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Case Name E.C. v. Sherman CW-MO-0002
Docket / Court 2:05-0726-CV-W-SOW ( W.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization Children's Rights, Inc.
Case Summary
This lawsuit was brought on August 15, 2005, by abused and neglected children, currently or formerly in the custody of Missouri's foster care system, who have highly specialized medical, mental health or other special needs. They filed a complaint and an emergency temporary restraining order in ... read more >
This lawsuit was brought on August 15, 2005, by abused and neglected children, currently or formerly in the custody of Missouri's foster care system, who have highly specialized medical, mental health or other special needs. They filed a complaint and an emergency temporary restraining order in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri to prohibit Missouri Senate Bill 539, a new adoption subsidy law, from taking effect. The plaintiffs, represented by Children's Rights and a broad coalition of local advocates, complained that the law violated the Equal Protection rights of foster children through the application of a "means test" to the income of adoptive parents, denying adoptive assistance benefits for certain foster children. Additionally, the plaintiffs charged violations of the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, as amended by the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, and the Equal Protection and Contracts Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

On August 30th, the federal district court (Judge Scott O. Wright) entered a temporary restraining order enjoining the implementation of the law. On September 8, 2005, the court granted plaintiffs' preliminary injunction blocking Senate Bill 539 from taking effect until trial on the merits. On September 29, 2005, the Court entered an order granting class certification.

Defendants filed an appeal from the injunction and class certification orders on October 7, 2005. Plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss defendants' interlocutory appeal of the class certification order challenging the Eighth Circuit's subject matter jurisdiction. Subsequently, both the district court and the appellate court denied defendants' request for a stay pending the preliminary injunction appeal.

Following a trial in April 2006, plaintiffs won on all legal claims and the court permanently banned the adoption subsidy provisions of Senate Bill 539 from ever taking effect. The Missouri Department of Social Services immediately appealed the ruling, but the appeal was later withdrawn and the permanent ban on Senate Bill 539 remains in place.

Ariana Fink - 12/04/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Classification / placement
Foster care (benefits, training)
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental health care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title XIX of the Social Security (Medicaid) Act, 42 U.S.C §1396
Social Security (Title XX), 42 U.S.C. § 1397 et seq.
Adoption Assistance Program, 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq.
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (AACWA), 42 U.S.C. § 620 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Missouri Department of Social Services
Plaintiff Description Abused and neglected children, currently or formerly in the custody of Missouri's foster care system, who have highly specialized medical, mental health or other special needs
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Children's Rights, Inc.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Making Child Welfare Work: How the R.C. Lawsuit Forged New Partnerships to Protect Children and Sustain Families
By: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (Bazelon Center)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
2:05-cv-726 (W.D. Mo.) 10/17/2006
CW-MO-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 08/15/2005
CW-MO-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Amended Complaint 09/14/2005
CW-MO-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 09/29/2005 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/09/2005 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment Denying Permanent Injunction 04/17/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 04/17/2006
CW-MO-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Plaintiffs' Final Proposed] Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Support of the Court's May 1st, 2006 Order and Final Judgment Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief 05/03/2006
CW-MO-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Order Granting Injunctive Relief 05/03/2006
CW-MO-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Support of the Courts May 1, 2006 Order and Final Judgment Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief 05/09/2006 (2006 WL 1307641) (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/09/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/19/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order and Final Judgment Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief 08/04/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Amended Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Support of the Court's Amended Order and Final Judgment Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief 08/04/2006 (2006 WL 6358376) (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Order 08/04/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order and Final Judgment Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief 08/04/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0016.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in Support of the Court's Amended Order and Final Judgment Granting Permanent Injunctive Relief 08/04/2006 (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Wright, Scott Olin (W.D. Mo.)
CW-MO-0002-0002 | CW-MO-0002-0003 | CW-MO-0002-0006 | CW-MO-0002-0007 | CW-MO-0002-0008 | CW-MO-0002-0011 | CW-MO-0002-0012 | CW-MO-0002-0013 | CW-MO-0002-0014 | CW-MO-0002-0015 | CW-MO-0002-0016 | CW-MO-0002-0017 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ammann, John J. (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Bartosz, Michael Sara (New York)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Burns-Bucklew, Loretta E. (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0001 | CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Greider, Deborah (Illinois)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010
Jeanetta, Kathleen A (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0001 | CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Kennedy, Thomas E. III (Illinois)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010
Lowry, Marcia Robinson (New York)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010
Lustbader, Ira P. (New York)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Macer, Pamela (Hawaii)
CW-MO-0002-0001 | CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Mizell, Nicholas Patrick (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0001 | CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Muehlberger, James Patrick (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0001 | CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Reynolds, Stephen (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Sanders, Amy (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0009
Sinha, Priy (New York)
CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Wilson, James J. (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-0005 | CW-MO-0002-0009 | CW-MO-0002-0010 | CW-MO-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Gardner, Gary L. (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-9000
Leyshock, Douglas G. (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-9000
Mitchell, Karen King (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-9000
Vollet, Heidi Doerhoff (Missouri)
CW-MO-0002-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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