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A.M. v. Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association

United States District Court, S.D. New York

February 17, 2017

A.M. by her Guardian, STEPHEN E. DIAMOND, ESQ., Plaintiff,
v.
HUDSON VALLEY CEREBRAL PALSY ASSOCIATION, JOSEPH FARAONE, BEATRICE GUIDA, HOWARD YAGER, and JANE AND JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Vincent L. Briccetti United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Stephen E. Diamond, Esq., on behalf of A.M., brings this action against defendants Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association (“HVCPA”), Joseph Faraone, Beatrice Guida, Howard Yager, and Jane and John Doe(s) 1-10, resulting from Faraone's alleged sexual assaults of A.M. while she was under HVCPA's care. Plaintiff brings claims under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and New York state law.

         Before the Court is HVCPA, Guida, and Yager's (collectively, “movants”) motion to dismiss the amended complaint (Doc. #29) for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. #21).[1]

         For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss is DENIED.

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1367.

         BACKGROUND

         In deciding the pending motion, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded allegations in the amended complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.

         A.M. is an adult woman in her fifties. More than twenty years ago, she was in a motorcycle accident in which she suffered severe head trauma causing a debilitating brain injury. As a result of the accident, she now has significant developmental disabilities, is mentally incompetent, has the functional capacity of a twelve-year-old child, and requires full-time residential care. “She lacks the capacity for complex decision making and the ability to fully comprehend the consequences of her actions or the actions of those around her. Because of her limited reasoning skills, she requires close supervision at all times.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 18).

         A.M. has no family members actively involved in her life, and she is a ward of the State of New York. Plaintiff Diamond is A.M.'s state-appointed legal guardian.[2]

         HVCPA, which is located in Brewster, New York, in addition to providing various services to people with Cerebral Palsy, provides services to developmentally-disabled adults who suffer from issues related to traumatic brain injuries. HVCPA receives funding from the State of New York and the federal government and “is licensed by at least two New York State agencies, [the] Office for People with Developmental Disabilities . . . and the Department of Health[, ] to provide care for people with developmental disabilities.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 11).

         Defendant Faraone was an HVCPA employee and personally cared for HVCPA residents, including A.M. Defendant Guida was the Chief Operating Officer of Programs for HVCPA, and in that capacity “was responsible for developing programs and implementing policies and procedures to provide reasonable care for A.M.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 13). Defendant Yager was the Executive Director for HVCPA and “was responsible for supervising the day to day services and reasonable care provided to A.M. while she resided at HVCPA.” (Id. ¶ 14). The John and Jane Doe defendants “were directors, executives, agents, servants, and/or employees of HVCPA.” (Id. ¶ 15).

         While at HVCPA, A.M. was frequently left in Faraone's care. According to the amended complaint, on June 15, 2015, Faraone brought A.M. into a courtyard at the HVCPA facility and had A.M. perform oral sex on him. Several HVCPA employees witnessed this incident and immediately reported it to HVCPA supervisors. Despite these reports, HVCPA supervisors, including Guida and Yager, took no action to protect A.M. from Faraone or to provide medical care to A.M. following the incident.

         Several HVCPA employees became concerned when corrective action was not taken, and they suspected Faraone continued to sexually assault A.M. One employee planted a recording device in an HVCPA elevator, and on September 17, 2015, this device recorded Faraone again having A.M. perform oral sex on him. The employee took the recording to law enforcement, and Faraone was prosecuted.

         “A.M. was hospitalized for repeated vomiting and found to have a urinary tract infection. A.M. was extremely agitated and required additional medication to help calm her because of the mental and physical harm.”[3] (Am. Compl. ¶ 25).

         According to the amended complaint, Guida “attempted to have false reports prepared to suggest that HVCPA had made some attempt to take action after the first known sexual assault.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 24).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Le ...


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