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UT 'Waiting List' Suit Goes to Trial

A class action lawsuit against the state of Utah filed by disabled residents over the state's waiting list went to trial last week, with plaintiffs asking U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball to order the state to come up with a plan to get them services "at a reasonable pace." Kimball is expected to rule by the end of February.

Usually cases are settled before going to trial (see xxxx )

The suit, filed in December 2002 by the Salt Lake City-based Disability Law Center, alleges that requiring people with mental retardation or other conditions to wait for support services from the state violates federal law. The waiting list had 448 people in 1990 but now has 1,750, Denton said.

The state denies the allegations and says that developmentally disabled people with the greatest need are served first. Budget limitations make it impossible to eliminate the wait, officials say.

DSPD has a budget of about $167 million and served about 4,250 people last year. ( Source: Judge plans February decision on suit over services for disabled Salt Lake Tribune).