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WILDER v. CITY OF NEW YORK

August 9, 1983

RONALD WILDER, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, ET AL, Defendants.


McLAUGHLIN


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCLAUGHLIN

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

McLAUGHLIN, District Judge

 This is an action for damages brought against the City of New York and its Department of Social Services (the "City") for failure to provide plaintiff, Ronald Wilder, with adequate psychiatric care. In addition to alleging violations of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794 ("§ 504") and Section 408 of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 608 ("§ 408"), Mr. Wilder has filed a claim under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 for an alleged violation of his rights under the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. *fn1" The City has moved for dismissal of the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), (6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. Because the parties have submitted materials outside the pleadings, I will treat the motion as one for summary judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) & 56.

 FACTS

 Mr. Wilder is an emotionally disturbed adult who was born in September, 1961. He was orphaned at the age of five when his father killed his mother and then committed suicide. The traumatic effect of this incident, which occurred in Mr. Wilder's presence, is apparently the cause of his psychological problems.

 In 1967, Mr. Wilder came into the custody of the City's foster care system. He was placed in various foster homes until 1975, when the City determined that he required a more structured environment. At that point, he was transferred to the St. Christopher's School, which provides services for emotionally disabled children. While at St. Christopher's, Mr. Wilder was twice hospitalized as a result of violent behavior. He was subsequently transferred from St. Christopher's to several different care facilities and psychiatric hospitals.

 At age 21, he is now a patient at the Manhattan State Psychiatric Hospital. Mr. Wilder contends that throughout the long period he was in the custody of City foster care facilities, he was denied adequate psychiatric treatment and rehabilitation. He argues that rather than provide him with counselling and therapy, the foster care facilities chose to curb his periodically violent behavior by routinely administering debilitating psychotropic drugs.

 Mr. Wilder contends that the City discriminated against him on the basis of his psychological handicap. He alleges that the City's failure to provide psychiatric therapy rendered it impossible for him to participate in other services routinely afforded to non-distrurbed foster children such as education and vocational training. Mr. Wilder argues, moreover, that his trauma-induced mental instability has been exacerbated by the City's neglect to the point where he cannot function in society.

 The City answers that Mr. Wilder's various placements and method of treatment were the result of professional psychiatric evaluation and were commensurate with available resources.

 JURISDICTION

 Although the City makes a perfunctory challenge to the Court's subject-matter jurisdiction it offers no support in its brief for that challenge. Because plaintiff alleges violations of federal statutes, and asserts a colorable claim under the Constitution, I find that the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction.

 THE STATUTORY CLAIMS

 The City challenges Mr. Wilder's statutory claims on two grounds. It argues that: (1) private claims for damages are not cognizable under either § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or § 408 of the Social Security Act, and (2) even if those statutes do ...


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