Disability News Service, Resources, Diversity, Americans with Disabilities Act; Local and National.

Monday, June 19, 2017

18th Anniversary of 1999 Olmstead Supreme Court Decision, June 22, 2017

June 22, 2017 is the 18th Anniversary of the 1999 Olmstead U.S. Supreme Court decision. The fight to realize the intent of the the Olmstead decision continues for people living in Intermediate Care Facilities for people with Developmental Disabilities, people living in Institutes for Mental Diseases, and people living in Nursing Homes, to live in communities throughout the country. 

The following information is a privilege to share this important part of ADA History. 

YouTube Published by OlmsteadRights YouTube
This is the story of Olmstead v. LC and the unfinished changes it began. Olmstead is the most important U.S. Supreme Court decision for people with disabilities. It holds that people with disabilities have a right in most instances to live in community rather than institutions. This video tells the story of how the Atlanta Legal Aid Society with support from ADAPT and other disability organizations litigated the case. It then tells the story of what happened after the decision and the real changes that began to happen after United States Justice Department embraced Olmstead

The ADA National Network has a dedicated webpage on Olmstead. The information below is just part of the great information available.

ADA and Olmstead Resources

Background of Olmstead

Since July 1999, the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C.has increased community participation and independence of people with disabilities and older Americans who are moving out of nursing homes and other institutions and back into the community.
Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, two women with disabilities living in Georgia nursing homes, asked state officials to allow them to move into their own homes in the community. After the State refused, Atlanta Legal Aid attorney Susan Jamieson filed a lawsuit on their behalf. After appeals, the case was heard by the U. S. Supreme Court. In July 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities. In the words of the Supreme Court, services to persons with disabilities must be provided “in the most integrated setting possible.” The Court ruled that there should be community options for Curtis and Wilson.


The following resources provide a historical context and an update on current implementation and activities that are underway to expand home and community options and make community living more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Index of Resources

Olmstead Decision Legal Analysis

Olmstead Enforcement and Implementation

What's New - Olmstead

  • DOJ Findings Letter to South Dakota
    On May 2, 2016, the United States sent its findings to the state notifying it of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. due to its failure to deliver services to people with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate.
  • United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.)
    On April 7, 2016, the United States filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent.
  • Lane v. Brown (formerly Lane v. Kitzhaber) – 12-CV-00138 – (D. Or. 2012)
    On September 8, 2015, the United States entered into a settlement agreement with the State of Oregon to vindicate the civil rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops, or at risk of such unnecessary segregation.
  • Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support [Word, 21 pages] [PDF, 21 pages
    On July 15, 2015, the United States sent its findings to the State of Georgia stating that the State’s administration of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers in school. The State fails to ensure that students with behavior-related disabilities receive services and supports that could enable them to remain in, or return to, the most integrated educational placements appropriate to their needs.
    (ada.gov/olmstead/documents/gnets_lof.doc; ada.gov/olmstead/documents/gnets_lof.pdf)
  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources [Word, 30 pages] [ PDF, 30 pages]
    On June 1, 2015, the United States sent its findings to the state stating it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Olmstead v. L.C. by failing to deliver mental health services to children who rely on publicly funded care in the most integrated settings appropriate. Children in West Virginia experience high levels of institutionalization per capita and are unable to access mental health services in their homes and communities.
    (ada.gov/olmstead/documents/west_va_findings_ltr.docx; ada.gov/olmstead/documents/west_va_findings_ltr.pdf)
  • Maertz v. Minott - 1:13-cv-957-JMS-MJD (S.D. In. 2015) [Word, 19 pages] [PDF, 19 pages
    On March 27, 2015, the United States filed a Statement of Interest in opposition to the State of Indiana’s argument that serious risk of institutionalization or segregation is not a viable claim under the ADA. In Maertz, Plaintiffs with developmental disabilities provided evidence that the State of Indiana harmed their health by drastically reducing their home and community-based Medicaid services, placing them at serious risk of institutionalization. 
    (ada.gov/olmstead/documents/maertz_soi.docx; ada.gov/olmstead/documents/maertz_soi.pdf)
  • Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement On Oregon's Developmental Disabilities System]
    September 8, 2015 - The U.S. Justice Department announced today, along with private plaintiffs, that it has entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the state of Oregon that will resolve violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community.

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