Messier v. Southbury Training School (2010)
- 2010 – The case was settled favorably for the remaining residents
- 2008 – The Court ruled in the Law Center’s favor
- 1999 – The case was tried for over 100 days
- 1994 – The Law Center brought a lawsuit on behalf of three advocacy organizations, arguing that Southbury violated the residents’ rights by failing to move them into the community.
In 1994, we brought Messier on behalf of a class of 700 Southbury residents and three advocacy organizations – the Arc of Connecticut, Western Connecticut Association for Human Rights (WeCAHR), and People First – arguing that Southbury had violated the residents’ rights by failing to move them into the community. Southbury had long been under court order to fix its horrific conditions, and the lawsuit also asked the court to finally force the defendants to improve the dangerous institution.
Messier was tried for over 100 days in 1999. In 2008, the court ruled in the Law Center’s favor, establishing that the state violated residents’ rights by failing to provide residents who wanted to leave the institution with community placements.
Two years after the decision – sixteen after the case was first filed – Messier settled favorably for the remaining residents. The settlement provided for an independent expert to train the Southbury staff and the residents’ families about available community services, and it requires the state to create new processes to help residents and their families choose between possible living arrangements, based on full knowledge of the available options as well as individualized data about the resident’s needs.