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Landmark Cases

Case Name: OLMSTEAD v. L. C.

by Jonathan ZIMRING, guardian ad litem and next friend, et al.

Date, Location, Cite: 1999 GA
119S. Ct. 2176
US SUPREME COURT

L.C. and E.W. are retarded women at GA Regional Hospital in Atlanta (GRH) Their treatment teams decided they were ready to go to community programs, but they stayed in GRH. They sued, saying discrimination under ADA kept them there. The District Ct. agreed, saying "unnecessary institutional segregation constitutes segregation per se, [and] cannot be justified by lack of funding." The 11th Circuit waffled, and the Supreme Ct did even more, finally saying firmly that movement to the community MUST be done, "taking into account the resources available to the states and the needs of others with mental illness."
My editorial comment is that the Higher Courts keep backing away from forcing the States to adequately fund mental health... this is the same as Wyatt and O'Connor, where the Supreme would NOT say the committed have a RIGHT to treatment, as they certainly do. SO they remain 2nd class citizens, in spite of this hollow 'victory.'