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Local News in Brief : Court to Review Ruling on Clinics

The 2nd District Court of Appeal has agreed to review a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling that bars county officials from closing eight mental health outpatient clinics and curtailing services at five other psychiatric centers, county lawyers said Monday.

Mary F. Wawro, senior assistant county counsel, said the appeals court has scheduled a Dec. 21 hearing on the county’s effort to overturn a preliminary injunction issued by Superior Court Judge Barnet M. Cooperman.

Last August, Cooperman blocked county plans to close the outpatient clinics as part of an $18-million cut in mental health programs. County officials said they did not have enough state dollars to keep the clinics open. About 20,000 patients would be affected if the clinics are closed.

Public interest law firms representing mental health patients persuaded the judge to halt the move until a trial can be held to determine whether the closures will unduly harm indigent patients.

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