Domina Law Group’s Nebraska neglect and injury lawyers are passionate
advocates for mentally and developmentally disabled persons who have been
abused and mistreated.
Beatrice State Developmental Center
In 2009, Domina Law Group represented multiple plaintiffs who were guardians
of individuals with special needs. The individuals with special needs
were residents at Beatrice State Developmental Center in Nebraska, but
were removed in the middle of the night and taken to other locations without
the knowledge of their family/guardians. The Defendants named in this
case, filed in 2009, were Dave Heineman, Joann Schaefer, M.D., John C.
Wyvill, Ron Stegemann and Clare Mahon.
Domina Law Group contended that the Defendants in this case infringed in
the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs allotted to them in federal
and state law, and sought relief under 42 USC § 3601 and 42 USC §
1983. These particular statutes deal with fair housing and the deprivation
of rights, privileges and immunities.
Federal investigators first uncovered problems at the Beatrice State Developmental
Center (BSDC) in September 2006. At that time, 285 people with serious
disabilities were admitted. After news of the problems broke, BSDC continued
to fail to meet regulatory standards in subsequent years.
The plaintiffs who lived at BSDC were stripped of their constitutional
rights when they were taken from BSDC and transported elsewhere. According
to federal law, any individual with a disability does
not have to "accept an accommodation which such individual chooses not
Eventually, this case was dismissed on the grounds of government immunity.
In other words, even though the government erred, they could not be sued
because they had immunity. While unfortunate, we believe we proved our
point. Improved care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled
Read the full complaint here.
New Hampshire Violates Americans with Disabilities Act
Just this month, Attorney General Joseph Foster announced that the state
of New Hampshire must reform its practices regarding the mentally ill.
This stems from a lawsuit alleging that the state violated the Americans
with Disabilities Act by failing to provide adequate community treatment
options. The plaintiffs alleged that there were not enough less-restrictive
alternatives to mental institutions.
New Hampshire had to agree to improve and expand its community treatment
programs and have that completed by 2017. Some of the improvements that
will be made include more resources to allow for 24/7 service, mobile
teams and more options for housing. Read the entire story about this case on
Nebraska Neglect Attorneys
These two representative cases serve to show that there is an overwhelming
need to reform the way our country treats the mentally ill and developmentally
disabled. States have a duty to uphold federal and state law to ensure
that the mentally ill and disabled are properly cared for and receive
all rights entitled to them by law. Domina Law Group is a staunch advocate
for reform in this area. To learn more about neglect cases such as these
and how we are prepared to act,
contact a Nebraska personal injury lawyer at our firm today.