On January 12, 2018, the Disability Law Center (DLC) and the law firm of Parsons Behle & Latimer filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah against the state of Utah, including the Utah Department of Health, the Division of Services for People with Disabilities, and Governor Gary Herbert. The suit asserts that Utah violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C. by operating its service system in a way that unnecessarily segregates individuals with intellectual disabilities in institutions.
Two named plaintiffs and the DLC represent the class in the suit. In Utah, there are over 600 people with intellectual disabilities currently residing in privately owned institutions (often referred to as intermediate care facilities or ICFs). These institutions are large, crowded facilities, lacking privacy and any semblance of a home. Utahns with intellectual disabilities who live in these institutions have no meaningful ability to access services in the community. This lawsuit demands that Utah shows a commitment to de-institutionalization and create an effective working path from an institution to the community.