ADA and Olmstead Resources

Background of Olmstead

Since June 1999, the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C. has increased community participation and independence of people with disabilities and older Americans who are moving out of nursing homes and other institutions and back into the community.

Lois Curtis and Elaine Wilson, two women with disabilities living in Georgia nursing homes, asked state officials to allow them to move into their own homes in the community. After the State refused, Atlanta Legal Aid attorney Susan Jamieson filed a lawsuit on their behalf. After appeals, the case was heard by the U. S. Supreme Court. On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities.

In the words of the Supreme Court, services to persons with disabilities must be provided “in the most integrated setting possible.” The Court ruled that there should be community options for Curtis and Wilson.


The following resources provide a historical context and an update on  implementation and activities that are underway to expand home and community options and make community living more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Index of Resources

ADA and Olmstead Decision

Olmstead Decision Legal Analysis

Olmstead Enforcement and Implementation

Olmstead Cases

  • DOJ Findings Letter to South Dakota
    May 2, 2016 - The U.S. sent its findings to the state notifying it of violations of the ADA and Olmstead v. L.C. due to its failure to deliver services to people with disabilities in the most integrated settings appropriate.
  • United States v. Florida – 1:12-cv-60460 – (S.D. Fla.)
    April 7, 2016 - The U.S. filed an Opposition to the State of Florida’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. In the Motion, the State had asked the Court to rule, on a variety of grounds, that the United States could not recover damages for unnecessarily institutionalized children to whom the State had been deliberately indifferent.
  • Lane v. Brown (formerly Lane v. Kitzhaber) – 12-CV-00138 – (D. Or. 2012)
    September 8, 2015 - The U.S. entered into a settlement agreement with the State of Oregon to vindicate the civil rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who are unnecessarily segregated in sheltered workshops, or at risk of such unnecessary segregation.
  • Justice Department Reaches Proposed ADA Settlement Agreement On Oregon's Developmental Disabilities System]
    September 8, 2015 - The U.S. Justice Department, along with private plaintiffs, announced that it has entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the state of Oregon that will resolve violations of the ADA and will impact approximately 7,000 Oregonians with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who can and want to work in typical employment settings in the community.
  • Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support [Word, 21 pages] [ PDF, 21 pages]
    July 15, 2015 - The U.S. sent its findings to the State of Georgia stating that the State’s administration of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program violates Title II of the ADA by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers in school. The State fails to ensure that students with behavior-related disabilities receive services and supports that could enable them to remain in, or return to, the most integrated educational placements appropriate to their needs.
  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources [Word, 30 pages] [ PDF, 30 pages]
     June 1, 2015 - The U.S. sent its findings to the state stating it violates the ADA and Olmstead v. L.C. by failing to deliver mental health services to children who rely on publicly funded care in the most integrated settings appropriate. Children in West Virginia experience high levels of institutionalization per capita and are unable to access mental health services in their homes and communities.
  • Maertz v. Minott - 1:13-cv-957-JMS-MJD (S.D. In. 2015) [Word, 19 pages] [ PDF, 19 pages]
    March 27, 2015 - The U.S. filed a Statement of Interest in opposition to the State of Indiana’s argument that serious risk of institutionalization or segregation is not a viable claim under the ADA. In Maertz, Plaintiffs with developmental disabilities provided evidence that the State of Indiana harmed their health by drastically reducing their home and community-based Medicaid services, placing them at serious risk of institutionalization.

Olmstead Resources from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Anniversary Reflections of Olmstead