General Question

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Should I seek legal counsel?

Asked by peyton_farquhar (3741points) January 6th, 2009

In the wake of my recent suicide attempt, the housing department at my school has decided to evict me on the grounds that I have violated their policies on drug use, assault, and personal care. Not only is this insulting and humiliating, I have reason to believe that it is a violation of my civil rights under something called section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Could anyone with background in this area tell me whether this argument would stand up in court? yes, what I did was serious, I should get help, I’ve heard plenty of it

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16 Answers

peyton_farquhar's avatar

additionally, am I the only one who thinks that their decision is just plain wrong? Is it not morally reprehensible to throw a depressed and emotionally vulnerable person out on the streets?

jholler's avatar

“Although clinical depression is a mental impairment under the ADA, not everyone with clinical depression will qualify for coverage. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled ( Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc. and Albertson’s Inc. v. Kirkinburg) that the determination of whether a person has an ADA “disability” must take into consideration whether the person is substantially limited in performing a major life activity when using a “mitigating measure”. This means that even though clinical depression is a permanent condition, if you are able through medications and therapy to perform major life activities without difficulty you will not meet the ADA’s definition of “disability.””

Most places, suicide attempts are illegal as well, so they’ll probably get you on that. Go get help, and get an apartment.

PupnTaco's avatar

Theraputic counseling > legal counsel. Take care.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Do take into account that you may have signed a housing agreement that would be breached by your actions. I would talk to the housing department first, as well as other administrators, before heading straight for a lawyer. Best of luck.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Fuck me and fuck therapy. I’m not going to be happy knowing that housing is getting away with treating me like shit. There is no justice in that.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

how do you illegalize a suicide attempt?
im so pissed

augustlan's avatar

They must feel that you are a threat to yourself or others, and that could make them legally culpable if they don’t kick you out. Do you have someplace to go? Parents house or something?

jholler's avatar

“how do you illegalize a suicide attempt?”

jholler's avatar

I hate to make light of what others find serious, I really do. As I have explained in other threads, though, people who don’t value their own life shouldn’t expect me to.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

not that I need you to validate my self worth, jholler.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

hi peyton, i don’t know if it’s legal or not, but my college did that to a friend of mine when her roommates (who had her best interests at heart) told administrators that they were worried about her because she was depressed. in fact, they kicked her out of school for a semester, not just university housing. it seems like the opposite of what they should be doing, not to mention wrong but it does seem like a “standard response”, and i (like augustlan) believe they do it just to cover their own asses because it makes them look bad if someone dies at their school. i can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do because i don’t have all the facts that you do. but i would suggest reading through your housing contract thoroughly in conjunction with any law you believe may be applicable, including state laws regarding suicide in your area. after that, perhaps talk to someone supportive about it – maybe your parents or another relative or a friend?

ortise's avatar

Hey Peyton,
If you’re 504rd, you have a significant moat around your castle. However, the power to sap the moorings is something “they” can use by playing the “a threat to yourself or others” card. Don’t wander too far from your 504 protection by giving them one of the few things that trumps it.
Good luck; do you have someone in ED Psych who is compassionate?

tyrantxseries's avatar

drug use policy, “assault”?
All human-rights oriented mental health laws require proof* of the presence of a mental disorder as defined by internationally accepted standards, but the type and severity of disorder that counts can vary in different jurisdictions.
*you would need a Psychiatric assessment

eg of a Housing Agreement:
Cancellation of the Housing Agreement by the University
The Housing Agreement may be cancelled for any of the following reasons:

a) If the guest is in breach of the Housing Agreement, the University may give 24 hours notice in writing to the guest delivered in person or left in assigned room, that the Agreement is terminated. No refund issued.

b) If the guest is requested to leave by the University (Program), the University may give 24 hours notice in writing to the guest delivered in person or left in assigned room, that the Agreement is terminated. The refund will be prorated based upon occupancy less $30 administration fee.

c) If any action or conduct of a guest is a real or perceived danger to the health or physical safety of that guest or any other person in residence, the University may impose sanctions including termination of the Housing Agreement and immediate eviction from residence.

d) When a Housing Agreement is terminated, the guest must completely vacate the assigned room, return all keys and leave residence on or before the termination date. Eviction will include the removal of visiting privileges to the Residences including all common and public areas, for a period determined by the Manager of Retail Operations. An appeal will not halt or delay the termination date.

e) Any person whose Housing Agreement is terminated by the University, will be responsible to the University for any loss in revenue caused by such termination. Other charges and conditions identified in “Cancellation of the Housing Agreement” will be applied in determining any refund.

f) If a guest vacates prior to this termination date, no additional refund is given. Furthermore, by returning the room keys to the Campus Housing, the guest gives permission for the immediate occupancy of the room with no additional refund.

g) Any indebtedness to the University arising out of the guest’s stay in residence will be paid before a refund will be issued. Where the indebtedness exceeds any refund, the guest will pay the balance owing within fourteen (14) days of their withdrawal from residence. Any costs incurred by the University, in collecting any monies owed after this time, will be included in the total amount owed by the guest.

coffeenut's avatar

I agree with Tyrant

wundayatta's avatar

Have you been diagnosed by a psychiatrist?

If you have been diagnosed, it sounds to me like you don’t accept the diagnosis, or the treatment.

I haven’t been where you are, because I am a milder case, but my group contains a lot of people who have been where you are, and they all say, over and over, that taking their meds and getting therapy is the best thing they ever did for themselves. By the way, this is a group with a very large number of suicide attempts. Oh, another thing. It is estimated that as many as fifteen percent of people with our condition die by their own hand. If you’re as smart as most people with my condition are, that will scare the shit out of you (while also being attractive, I hate to say).

The pain can be overwhelming, and that’s what makes us think of it, or try it. I dunno about you, but I didn’t really want to die. I just wanted the pain to go away. I just wanted to feel loved. I thought there was no other option for the first, and no possibility of the second. They tell me a chemical imbalance in my brain made me think that. I took my meds and I’m in therapy, and I am doing much better now.

Again, if you haven’t already done so, get a psychiatric evaluation. If they suggest or have already suggested drugs and therapy, I don’t think you’ll regret it if you do it and stick with it.

elijah's avatar

Maybe they are thinking about the other students who live there. I know it seems rediculous to you, but if you try again, and succeed, the others who live there and whomever may find your body will be affected. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I take medication every day because of depression. But I feel that suicide is very selfish because it affects so many other people. Maybe if you prove you are serious about getting help they will let you stay. To say that people shouldn’t react to a problem that you yourself set in motion is a little rediculous. Every action has repercussions. I’m sorry you have problems right now. Try to remember things can get better if your not afraid to accept help.

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