0001-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/05/1986
Major items on Draft Welsch v. Gardebring Settlement Agreement
ID-MN-0001-0024.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/01/1987
Important notice regarding possible settlement of case involving persons with mental retardation at regional treatment centers or discharged from them since September 15, 1980
ID-MN-0001-0025.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/1987
Negotiated Settlement
ID-MN-0001-0026.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/14/1987
Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0027.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/31/1987
Order (667 F.Supp. 1284) (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0029.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/26/1987
Source: Google Scholar
Order (D. Minn.)
ID-MN-0001-0028.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/25/1989
show all people docs
Judges Bright, Myron H. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032
Doty, David Singleton (D. Minn.) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0027 | ID-MN-0001-0028 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Harper, Roy Winfield (E.D. Mo., W.D. Mo.) show/hide docs
Henley, Jesse Smith (E.D. Ark., W.D. Ark., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032
Larson, Earl Richard (D. Minn.) show/hide docs
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.) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0022 | ID-MN-0001-0025
Webster, William Hedgcock (E.D. Mo., Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Monitors/Masters Cohen, Richard A. (New Hampshire) show/hide docs
Madden, Frank J. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fargione, Michael R. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Granquist, Luther A. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
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) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0009 | ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Mickenberg, Neil H. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Siuta, Patricia A. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Bellis, Maureen (Minnesota) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Fabel, Thomas L. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0030 | ID-MN-0001-0031 | ID-MN-0001-0032 | ID-MN-0001-0033
Gardebring, Sandra S. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Held, Alan A. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Heydinger, Beverly Jones (Minnesota) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0026 | ID-MN-0001-0029
Humphrey, Hubert H. III (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Jensen, Thomas H. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Kirwin, John L. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Kohnstamm, Kenneth (Minnesota) show/hide docs
May, Theodore N. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Oakes, Judy L. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Spannaus, Warren R. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
ID-MN-0001-0030 | ID-MN-0001-0032
Young, Ronald C. (Minnesota) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Amemiya, Ronald Y. (Hawaii) show/hide docs
Blewitt, J. Justin (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Choate, Thomas W. (Texas) show/hide docs
Cooper, Jeffrey (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Douglas, Paul L. (Nebraska) show/hide docs
Friedman, Paul R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Hill, John L. (Texas) show/hide docs
Janklow, William J. (South Dakota) show/hide docs
Kane, Robert P. (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
Kendall, David M. Jr. (Texas) show/hide docs
Kurland, Philip B. (Illinois) show/hide docs
McLemore, Brooks (Tennessee) show/hide docs
Polsby, Daniel D. (Illinois) show/hide docs
Shevin, Robert L. (Florida) show/hide docs
Wald, Patricia McGowan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Yohalem, Jane Bloom (District of Columbia) show/hide docs

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