‘We Were The Catalyst’: How Atlanta Legal Aid Launched a Landmark SCOTUS Ruling

The U.S. Supreme Court's Olmstead opinion, which held that the “unjustified isolation” of people with disabilities in institutions is a form of discrimination, turns 20 years old this year.

News Story (Georgia, NATIONAL)

R. Robin McDonald
Law.com
August 13, 2019
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Tags: Disability Rights

Organizations mentioned/involved: Atlanta Legal Aid Society


DETAILS

When Legal Aid lawyer Sue Jamison first began representing the woman who would become the lead plaintiff in Olmstead v. L.C and E.W., Lois Curtis was housed at a state psychiatric hospital in Atlanta. She was developmentally disabled and diagnosed with schizophrenia, but the medical professionals treating her had determined that, while she needed community residential services, involuntary hospitalization was no longer warranted.

Jamison set out to secure Curtis’ release from Georgia Regional Hospital and compel the state  to provide residential living in a community setting with the support Curtis needed.

Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the findings of a federal trial judge in Atlanta and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, holding that the “unjustified isolation” of people with disabilities in institutions is a form of discrimination.