that position. The complaints seek relief for all hearing impaired New Yorkers, far beyond the needs of Mr. Boardman. The Attorney General brought this suit "to safeguard the health and welfare of the State's residents" and "to prevent discrimination in places of public accommodation . . . ." Complaint at 2. On a motion to dismiss, I must accept as true plaintiff's assertion that it seeks relief for a broad category of its citizens and not just for Mr. Boardman.
State attorneys general have successfully bought many such suits in parens patriae. In a comparable case, New York's "profound interest" in protecting possible future victims as well as the specified complainants from racial steering in housing and sexual harassment gave it parens patriae standing. New York v. Merlino, No. 88 Civ. 3133 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 18, 1990). New York's parens patriae standing has also been upheld when New York clearly declared its interest in nondiscriminatory treatment of its citizens generally as well as particular individuals excluded from a beach club because they were Jewish. New York v. Ocean Club, No. 82 Civ. 0790 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 24, 1984). Most of these cases involved "test-case" litigation. The Attorney General's use of a small group of "aggrieved persons" as exemplars for a larger class is neither new nor objectionable and does not render him a nominal party.
2. New York's Quasi Sovereign Interest
The Supreme Court observed that "a State has a quasi-sovereign interest in the health and well-being--both physical and economic--of its residents." Snapp, 458 U.S. at 607. Plaintiff has alleged that Mid Hudson's denial of interpretive services to its deaf patients threatens the State's interest in the health and well-being of its citizens. Again, I must accept plaintiff's assertion as true, and I cannot imagine that Mid Hudson would deny that the ability of deaf patients to fully communicate with their doctors does not affect the patients' health and well-being. Furthermore, as in The Ocean Club, No. 82 Civ. 0790 at 7, New York has unmistakably declared its interest in the nondiscriminatory treatment of its citizens in enacting the civil rights statutes on which plaintiff bases its pendent state claims. For example, in Operation Rescue, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13973, 1993 WL 405433 (Ward, J.), New York State asserted its interest in protecting women from serious risks to their health and abridgments of their civil rights to justify an injunction against potentially dangerous protests. Id. at *2. As here, defendants challenged New York's standing in parens patriae on the ground that it "'failed to allege an injury to an interest that is separate from the interests of particular individuals.'" Id. at *1 (citation omitted). Judge Ward rejected that argument, noting that in connection with anti-abortion demonstrations "'the health and security of a considerable number of persons was and would be endangered by the demonstrations . . . .'" Id. at *2 (citations omitted). The court held that the "State has both the interest and resources necessary to prevent these unlawful practices and protect all of New York's citizens from such unlawful activities." Id. I conclude that plaintiff has articulated, as required by Snapp, "an interest apart from the interests of particular private parties." Snapp, 458 U.S. at 607.
3. "Substantial Segment" of the Population
Regarding the "substantial segment" prong of the Snapp test, Mid Hudson argues that any injury caused by Mid Hudson's failure to provide interpretive services for its hearing impaired patients does not affect a substantial segment of the population of New York State. Plaintiff disagrees citing "the most comprehensive survey of hearing impaired persons ever conducted in the United States," according to which the deaf constituted 5.9% of the population of New York State in 1970. Jerome D. Schein and Marcus T. Delk, Jr., The Deaf Population of the United States, National Association of the Deaf, Table II.9 ("Distribution of the Hearing Impaired Population by States: United States, 1971"). More current data supplied by plaintiff suggests that at present the New York deaf population may be as large as 7%. Nationally, the deaf number about 24 million currently, and 2.8 million Americans are speech-impaired. Michael F. Kelleher, Comment, The Confidentiality of Criminal Conversations on TDD Relay Systems, 79 Calif. L. Rev. 1349, n.2 (1991) (citing S. Rep. No. 116, 101st Cong., 1st Sess. 77 (1989)). I find that hearing impaired New Yorkers constitute a "substantial segment" of the population.
In any event, the raw number of individuals directly involved does not determine whether the State has "alleged injury to a sufficiently substantial segment of its population." Snapp, 458 U.S. at 607. Snapp held that "the indirect effects of the injury must be considered" in making this determination. Id. The District Court had held that Puerto Rico lacked standing because it felt the loss of 787 temporary jobs directly involved only a small number of individuals and would have a slight impact upon Puerto Rico's economy and population of nearly three million. Id. at 599; Puerto Rico v. Alfred L. Snapp & Son, Inc., 469 F. Supp. 928 (1979). The Court of Appeals reversed. 632 F.2d 365 (1980). The Supreme Court agreed that the loss of jobs by migrant farm workers sufficed to give Puerto Rico standing.
Several cases in this Circuit have upheld New York's parens patriae standing in actions for enforcement of various civil rights statutes benefiting population groups comparable to or smaller than New York's deaf population. In Cornwell, the New York Attorney General sued a real estate partnership in parens patriae for violations of the 1871 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). 695 F.2d at 36. The 11 Cornwell Company had conspired to prevent the State from acquiring a building for use as a home for "eight to ten moderately retarded adults." Id. at 39. The Second Circuit held that the eight to ten potential residents of the group home furnished a valid basis for parens patriae standing. The effect of an "inability to establish this facility (or others like it, in [the] event of similar conspiracies to discriminate) is to deprive any number of retarded persons of the opportunity to receive rehabilitation." Id., at 39. The court observed that Cornwell involved
not just the few people who would first be moved from institutions or private homes to the residence at 11 Cornwell Street; . . . [but also] similar people in years to come . . . and the members of the community itself, including the very neighbors who conspired. And, were this kind of incident to be tolerated and left without redress, countless others would be affected.
695 F.2d at 39-40 (citation omitted). The effects of Mid Hudson's alleged discrimination against its seven to ten deaf patients threatens all hearing impaired citizens and perhaps disabled citizens throughout New York.
Support Ministries, 799 F. Supp. 272, held that New York's Attorney General had standing in parens patriae to sue under the Fair Housing Act, 2 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Support Ministries, a multi-faith religious charity, alleged that the Village of Waterford, N.Y. unlawfully denied it a zoning permit for a group home for homeless persons with AIDS ("PWAs"). Although the home would house only fifteen PWAs, the court held that the Attorney General had alleged injury to a substantial segment of New York's population because "those initial fifteen PWAs are not the only persons who will be or have been affected by defendants' actions. Rather, also affected are similar PWAs in months and years to come." Id. at 277 (citation omitted). The court cited the Snapp proposition that states have an interest in securing residents from the "harmful effects of discrimination" Snapp, 458 U.S. at 609, and relied on "startling statistics" about the number of residents of New York who are HIV positive or have AIDS. Support Ministries, 799 F. Supp. at 277-78. The hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers living with AIDS or HIV infection cited in Support Ministries, though a tragically large group, is smaller than the six to seven percent of New York's population that is deaf.
4. Can Individual Plaintiffs Obtain Complete Relief?
In Cornwell, the Second Circuit seems to have added to the Snapp test a requirement of a "finding that individuals could not obtain complete relief through a private suit." Cornwell, 695 F.2d at 40.
Defendant contends, and plaintiff denies, that plaintiff lacks parens patriae standing because Mr. Boardman could obtain complete relief through a private suit. If Mr. Boardman has the resources and stamina necessary for prolonged litigation against Mid Hudson, he might be able to obtain relief through a private suit. However, this litigation does not concern only Mr. Boardman. I conclude that the remote possibility that Mr. Boardman could obtain relief for himself does not preclude the Attorney General from seeking "complete relief" for all current and future deaf patients and their families from Mid Hudson or other health care providers. Mid Hudson argues that the Attorney General is "nothing more than an interloper" who "has no business" asserting an ADA claim. Defendant's Memorandum at 7. I disagree. This case has a much broader scope than the denial of interpretive services to Mr. Boardman and his family.
The requirements of Snapp v. Puerto Rico and the Second Circuit cases having been met, I hold that the People of the State of New York have standing to sue Mid Hudson in parens patriae to enforce the ADA and Section 504. Plaintiff has met the constitutional standing requirement of Article III by alleging a "sufficient interest in the outcome" of a justiciable "case or controversy," and Mid Hudson's motion to dismiss is denied. See Snapp, 458 U.S. at 602; Bramkamp, 654 F.2d at 215. "It is unquestionable that a state, in its parens patriae capacity, does qualify as 'personally . . . suffer[ing] some actual or threatened injury,' Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464, 70 L. Ed. 2d 700, 102 S. Ct. 752 (1982), which is the only portion of what the Supreme Court has identified as the 'irreducible minimum' of the Article III requirements, id., at issue here." Maryland People's Counsel v. Federal Energy Regulatory Comm'n, 245 U.S. App. D.C. 248, 760 F.2d 318, 321 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (Scalia, J.).
III. Is Mid Hudson a Program Receiving Federal Financial Assistance for Purposes of the Rehabilitation Act?
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act:
No otherwise qualified handicapped individual . . . shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.