After over five years of discovery, negotiation, and preparation, the Steward trial took place over five weeks at the end of 2018. Along with our partners at Disability Rights Texas, the Department of Justice, and Sidley, we presented testimony from 17 experts and 10 individuals, family members, or providers.
The Court heard that over 3,600 people with disabilities are warehoused in nursing facilities in Texas – the worst in the nation — where they are isolated from the community and denied the basic services they need to gain independence and avoid unnecessary pain, suffering, and regression of skills.
The Court heard that many people desperately want to return to the community yet are stuck in segregated nursing facilities and that others — who have been institutionalized so long they no longer remember the community — are denied the information and experiences they need to understand their options and make a meaningful choice.
The overwhelming testimony presented by experts about the systemic failures of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the ongoing violations of federal law, was punctuated by heart wrenching stories about the lives of some of the thousands of people at stake in this case.
The Court heard about individuals suffering from unnecessary wounds, falls, contractures, and fractures – about people who have been confined to their beds for months without wheelchairs, who are forced to use diapers, or who never have the opportunity to spend time outside of the nursing facility. Experts spoke about the loss of skills and isolation caused by unnecessary segregation and lack of needed services. Family members and advocates testified about their struggles to obtain even the most basic services and heroic efforts to transition individuals to the community.
To read more about the stories of the plaintiffs, the history of the case, and to read key filings click here.