Supreme Court Rules in Favor of P&A in VA to Investigate Abuse and Neglect in State Hospitals

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case concerning the Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy’s (VOPA) right to access records while investigating injuries and deaths of individuals with disabilities residing at state hospitals. VOPA is one of only a handful of P&As that are located within state government (the others are CT, NY, KY, IN, OH, ND, AL, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). When access to the client’s records was denied, VOPA filed a lawsuit against the state agency responsible for the state hospitals. Virginia state officials claimed that the suit was inappropriate because one state agency could not sue another state agency. The Supreme Court ruled that if the governor of a state chooses a state agency to provide protection and advocacy services to its citizens with disabilities, it must have authority to litigate and freedom from the control of other state agencies or officers. To read the court’s decision, go to:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/09-529.pdf
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