Case: Streicher v. Prescott

1:83-cv-03295 | U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Filed Date: Oct. 4, 1990

Closed Date: Feb. 15, 1994

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1983, a number of patients confined to St. Elizabeths Hospital, a public mental health facility, filed a habeas corpus petition in D.C. Superior Court against the United States. The plaintiffs, represented by the Mental Health Law Project and the Public Defender's office, claimed that they had been committed to the hospital upon a showing of mental illness by a preponderance of the evidence--the standard in force at the time of their confinement--but that the Supreme Court had later held tha…

In 1983, a number of patients confined to St. Elizabeths Hospital, a public mental health facility, filed a habeas corpus petition in D.C. Superior Court against the United States. The plaintiffs, represented by the Mental Health Law Project and the Public Defender's office, claimed that they had been committed to the hospital upon a showing of mental illness by a preponderance of the evidence--the standard in force at the time of their confinement--but that the Supreme Court had later held that the constitutionally required standard was by "clear and convincing evidence." The plaintiffs wanted this later-established standard retroactively applied to their confinement.

The United States removed the case to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The District Court (Judge Barrington D. Parker) certified a class consisting of all patients committed to the facility for more than six months. The plaintiffs moved for partial summary judgment with regard to a subclass of patients who had been committed before 1973, under the "preponderance of the evidence" standard. And on May 19, 1987, the District Court (Judge Parker) granted their motion, holding that the subclass's due process rights had been violated, and ordered judicial review of their present commitment status under the prevailing constitutional standards.

On Oct. 1, 1987, responsibility for St. Elizabeths shifted from the federal government to the District of Columbia. The federal district court then substituted the responsible District of Columbia official and transferred the subclass action back to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, directing that each member of the subclass be provided with a commitment hearing. The district court retained jurisdiction over the subclass and required the superior court to file status reports. On March 20, 1992, the federal district court remanded all remaining issues to the Superior Court.

A great majority of the patients received favorable results from their commitment hearings. They then moved under the Equal Access to Justice Act to recover attorneys' fees from the federal government for attorneys' fees incurred during proceedings before the federal district court and before the Superior Court. The district court granted the requested attorneys' fees and the government appealed. On Feb. 15, 1994, the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the government's responsibility to pay fees associated with the action before the federal district court, but determined that it did not have to pay fees associated with the individual commitment hearings before the D.C. Superior Court. 15 F.3d 1126.

Summary Authors

Andrew Junker (11/6/2014)

People


Judge(s)

Green, Joyce Hens (District of Columbia)

Henderson, Karen LeCraft (District of Columbia)

Mikva, Abner Joseph (District of Columbia)

Parker, Barrington Daniels Sr. (District of Columbia)

Williams, Stephen Fain (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Rubenstein, Leonard S. (Virginia)

Turnbull, Albert William (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gondelman, Richard F. (District of Columbia)

Nebeker, William Mark (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Green, Joyce Hens (District of Columbia)

Henderson, Karen LeCraft (District of Columbia)

Mikva, Abner Joseph (District of Columbia)

Parker, Barrington Daniels Sr. (District of Columbia)

Williams, Stephen Fain (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Rubenstein, Leonard S. (Virginia)

Turnbull, Albert William (District of Columbia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Gondelman, Richard F. (District of Columbia)

Nebeker, William Mark (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Streicher v. Dobbs

April 22, 1994 Docket

Memorandum Opinion in Support of Class Action Certification

Streicher v. Dobbs

103 F.R.D. 559

Nov. 7, 1984 Order/Opinion

Memorandum Opinion [Granting Motion for Partial Summary Judgment]

Streicher v. Dobbs

663 F.Supp. 35

May 19, 1987 Order/Opinion
216

Order [Remanding Case]

Streicher v. Dobbs

1992 WL 73508

March 20, 1992 Order/Opinion

DC Cir. Court Opinion rev'g d.ct. on attorney's fees

McDonald v. Washington

U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

15 F.3d 1126

Feb. 15, 1994 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Abandoned But Not Forgotten: The Illegal Confinement of Elderly People in State Psychiatric Institutions

Arlene S. Kanter

Jan. 1, 1991 https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/743646

Docket

Last updated May 13, 2022

ECF Number Description Date Link

SEE PAPER DOCKET IN INACTIVE/CLOSED BOOKS FOR DOCKET ENTRIES (ajr) (Entered: 10/14/1989)

Oct. 14, 1989

CASE REASSIGNED to Chief Judge Aubrey E. Robinson (ajr) (Entered: 03/14/1990)

March 1, 1990

CASE REASSIGNED to Judge Gerhard A. Gesell (ker) (Entered: 03/23/1990)

March 20, 1990

CASE REASSIGNED to Judge Joyce H. Green (mw) (Entered: 10/04/1990)

Oct. 4, 1990

Case Reopened (mw) (Entered: 10/04/1990)

Oct. 4, 1990
211

STATUS REPORT by defendant WILLIAM H. DOBBS (blj) Modified on 03/27/1992 (Entered: 06/21/1991)

June 19, 1991
212

MOTION by plaintiff ALMA STREICHER for status conference (clv) Modified on 03/27/1992 (Entered: 07/10/1991)

June 28, 1991
213

MOTION by plaintiff ALMA STREICHER for status conference (clv) Modified on 03/27/1992 (Entered: 10/29/1991)

Oct. 28, 1991
214

ORDER by Judge Joyce H. Green : status hearing set for 9:15 12/2/91 ; (N) (clv) Modified on 04/03/1992 (Entered: 10/30/1991)

Oct. 28, 1991

STATUS HEARING before Judge Joyce H. Green : reporter: Gordon Slodysko (jaw) (Entered: 12/02/1991)

Dec. 2, 1991
215

STATUS REPORT by defendant WILLIAM H. DOBBS; attachments (clv) Modified on 03/27/1992 (Entered: 12/27/1991)

Dec. 23, 1991
216

ORDER by Judge Joyce H. Green : granting motion of defendant to remand remaining cause of action to the Superior Court for DC, except for attorney fee issues relating to the federal defendants; denying motion of plaintiffs leave to assert supplemental claim; granting motion of plaintiff for supplementary attorneys fees in the sum of $6,156.00 with interest from the date of this order; denying as moot motion of federal defendants for determination of no just reason for delay of entry of final judgment and for entry of final judgment; denying motion of plaintiff for payment of fee award; staying payment of the outstanding portion of Judge Gesell's fee award of 5/14/90 regarding resolution of any appeal taken by federal defendants; that federal defendants shall pay those portions at the earliest possible date or by 5/20/92 which are not appealed (N) (sm) (Entered: 03/27/1992)

March 20, 1992

ORIGINAL FILE and certified copy of docket entries and Order transmitted to Clerk of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia pursuant to order dated 3/20/92 (sm) (Entered: 04/02/1992)

April 2, 1992
217

NOTICE OF APPEAL by defendant WILLIAM H. DOBBS in 1:83 − cv − 03295 from order [216 − 2] entered on: 3/27/92 No fee paid. U.S. Govt. Copies mailed to Leonard S. Rubenstein and Richard Gondelman (sm) (Entered: 05/19/1992)

May 18, 1992

TRANSMITTED PRELIMINARY RECORD on appeal [217 − 1] by WILLIAM H. DOBBS to U.S. Court of Appeals (sm) (Entered: 05/19/1992)

May 19, 1992

USCA # 92 − 5189 assigned for appeal [217 − 1] by WILLIAM H. DOBBS (kk) (Entered: 05/27/1992)

May 26, 1992
218

NOTICE OF CROSS − APPEAL by plaintiff ALMA STREICHER in 1:83 − cv − 03295 from order [216 − 1], [216 − 2] entered on: 3/27/92; No fee paid, in forma pauperis; Copies mailed to W. Mark Nebeker, Richard Gondelman and Leonard S. Rubenstein (kk) Modified on 06/02/1992 (Entered: 06/02/1992)

June 1, 1992

TRANSMITTED PRELIMINARY RECORD on cross − appeal [218 − 1] by ALMA STREICHER to U.S. Court of Appeals (kk) (Entered: 06/02/1992)

June 2, 1992

USCA # 92 − 5209 assigned for appeal [218 − 1] by ALMA STREICHER (kk) (Entered: 06/11/1992)

June 11, 1992
219

CERTIFIED COPY of Judgment filed in USCA dated 2/15/94, on appeal [218 − 1], appeal [217 − 1] , reversing the judgment of USDC ; Opinion USCA # 92 − 5189, 92 − 5209 (mbd) (Entered: 05/06/1994)

April 22, 1994

State / Territory: District of Columbia

Case Type(s):

Mental Health (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 4, 1990

Closing Date: Feb. 15, 1994

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Patients confined to a public mental health facility in the District of Columbia

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (District of Columbia), Federal

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Hospital/Health Department

Case Details

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Order Duration: 1987 - None

Content of Injunction:

Reasonable Accommodation

Reporting

Issues

General:

Commitment procedure

Placement in mental health facilities

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Mental health care, general

Mental health care, unspecified

Type of Facility:

Government-run