We are pleased and proud to announce that Senior United States District Judge Donovan Frank on Thursday granted the parties’ motion to approve the settlement agreement in Murphy, et al. v. Harpstead, a significant federal court civil rights lawsuit brought on behalf of a class of people with disabilities living in group homes. Anthony Ostlund served as co-counsel with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, and its affiliate the Minnesota Disability Law Center, and Nichols Kaster, PLLP in this case. The suit asserts that group home residents have been denied appropriate choice and opportunity to live more independent and integrated lives of their own choosing in the community. With this approval, the parties can start working to carry out the terms of the settlement and improve the lives of many impacted individuals.
Legal Aid tells the story best in this video:
An excerpt from the conclusion of the order gets neatly to the heart of the matter: “Nothing in the Court’s ruling today is meant to minimize the lived experiences of the objectors or any class member. People with disabilities confront stigma and discrimination on a regular basis. It is a shameful part of our country’s past and present. While many issues remain that are separate from this litigation, the Court is hopeful that this Agreement will create positive change. And the Court sincerely hopes that the objectors, Plaintiffs, and others within the disability rights community will continue to advocate for their rights. Ultimately, we will all be judged by how we treat the most vulnerable members of our society.”