- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. (AP) - A parent-guardian group representing residents of an Oklahoma institution for individuals with severe developmental disabilities has dismissed a lawsuit filed nearly two years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the closure of a Pauls Valley facility.

The lawsuit against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services sought to block the closure of the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center. The Oklahoma Commission for Human Services voted for the closure in November 2012 before the commission disbanded, the Oklahoman reports (https://bit.ly/2eg1diC ).

The Human Services Department turned the property over to the state Office of Management and Enterprise Services.

Attorney Jerry Colclazier, who represented the association, said they decided to dismiss the lawsuit because the transfer of property left association members without hope of getting the facility back for developmentally disabled clients.

“It was sad, and we need a facility like that in Oklahoma, but there wasn’t any way that we thought we could legitimately fight the transfer of the property,” Colclazier said.

By the time the parent-guardian group filed the lawsuit in 2014, the Pauls Valley facility had only 10 residnets. Human Services Director Ed Lake said keeping the aging institution open for only 10 residents was “not reasonable or feasible when those same services are available in communities and funded by the state.”

The lawsuit claimed that an estimated 18 former residents unexpectedly passed away after being forced out of the Pauls Valley center. The department said those allegations were false. Colclazier said he believes the claims of the 18 deaths are true.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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