Case: Welsch v. Likins

4:72-cv-00451 | U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota

Filed Date: Aug. 30, 1972

Closed Date: Aug. 26, 1987

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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, 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 inst…

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.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (8/7/2006)

People


Judge(s)

Bright, Myron H. (North Dakota)

Doty, David Singleton (Minnesota)

Harper, Roy Winfield (Missouri)

Henley, Jesse Smith (Missouri)

Larson, Earl Richard (Minnesota)

MacLaughlin, Harry Hunter (Minnesota)

Webster, William Hedgcock (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fargione, Michael R. (Minnesota)

Granquist, Luther A. (Minnesota)

Henry, Anne L. (Minnesota)

Judge(s)

Bright, Myron H. (North Dakota)

Doty, David Singleton (Minnesota)

Harper, Roy Winfield (Missouri)

Henley, Jesse Smith (Missouri)

Larson, Earl Richard (Minnesota)

MacLaughlin, Harry Hunter (Minnesota)

Webster, William Hedgcock (Missouri)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fargione, Michael R. (Minnesota)

Granquist, Luther A. (Minnesota)

Henry, Anne L. (Minnesota)

Mickenberg, Neil H. (Minnesota)

Siuta, Patricia A. (Minnesota)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bellis, Maureen (Minnesota)

Fabel, Thomas L. (Minnesota)

Gardebring, Sandra S. (Minnesota)

Held, Alan A. (Minnesota)

Heydinger, Beverly Jones (Minnesota)

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)

Young, Ronald C. (Minnesota)

Other Attorney(s)

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)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Cohen, Richard A. (New Hampshire)

Madden, Frank J. (Minnesota)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

4:72-cv-00451

Reported Opinion

373 F.Supp. 487

Feb. 15, 1974

Feb. 15, 1974

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Memorandum Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment

Oct. 1, 1974

Oct. 1, 1974

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Reported Opinion

68 F.R.D. 589, 1975 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 12233

May 22, 1975

May 22, 1975

Order/Opinion

75-01550

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

525 F.2d 987

Nov. 17, 1975

Nov. 17, 1975

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Memorandum Order

March 30, 1976

March 30, 1976

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order for Judgment

April 13, 1976

April 13, 1976

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Memorandum Order

May 19, 1976

May 19, 1976

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Memorandum Order

July 28, 1976

July 28, 1976

Order/Opinion

76-01797

76-01473

Reported Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

550 F.2d 1122

March 9, 1977

March 9, 1977

Order/Opinion

4:72-cv-00451

Consent Decree

Welsch v. Dirkswager

Dec. 1, 1977

Dec. 1, 1977

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated June 6, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Minnesota

Case Type(s):

Intellectual Disability (Facility)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 30, 1972

Closing Date: Aug. 26, 1987

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

mentally retarded residents of Minnesota state hospitals

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Minnesota State Hospitals, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 1980 - None

Issues

General:

Classification / placement

Habilitation (training/treatment)

Individualized planning

Disability:

Least restrictive environment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Mental health care, general

Type of Facility:

Government-run