Gary G. Cooper


THE RESPONDENT, Kenneth Donaldson, was involuntarily civilly committed! as a mental patient' in the Florida State Hospital at Chattahoochee. He remained confined for almost 15 years.' During that time he received little or no psychiatric care or treatment. His confinement was a "simple regime of enforced custodial care, not a program designed to alleviate or cure his supposed illness."' Donaldson, who was not aggressive or belligerent, repeatedly attempted to secure his release, claiming that the defendants unjustifiably continued to confine him despite attempts by responsible parties to have him released to their custody. In February, 1971, Donaldson filed suit under the Civil Rights Act of 18718 against five hospital and state mental health officials, contending' that the fourteenth amendment guaranteed him a right to be treated or released.