On September 2, 2022, two individuals and Disability Rights Washington filed a systemic lawsuit against several state officials for the harm they do to people with developmental disabilities at Rainier School. The Rainier School is a large state-run, residential institution in rural Pierce County. It is a dangerous place to live. It has a long history of failing to provide a healthy and safe environment for residents. The mistreatment and neglect within its walls have maimed, hospitalized, and killed residents.

Despite knowing for years that Rainier School is a substandard and dangerous facility, Defendants continued to permit Rainier School to operate, admit, and serve individuals with intellectual, developmental, and psychiatric disabilities who have intensive support needs. This has placed residents at significant risk of harm and resulted in actual ongoing serious harm to the individuals that live there.

This lawsuit argues that the state’s willful failure to keep residents safe and deliver them the services they need violates various Constitutional and statutory rights of the residents of Rainier. To learn more about the harm people suffer, the dangers at Rainier, and the ways all of this violates the law, you can watch this report from King 5 News and review the complaint filed in federal court and linked here.

exterior view of Rainier school, shows old picnic equipment in piles outside.
Image of exterior of Rainier School 

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