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 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Virginia Judge Dismisses Arc-VA lawsuit; Olmstead relied on

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by The Arc of Virginia against the State of Virginia challenging a state plan to renovate and resize the Southeastern Virginia Training Center (SEVTC). Judge Robert Payne held that The Arc failed to establish a "case or controversy" ripe for judicial review and, thus, the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The Virginia Office of Protection & Advocacy represented the Arc. The U.S. Department of Justice participated as Amicus ("Friend of the Court") in support of the plaintiffs.

Noting that deinstitutionalization was the plaintiff's central motivation in this case, Judge Payne held that, in this situation, the State has indicated that no one will reside at the new SEVTC who doesn't want to be there.

"Here, there is evidence that shows that many individuals will choose to live in the new facility. In fact, at least 84 of the 155 legal representatives of the current SEVTC residents have made formal pleas to permit their loved one to remain in the new facility rather than be placed in community housing (citation omitted). Thus, the argument made by Arc and the United States regarding the risk of institutionalization fails to account for a key principle in the Olmstead decision: personal choice. And here, where more residents desire to remain in institutional care than the new facility can provide for, there is little to no risk of institutionalization for those whose needs do not require it and who do not desire it."

Click here to read the full decision.