District Court decision
U.S. Fifth Circuit decision
The Gold Weems Civil Rights Defense Team, led by Steven M. Oxenhandler
and Martha R. Crenshaw
successfully defended St. Mary’s Residential Training School (“St. Mary’s”) at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Louisiana and the U.S. Fifth Circuit against §1983 and other claims asserted on behalf of a developmentally disabled patient and his parents.
In 2014, a former St. Mary’s resident and parents sued St. Mary’s for alleged abuse and neglect during a 3-month period the former resident lived at St. Mary’s. In an important rebuke of the plaintiffs’ claims, the U.S. District Court found St. Mary’s to be a private school and not a state actor, granting summary judgment in favor of St. Mary’s on the §1983 claims. The Court further found that St. Mary’s met its duty of care and dismissed plaintiffs’ claims of neglect and physical abuse. The Plaintiff appealed the District Court decision to the U.S. Fifth Circuit. On January 2, 2018, the U.S. Fifth Circuit affirmed the District Court decision. Both the District Court and U.S. Fifth Circuit decisions are attached below for your review.