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MEISEL v. KREMENS

August 20, 1975

KENNETH MEISEL, Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
JACK B. KREMENS, M.D., et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HIGGINBOTHAM

 HIGGINBOTHAM, District Judge.

 INTRODUCTION

 In this civil rights action, brought individually and on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, *fn1" plaintiff Kenneth Meisel challenges the constitutionality of a Pennsylvania statute, § 419(b) of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966, 50 P.S. § 4419(b). The statute provides for the summary revocation, by directors of state mental health facilities, of leaves of absence granted to patients in those facilities. The plaintiff seeks declaratory relief, attorneys' fees and costs alleging that the statute, as applied to him and to other members of the class he represents, violated rights secured to them by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Defendants concede that a violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights did in fact occur, Doc. # 14, at 1, and in response to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment tendered an offer of judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 68, a tender which plaintiff rejected. The parties have stipulated to all of the material facts of the action, so the case is ripe for summary judgment.

 For reasons that will hereinafter appear, I have concluded that the application of 50 P.S. § 4419(b) to the instant plaintiff violated rights secured to him by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that said plaintiff is therefore entitled to summary judgment and declaratory relief as a matter of law. In view of this conclusion, I need not, and do not, reach plaintiff's claims that his treatment under this statute also violated rights secured to him by the Fourth Amendment and by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

 BACKGROUND

 On September 6, 1974, counsel for the parties stipulated to, inter alia, the following:

 Jurisdiction and Class Action

 1. Jurisdiction is conferred upon this Court by 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) and § 1343(4), which provides for original jurisdiction in all suits authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for redress of deprivation under color of state law of Constitutional rights, privileges or immunities or of rights under federal law.

 2. Plaintiff's action for declaratory relief is authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and Rule 57 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985 and 1988.

 3. Plaintiff sues on his own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated. The members of the purported class are all persons who are, have been, or may be involuntarily confined in Pennsylvania state mental health facilities after a revocation of leave by the director of the facility pursuant to § 419 of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966, 50 P.S. § 4419.

 Named Plaintiff and Defendants

 4. Plaintiff Kenneth Meisel is twenty-one years of age and is a resident of Delaware County, Pennsylvania and is a citizen of the United States. Meisel is presently involuntarily confined to Haverford State Hospital and has been since about May 31, 1974. He was previously committed to that institution from March 12, 1973 until October 12, 1973, at which time he was released from custody. *fn2"

 5. Defendant Jack B. Kremens, M.D., is Hospital Director of the Haverford State Hospital, Haverford, Pennsylvania and is charged with the administration and supervision of that institution. 50 P.S. §§ 4104 and 4203. He has particular ...


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