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Disability Advocates, Inc. v. Paterson

March 1, 2010

DISABILITY ADVOCATES, INC., PLAINTIFF, AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR
v.
DAVID A. PATERSON, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, RICHARD F. DAINES, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, MICHAEL F. HOGAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH, THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, AND THE NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nicholas G. Garaufis, United States District Judge.

REMEDIAL ORDER AND JUDGMENT

WHEREAS, Plaintiff Disability Advocates, Inc. ("DAI") filed a Complaint on behalf of its constituents ("DAI's Constituents") -- individuals with mental illness residing in, or at risk of entry into, adult homes in New York City with more than 120 beds and in which 25 residents or 25% of the resident population (whichever is fewer) have a mental illness (the "Adult Homes") -- seeking declaratory and injunctive relief under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act ("RA"); and

WHEREAS, Defendants the Governor of the State of New York, the Commissioner of Health of the State of New York, and the Commissioner of Mental Health of the State of New York, all in their official capacities, and the New York State Department of Health ("DOH") and the New York State Office of Mental Health ("OMH"), (collectively, "Defendants" or "the State"), answered the Complaint; and

WHEREAS, Plaintiff and Defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which were denied by the court upon consideration of a factual record of more than 13,000 pages and approximately 675 exhibits; and

WHEREAS, the court presided over an 18-day bench trial during which 29 witnesses testified, more than 300 exhibits were admitted into evidence, and the excerpts from the deposition transcripts of 23 additional witnesses were entered into the record, along with a 3,500-page trial transcript; and

WHEREAS, Plaintiff and Defendants submitted proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law after trial, and the court issued a 210-page Memorandum and Order Setting Forth Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, dated September 8, 2009, finding that Defendants have discriminated against DAI's Constituents in violation of the integration mandate of the ADA and the RA, that virtually all of DAI's Constituents are qualified to receive services in supported housing, and that Defendants failed to establish that the relief sought by Plaintiff would constitute a fundamental alteration of the State's mental health service system; and

WHEREAS, the court found that Plaintiff is entitled to declaratory and injunctive relief and ordered (1) the State to submit to the court a proposed remedial plan in advance of the issuance of an injunction and (2) Plaintiff to respond to the State's proposed remedial plan; and

WHEREAS, the court allowed the United States to become a party to the action as a Plaintiff-Intervenor and granted amicus curiae status to the City of New York ("the City"), the Empire State Association of Assisted Living ("ESAAL"), and the New York Coalition for Quality Assisted Living ("NYCQAL"), and has received submissions from all four regarding the remedy in this case; and

WHEREAS, the court has considered the State's proposed remedial plan and Plaintiff's response thereto, as well as the responses submitted by Plaintiff-Intervenor and the amici, and has issued a Memorandum setting forth its reasons for rejecting the State's proposal and adopting Plaintiff's proposed remedial order, as set forth herein;

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED and ADJUDGED that:

1. Within four years of entry of this Order, Defendants shall ensure that (a) all Current Adult Home Residents who desire placement in supported housing have been afforded such placement if qualified, (b) all Future Adult Home Residents who desire placement in supported housing are promptly afforded such placement if qualified, and (c) no individual with mental illness who is qualified for supported housing is offered placement in an Adult Home unless, after being fully informed, he or she declines the opportunity to receive services in supported housing. For purposes of this Order, the following terms have the meanings specified below:

a. "Current Adult Home Residents" are DAI's Constituents who are residents of an Adult Home on the date of this Order.

b. "Future Adult Home Residents" include both DAI's Constituents who are admitted to the Adult Homes during the four-year transition period and DAI's Constituents who are admitted to the Adult Homes after the four-year transition period who desire placement in supported housing.

c. "Supported housing" refers to scattered-site supported housing funded by OMH, a setting in which individuals live in their own apartment and receive services to support their success as ...


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