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Historic Settlement Successfully Ends Chick Arnold's
Three-Decade Legal Fight for the Rights of the Mentally Ill

Gov. Jan Brewer applauds Frazer Ryan partner for "unmatched passion and
commitment to improving the lives of people with mental illness"

Chick Arnold interviewed on KAET's Horizon program

   

Chick Arnold discusses the Arnold v. Sarn settlement on KAET's "Horizon"

   

More on the settlement:
E.J. Montini's Arizona Republic column
and a Business Journal article

   

On January 8, 2014, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced that a final agreement had been reached in the Arnold v. Sarn class action lawsuit, which was filed in 1981 by Charles L. "Chick" Arnold on behalf of the seriously mentally ill.

"This is a landmark day for our state," Gov. Brewer said, "particularly for the thousands of Arizonans living with serious mental illness who finally have better access to the quality community-based resources and the care and services they deserve."

She cited Arnold v. Sarn as the catalyst for "a model behavioral health system based on best practices and well established, proven guidelines."

"Much Reason for Optimism"

In her January 13 State of the State address before the Arizona legislature, Gov. Brewer publicly recognized Chick as an "instrumental leader who showed unmatched passion and commitment to improving the lives of people with mental illness." She went on to  "especially commend Charles Arnold and all those involved who worked diligently, collaboratively and in good faith to make this agreement possible."

Chick filed the suit in his then-capacity as the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary. The suit claimed that the State of Arizona failed to fund a comprehensive mental health system as required by state law. In 1989, the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed that the State had indeed violated its statutory duty. Ongoing compliance with the lawsuit has resulted in additional annual state funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the benefit of seriously mentally ill Arizonans in Maricopa County.

In commenting on the settlement, Chick stated, “We in Arizona can now look forward to a renewed focus on those community services most critically needed to assist in recovery: supported housing, supported employment and an enhanced crisis service system. ... Citizens of Arizona now have much reason for optimism."

Devotion to the Mentally Ill

A Certified Specialist in Estate and Trust Law (Arizona Board of Legal Specialization), Chick chairs the Maricopa County Superior Court Task Force on Mental Health Services and is a past chair of the State Bar of Arizona's Elder Law and Mental Health Section.

He authored the State Bar's "Arizona Resource Guide for Families of Persons With Serious Mental Illness" (2001) and co-authored the "Arizona Probate Code Manual" (1999). He is a long-time board member of the Mental Health Association of Maricopa County, PLAN of Arizona, Inc., and Mentally Ill Kids in Distress.