Filed Date: Aug. 30, 1972
Closed Date: Aug. 26, 1987
Clearinghouse coding complete
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 (8/7/2006)
Bright, Myron H. (North Dakota)
Bellis, Maureen (Minnesota)
Amemiya, Ronald Y. (Hawaii)
Blewitt, J. Justin (Pennsylvania)
Choate, Thomas W. (Texas)
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)
Last updated July 6, 2023, 3:14 a.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: Minnesota
Filing Date: Aug. 30, 1972
Closing Date: Aug. 26, 1987
Case Ongoing: No reason to think so
mentally retarded residents of Minnesota state hospitals
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Order Duration: 1980 - None
Type of Facility: