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Sutherland Pro Bono Case Reaches U.S. Supreme Court

November 8, 2000

ATLANTA (November 8, 2000) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society attorneys recently worked on a pro bono case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Our clients were successful and the case was remanded, prompting a settlement.

In the matter of L.C. v. Olmstead, the plaintiffs in the case were two mentally disabled women who were patients at Georgia Regional Hospital in DeKalb County. Our clients had histories of hospital placement and should have received outpatient care. In 1995, the women sued the hospital alleging that the hospital kept them at the facility when they should have been discharged into appropriate community treatment. Sutherland lawyers got involved in the case after lawyers for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society had won the case in the trial court and had to defend their win in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The State of Georgia petitioned for certiorari and Sutherland lawyers assisted Atlanta Legal Aid lawyers in eventually obtaining an outstanding result with the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision acknowledged that the unjustified segregation of those with disabilities into institutions is a form of discrimination prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act. That decision was a watershed event in the disability rights movement.

Sutherland attorneys spent 248 pro bono hours on the case and donated the $48,549.77 in legal fees it was awarded in the matter to the Atlanta Legal Aid Society's 2000 Annual Campaign.

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