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HENRIETTA D. v. GIULIANI

January 24, 2000

HENRIETTA D., NIDIA S., SIMONE A., EZZARD S., JOHN R.,AND PEDRO R., ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS.
V.
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, MAYOR OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, MARVA HAMMONS, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NEW YORK CITY HUMAN RESOURCES ADMINISTRATION AND COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, AND MARY E. GLASS, COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Johnson, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This class action is brought by New York City residents with AIDS or HIV-related illnesses who are seeking access to publicly subsidized benefits. The plaintiffs sued city and state officials and departments claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the Medicaid Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, as well as other claims. Presently before this Court are State and City defendants' motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, summary judgment motions of City and State defendants are denied. State defendant's motion to dismiss state law claims is granted.

BACKGROUND

At the commencement of this litigation, members of the plaintiff class received publicly subsidized benefits through the Human Resources Administration's ("HRA") Division of AIDS Services ("DAS") and it Income Support/AIDS Services Program. Presumably in an attempt to expedite access to essential social services, DAS was restructured from 1995-1997. The case management system was eliminated. DAS and IS/AS were consolidated into the Division of AIDS Services and Income Support ("DASIS"), the department that currently facilitates the provision of public benefits and services to the plaintiff class. However, these changes did not operate to increase DASIS' efficacy and the New York City Council reviewed the issue in 1997.

As a result. New York City Council enacted, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani signed into law, Local Law 49, also known as the DASIS Law.*fn3 Its effect was to mandate the provision of a broad range of benefits and services to people with AIDS or clinical/symptomatic HIV illness. In addition. DASIS was formally established as the organization charged with ensuring persons with clinical/symptomatic HIV meaningful and equal access to public services and benefits. Through the DASIS Law, New York City prescribed a mechanism to ensure access to public benefits and services for anyone suffering from AIDS or HIV-related diseases. Its provisions include, but are not limited to, intensive case management, transportation and nutrition allowances, and assistance in establishing and maintaining eligibility for public benefits. However, despite the clear intent of the New York City government to resolve this issue, plaintiffs here allege continuing violations of the ADA, and other federal state, and municipal laws which DASIS was supposed to enforce.

Plaintiffs have brought this action against the City and State of New York ("defendants"), alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.;*fn4 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("Rehabilitation Act"), 29 U.S.C. § 794;*fn5 the Medicaid Act, § 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(8), 1396a(a)(19), and other regulations.*fn6 They claim that the functional limitations faced by persons with AIDS or HIV-related diseases require reasonable modifications to the City's policies and practices to assure equal and meaningful access to public benefits.*fn7 Plaintiffs have also sued the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services for violations of New York State statutory and common law in failing to supervise New York City's provision of benefits and services.

Plaintiffs contend that they cannot access public benefits already available to all indigent New Yorkers and for which they are eligible. Insufficient staffing, intentional or unintentional disregard of the law, and its own policies render DASIS systemically incapable of discharging its obligations. Plaintiffs cite widespread, systemic failure and delay in activating initial benefits and services, processing applications, obtaining correct and adequate subsistence budgets. Plaintiffs have also suffered from repeated improper case closures: difficulty in getting case managers to perform required field visits, to issue initial rent and special moving grants, to process housing applications and referrals, and to process requests for payment of rent arrears. In each of these areas, plaintiffs contend that DASIS is not in compliance with federal disability regulations, nor with the structure installed by the DASIS Law.

JURISDICTION & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The instant case was filed on February 14, 1995. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, federal question jurisdiction, as this case arises from claims under federal statutory and constitutional law.*fn8 To the extent that this Court lacks jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state law claims, the Court invokes its discretion under 28 U.S.C. § 1367 to exercise supplemental jurisdiction to the full extent that the statute allows.*fn9

On October 25, 1996, this Court certified the plaintiff class and denied defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of justiciability or for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. See Henrietta D., et al v. Giuliani, et al., No. 95-CV0641, 1996 WL 633382 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 25, 1996). The Court also denied plaintiff's application for a preliminary injunction.*fn10 Defendants now seek summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, claiming that no triable issue of fact remains and that judgment as a matter of law is appropriate in this case.

DISCUSSION

I. Eleventh Amendment

A. Standard for Motion to ...


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