NOTE: This is one of three identically named cases in the Clearinghouse. For the 2005 case challenging New Jersey's overuse of Conditional Extension Pending Placement (CEPP), see PB-NJ-0003
. For the 2005 case generally challenging the unnecessary institutionalization of individuals with disabilities in New Jersey, which was settled together with this case, see PB-NJ-0007
On April 16, 2008, New Jersey Protection and Advocacy (NJP&A) filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act against the state's Department of Human Services in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. The Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief regarding New Jersey's practice of wait-listing eligible citizens instead of providing them services. Specifically, the plaintiff asked the Court to direct the state to offer and provide home and community-based services with reasonable promptness to eligible individuals.
NJP&A, a non-profit corporation, is the federally funded agency designated to serve as New Jersey's protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities. Individuals named in the Complaint are Medicaid recipients who have disabilities. These individuals receive services from the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities and meet the requirements for Medicaid's home and community-based waiver services (HCS). All of the individuals named in the Complaint would be able to live in less restrictive settings with waiver supports and services, but they are all on a wait-list for services under the HCS program. They have been on a wait-list for years, but have not been informed of their status or how long they will have to wait.
On September 9, 2008, the Court (Judge Anne E. Thompson) granted the state's Motion for a More Definite Statement and Motion to Strike. The Court ordered the disclosure of the identities of the named plaintiffs (who had been identified with only initials in the Complaint) to the state. The Court also ordered the plaintiffs to strike the statements of the Interested Parties that had been included in the Complaint.
On March 10, 2009, the Court issued an order notifying the Attorney General of the United States that the constitutionality of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act had been called into question in the case. The order required the United States to file a petition for intervention if it wished to intervene. The United States did so on May 18, 2009.
The Court denied the state's motion to dismiss on July 23, 2009. The Court found that the plaintiffs had standing to bring suit and that the state's 11th Amendment arguments were inapposite.
After a long period of discovery and concurrent settlement negotiations, the parties ultimately agreed to a settlement in December 2012, which was entered by the court upon the case's dismissal in March 2013. The settlement agreement resolved both this case and the longstanding Olmstead case challenging New Jersey's unnecessary institutionalization of individuals with developmental disabilities (see PB-NJ-0007).
Through this agreement, the State will discharge all community-eligible individuals from institutions by 2017 (about 600 people) and provide necessary services. The state will also increase screening and diversion services for those who are slated for placement in an institution. The agreement also includes funding for a consultant who will assist in implementing the agreement, and allows for Disability Rights New Jersey to serve as a monitor. Haley Waller - 04/07/2011
Andrew Junker - 10/23/2014