Samantha R., et al v. North Carolina, et al, pending in State Court in North Carolina, is systemic litigation designed to address the failure of the State of North Carolina to provide appropriate behavioral health services to citizens with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). The case is being handled by Drinker Biddle, Jerry Hartman, and Disability Rights North Carolina. The lawsuit challenges North Carolina’s failure to have a comprehensive or an effective plan for addressing unnecessary institutionalization and provide adequate alternatives to institutionalization.
Subsequent to over two years of discovery, the Court ruled in January 2020 on cross-motions for summary judgment holding that the defendant, the State of North Carolina, failed to abide by the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision by not integrating into the community disabled individuals with I/DD residing in State institutions. The Court’s Order states that it will ordering the State to draft an Olmstead plan to comply with this integration mandate. The case will now proceed to the remedy phase unless the State appeals.
You can read more about the case in a recent press release from Disability Rights: Press Release Samantha R., et al v. North Carolina, et al.pdf
Children’s Rights, the law firm of Ropes & Gray, and Disability Rights Iowa succeeded after trial in a case, C.P.X. v. Garcia (formerly known as C.P.X. v. Foxhoven and G.R. v. Foxhoven), that was filed in November 2017 on behalf of boys confined to Iowa’s Boys State Training School who have significant mental illnesses. The case was initiated under the auspices of the Foundation's High Impact Project.
The lawsuit asserted that the State, in order to control these boys, age 12 to 19, relied upon potentially harmful psychotropic medications administered without appropriate oversight or consent, solitary confinement, and full-body mechanical restraints, instead of providing proper mental health treatment. Plaintiffs claimed violations of their right to substantive due process, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; their right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, as guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
The trial court in a 116 page decision found that the School violated the boys’ constitutional rights in the manner in which it punished and tortured students. It ordered that the school submit a plan to remedy these constitutional deficiencies in its mental health treatment programs, provide effective psychotherapy and treatment plans, cease the use of solitary confinement/isolation except where the student’s behavior poses a risk of physical harm to any person, not use physical restraints, the so-called “wrap,” and arrange for staff training. The Court further ordered the appointment of a monitor to oversee the school’s performance to ensure that the school meets its rehabilitative and treatment goals. The Court’s decision appears here.