Rone v. Fireman

473 F. Supp. 92
Brief Filed: 1/78
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division
Year of Decision: 1979

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 181KB)

Issue

Whether the state had an obligation to treat persons confined to state mental hospitals in the least restrictive setting

Index Topics

Civil Commitment; Mentally Ill and Mentally Retarded (Rights of); Residential Treatment

Facts

This was a class action suit brought on behalf of all present, future and discharged residents of Western Reserve Psychiatric Habilitation Center, a long-term state psychiatric hospital near Cleveland, Ohio. The lawsuit sought to improve conditions at the hospital and to establish that the state had an obligation to treat residents in the least restrictive setting, including an obligation to create the appropriate range of such settings where none exist.

APA's Position

APA submitted an amicus brief arguing that: (1) patients have a right to receive treatment in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their needs since implementation of the right to be free from harm requires the development of less restrictive settings for the treatment of mentally disordered persons; (2) implementation of the right to treatment must include an emphasis on treatment aimed at enabling a hospital patient to successfully return to and remain in the community; (3) defendants had a duty to plaintiffs to provide post-hospital care and services until such time as plaintiffs were able to overcome the regressive effects of the inhumane environment which has existed at WRPHC for years and that defendants should provide post-hospital care and services to all discharged patients as needed to prevent the erosion of therapeutic benefits gained in the hospital; and (4) the court should take an active and vigorous role in correcting any inhumane conditions at WRPHC as well as the inadequate services provided by dependents.

Results

Prior to resolution of this case, the Ohio legislature enacted a patients' rights law. The district court analyzed the evidence in light of the new law and issued numerous orders for compliance with the new law.