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Court Officially Dismisses 30-Year-Old Mental Health Class Action Suit

The Maricopa County Superior Court officially dismissed the Arnold v. Sarn lawsuit Monday. The class action lawsuit accused the state and Maricopa County of not properly funding a mental health system required by a state statute.

The 30-year-old court case was originally settled in January. The agreement expanded treatment opportunities, job placement services and housing programs to cover all Maricopa County residents with serious mental illnesses.

Anne Ronan is an attorney with the Center for Law and the Public Interest, the organization representing the plaintiffs. She said she’s pleased with the progress she’s seen in the last nine months.

"It’s a large system and it has a brand new provider," Ronan said. "So there may be some bumps as a result of the changeover in the management of the system. But so far, what we’ve seen in the way of Mercy Maricopa’s work on implementation has been according to the agreement."

Monday’s dismissal also means the county will keep the jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.

Carrie Jung Senior Field Correspondent, Education Desk Carrie Jung began her public radio career in Albuquerque, N.M., where she fell in love with the diverse cultural scene and unique political environment of the Southwest. Jung has been heard on KJZZ since 2013 when she served as a regular contributor to the Fronteras Desk from KUNM Albuquerque. She covered several major stories there including New Mexico's Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage and Albuquerque's failed voter initiative to ban late-term abortions. Jung has also contributed stories about environmental and Native American issues to NPR's Morning Edition, PRI's The World, Al Jazeera America, WNYC's The Takeaway, and National Native News. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in marketing, both from Clemson University. When Jung isn't producing content for KJZZ she can usually be found buried beneath mounds of fabric and quilting supplies. She recently co-authored a book, "Sweet And Simple Sewing," with her mother and sister, who are fabric designers.