Judge merges 2 Mississippi mental health care suits
A federal judge is ordering that two lawsuits over Mississippi's mental health system be combined.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker Tuesday agreed to a request for the merger by Mississippi state government. A 2010 lawsuit challenges the state's mental health care for children, and the federal government sued earlier this year over mental health care for adults.
The central argument in each challenge is that Mississippi relies too much on psychiatric hospitals and doesn't provide enough care at home or in communities.
The federal government fought the merger, arguing the cases have differing issues.
Parker writes that the cases involve "substantially similar legal claims." He also notes that the federal government has taken part in settlement talks in the children's case, although it hasn't joined as a party.