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Case Name Strouchler v. Shah PB-NY-0018
Docket / Court 1:12-cv-03216-SAS ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
This class-action lawsuit was filed on April 23, 2012 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs were elderly and/or disabled recipients of Medicaid who received daily twenty-four-hour split-shift in-home care through the New York State Medicaid ... read more >
This class-action lawsuit was filed on April 23, 2012 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs were elderly and/or disabled recipients of Medicaid who received daily twenty-four-hour split-shift in-home care through the New York State Medicaid program. The suit was filed against the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health and the Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State of Temporary and Disability Assistance (the "State Defendants"), and against the Administrator of the New York City Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (the "City Defendant"). Plaintiffs brought the action under the Medicaid Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1396 et seq. and its implementing regulations; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq. and its implementing regulations; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504"), 29 U.S.C. § 794; and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

The City Defendant had notified members of the putative class that their home care service hours would be reduced, even though their current level of care was physician-prescribed and there had been no changes to their medical conditions or treatment needs, on the basis that the plaintiffs did not meet the "total assistance" requirement of Medicaid regulations. Plaintiffs argued that this policy was arbitrary and irrational, and that because there was not change in the plaintiffs' conditions, these reductions violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Plaintiffs argued that the defendants had discriminated against plaintiffs on the basis of disability and that they had put the plaintiffs at risk of unnecessary institutionalization, contrary to the integration and anti-discrimination and mandates of the ADA and Section 504. Plaintiffs also alleged the defendants had violated the Medicaid Act by denying Medicaid recipients a level of equal in amount, scope, and duration to that provided to other Medicaid recipients with the same medical needs.

On June 12, 2012, the parties agreed to a joint stipulation in lieu of temporary restraining order proceedings before the court, wherein the defendants agreed not to reduce the hours of any additional patients, with very limited exceptions, while the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction was pending before the Court.

On June 28, 2012, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that removed references to preliminary relief. On August 29, 2012, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed all claims against the Executive Deputy Commissioner. The Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health remained in the case.

On September 4, 2012, the Court (Judge Shira A. Scheindlin) granted the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction in part, preventing the defendants from reducing any patients care while the case was pending or until further decisions, except in cases where there were changes to a patient's condition that made the service reduction medically appropriate, as certified by a physician who had personally examined the patient. The Court declined to reinstate twenty-four-hour split-shift care for all those patients whose level of care had been reduced between October 4, 2011 and the date of the injunction. Strouchler v. Shah, 891 F. Supp. 2d 504 (S.D.N.Y. 2012). The Court denied the Defendants' motion to modify this preliminary injunction on September 12, 2012.

On October 5, 2012, the Court (Judge Scheindlin) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, with the Court amending the definition as: "[a]ll New York City Medicaid recipients of continuous personal care services who, at any time since January 1, 2011, have been threatened with unlawful reduction or discontinuance of these services or whose care has been unlawfully reduced or discontinued because the City Defendant has determined that they do not meet the medical criteria for these services." The Court explained that, because the preliminary injunction was in place, it was unnecessary to include the words "or will be." Strouchler v. Shah, 286 F.R.D. 244 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).

On October 15, 2012, the parties filed a joint stipulation, with the defendants' agreeing to reinstate the split-shift care of an individual member of the purported class whose service had been reduced to sleep-in care prior to the date of the preliminary injunction. On November 12, 2012, in the wake of the Hurricane Sandy disaster, the Court ordered the defendants to restore split-shift care to 16 individuals identified by the plaintiffs. This order was modified by an order dated November 16, 2012, which referred to a state-level directive ordering the restoration of split-shift care to certain individuals already being served by a "managed long-term care provider."

The parties then proceeded to the discovery phase of the litigation, while engaging in settlement negotiations.

Two years later, on May 27, 2014, the parties filed a settlement agreement, which was approved by Judge Scheindlin on September 12 of the same year. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the State and City Defendants agreed that continuous personal care services of any Medicaid recipient thereof shall not be reduced or terminated for any of five reasons: "the recipient needs only 'some' assistance;" "the recipient's needs can be predicted or scheduled;" "the recipient's only medical needs are turning and positioning;" "there has been a change in the recipient's medical condition, unless [the State or City] Defendant submits to the recipient a notice that identifies the change and states why the prior services are no longer needed;" or "there has been a mistake in the previous assessment, unless the [local district or City Defendant] submits to the recipient a notice that identifies the mistake and states why the prior services are not needed." The agreement further stipulates that the State Defendant is to make best efforts to amend state law such that it is consistent with the agreement under the New York State Administrative Procedure Act. In exchange, the plaintiffs released the City and State Defendants from all claims. The case was closed on September 16, 2014.

Alex Colbert-Taylor - 08/08/2013
Kevin Nomura - 04/12/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Disparate Treatment
Funding
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Payment for care
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Reassessment and care planning
Rehabilitation
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Medical/Mental Health
Bed care (including sores)
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title XIX of the Social Security (Medicaid) Act, 42 U.S.C §1396
State law
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) New York City
State of New York
Plaintiff Description Elderly and/or disabled recipients of Medicaid who received daily twenty-four-hour split-shift in-home care, without which they would not have been able to live in their own homes in the general community.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
1:12−cv−03216 (S.D.N.Y.) 09/24/2014
PB-NY-0018-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Complaint 04/23/2012
PB-NY-0018-0001.pdf | Detail
Stipulation and Order Concerning Temporary Relief 06/11/2012 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 06/28/2012
PB-NY-0018-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal Against Defendant Berlin And Order 08/29/2012 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 09/04/2012 (891 F.Supp.2d 504) (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/12/2012 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order 10/05/2012 (286 F.R.D. 244) (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order 10/09/2012 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/12/2012 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Relief to the City of New York] 11/26/2012 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Settlement of Class Action and Order 09/24/2014 (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0018-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Scheindlin, Shira A. (S.D.N.Y., E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
PB-NY-0018-0002 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0006 | PB-NY-0018-0007 | PB-NY-0018-0008 | PB-NY-0018-0009 | PB-NY-0018-0010 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Connor, Eileen Mathews (New York)
PB-NY-0018-9000
Dougherty, Donna (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0001 | PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0004 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0008 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Golick, Toby (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0001 | PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0004 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Jeffrey, Randall S. (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0005
Salzman, Leslie (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0001 | PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0004 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Schulman, Yisroel (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0001 | PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0004 | PB-NY-0018-0005
Taylor, Benjamin (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0001 | PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0004 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cardozo, Michael A. (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0008
Carter, Zachary W. (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0011
Kraft, Robert Lewis (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Rosinus, David Alan Jr. (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0008 | PB-NY-0018-0011 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Schneiderman, Eric T. (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0008 | PB-NY-0018-0011
Yi, Gloria Mihee (New York)
PB-NY-0018-0003 | PB-NY-0018-0005 | PB-NY-0018-0008 | PB-NY-0018-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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