Jackson v. Ft. Stanton, 87cv0839 JFR/KBM
This case was filed in 1987 against the New Mexico Department of Health on behalf of developmentally disabled individuals institutionalized in DOH facilities. After an initial finding that the conditions violated these individuals’ rights under federal law, the parties negotiated various settlement agreements. The most recent settlement agreement was negotiated in 2019. This firm entered its appearance in September 2019. This firm, along with its co-counsel, filed a series of contested motions seeking disengagement of various portions of the 2019 settlement agreement. State Defendants prevailed in disengaging the majority of the remaining requirements. In December 2021, approximately 15 months after this firm entered its appearance, State Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the decades-old lawsuit based upon the lack of ongoing violations of federal law and compliance with the settlement agreement requirements. On April 27, 2022, the federal district court dismissed the lawsuit, 35 years after its initial filing. This firm is proud to have assisted in returning autonomy to the DOH to manage its own developmental disabilities divisions and to free up millions of dollars in funding each year previously spent on litigation to be spent on individuals served by the DOH instead. According to State estimates, the lawsuit cost taxpayers over $80 million dollars in litigation costs during its 35 years; the majority of which went to Plaintiffs’ counsel and court-appointed experts. Additionally, this firm litigated dismissal against attorneys with decades of experience in civil rights litigation as well as several out of state lawyers. This victory is an example of this firm’s expertise is defending government clients in institutional reform cases.