After two former Beatrice State Home residents died when they were abruptly transported out of the Beatrice State Home, family members sued Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and others in District Court, Gage County, Nebraska, on January 4, 2010.
The cases were filed by Claudie Sires, Omaha, Personal Representative of the Claudia Wright Estate, and Garry Wheeler, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Personal Representative of the Sara Schnell Estate. Each lawsuit asserts Governor Dave Heineman, and others in his administration, violated the civil rights of the two now deceased persons by abruptly removing them from their homes at the Beatrice State Developmental Center.
Damages are claimed for the conscious pain and suffering, emotional distress, and impingements on civil rights sustained by the two deceased persons.
Six other BCDC families sued Governor Heineman and the same officials in US District Court in 2009. Those cases also assert Mr. Heineman, acting under color of Nebraska law, and joined by the other Defendants, violated well established statutory and constitutional rights of the injured persons.
The lawsuits assert the Governor was notified by the US Department of Justice of the State’s failure to maintain suitable standards for BCDC, was given a warning and an opportunity to cure the deficits, but failed to do so.
The newly-filed Complaints may be viewed here: Complaint No. 1;
Complaint No. 2.
The Complaints include an extensive listing of laws violated by the actions of Mr. Heineman and others. They note the rights infringed upon have been recognized by at least two decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Both state and federal laws were allegedly violated.
The federal case is pending before Hon. Richard Kopf, US District Judge. Judge Kopf received initial briefs from the parties but was dissatisfied with them. He ordered the State submit an additional brief, while giving the lawyers for the Plaintiffs’ disabled persons an opportunity to do so if they wish.
Omaha World Herald article: 2 more suits over Beatrice center
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