University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Rodde v. Bonta PB-CA-0033
Docket / Court 2:03-cv-01580-FMC-PJW ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
The Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a public hospital operated by the Los Angeles County government, was scheduled to close permanently on June 30, 2003. The hospital was a 207-bed facility specializing in the rehabilitation and acute care needs of patients with chronic diseases. ... read more >
The Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, a public hospital operated by the Los Angeles County government, was scheduled to close permanently on June 30, 2003. The hospital was a 207-bed facility specializing in the rehabilitation and acute care needs of patients with chronic diseases. Public services for the severely disabled had been consolidated at the site, and the facility provided a rare opportunity for people with multiple serious disabilities to receive full care in one location for their conditions. At the time, the hospital served more than 9500 patients per year in its inpatient and outpatient programs. Of these patients, about half were covered by Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid welfare program.

On March 6 of 2003, Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, seeking to enjoin the County from closing the hospital. The case was brought under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12165, and the Social Security Act, U.S.C. 12 §§ 13961, 1396d. Class certification was granted on April 29, 2003. Although their complaint has not been obtained by the Clearinghouse, the Plaintiffs' claims can be reconstructed from the court's Order Granting the Plantiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction, issued May 6, 2003. The Plaintiffs argued that the if the hospital were to close, they and other disabled individuals similarly situated would be unable to have their medical needs met in Los Angeles County, which would be impermissible, because the Social Security Act requires participating states to ensure that inpatient and outpatient hospital services be available to persons entitled to Medicaid services, and also requires that medically necessary and appropriate services be received on a timely basis, and that access to such services be comparable to that available to persons in the community who have private health coverage.

The court, in granting the order for a preliminary injunction, found that the Plaintiffs' case was likely to succeed on its merits. The County argued that closing the hospital would be fiscally responsible, saving the County $58.6 million a year. The court found the County's reasoning to be fallacious, because it did not account for the added cost of treating the hospital's patients at other facilities in the County. The court reasoned that the cost to the County would be greater if the hospital were to close than if it remained open. The court also determined that closing the hospital without first ensuring that comparable services would be available to its disabled Medi-Cal patients elsewhere in the County would be illegal under the ADA, because in doing so the County would be distributing public benefits and services in a manner that discriminated against the disabled.

The court's preliminary injunction was thus granted, to remain in force until the case reached a final judgment, or until the court issued revised order. The County filed an appeal on the May 8, 2003. On February 5, 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Pregerson, J.) issued an opinion upholding the preliminary injunction, and holding that the plaintiffs "had demonstrated that if the County close[d] Rancho, it [would] reduce, and in some instances eliminate, necessary medical services for disabled Medi-Cal patients while continuing to provide the medical care required and sought by Medi-Cal recipients without disabilities" and that this disparity in providing services constituted discrimination under the ADA. Rodde v. Bonta, 357 F.3d 988 (M.D. Cal 2004).

The parties reached a settlement, which received preliminary approval on October 3, 2005 and final approval on January 30, 2006. In the settlement, the County agreed that Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center would remain open for at least another three years, maintaining at least the same level of service as was available in March 2003. In the settlement, the County expressed its intent to find a purchaser or partner to take over the operation of the hospital. The plaintiffs retained their right to bring legal action against any future efforts to either close or reduce the level of services available to Medi-Cal patients at the facility. In accordance with this settlement, on January 30, 2006, the court ordered the County of Los Angeles to pay $1.75 million in legal fees to the Western Center for Disability Rights.

At the time of this writing, June 2013, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center is still in operation and appears to still be operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

Although this case does not rely on or cite the Supreme Court's decision in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999), which held that the ADA forbids the unnecessary institutionalization of disabled individuals, the Clearinghouse includes it in our collection of Olmstead cases because it stands for a correlative principle, that disabled Medicaid recipients must be provided access to levels of care sufficient to allow them to live as independent and integrated members of the community.

Alex Colbert-Taylor - 06/03/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief denied
Preliminary relief granted
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Funding
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Reasonable Accommodations
Rehabilitation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Social Security (Title XX), 42 U.S.C. § 1397 et seq.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) California
Los Angeles County
Plaintiff Description Class of disabled Medicaid recipients residing in Los Angeles County, suing Los Angeles County to prevent the closure of a public hospital that provided essential inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and other necessary medical services.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2006 - 2009
Case Closing Year 2009
Case Ongoing Unknown
Docket(s)
2:03-cv-01580-FMC-PJW (C.D. Cal.) 12/14/2007
PB-CA-0033-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 04/29/2003 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction 05/06/2003 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction 05/08/2003 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ninth Circuit Opinion 02/05/2004 (357 F.3d 988)
PB-CA-0033-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Settlement Agreement 09/07/2005
PB-CA-0033-0005.pdf | Detail
Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Class Settlement, Approval of Form and Manner of Notice to Class, and Scheduling Fairness Hearing 10/03/2005 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation Re: Dismissal of Plaintiffs' Claims Against State Defendants; Order 01/24/2006 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on Attorneys' Fees Portion of Settlement Agreement 01/30/2006 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulated Order Approving Settlement and Dismissing Plaintiffs' Claims Without Prejudice 01/30/2006 (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cooper, Florence-Marie (C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0002 | PB-CA-0033-0003 | PB-CA-0033-0004 | PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0006 | PB-CA-0033-0007 | PB-CA-0033-0008 | PB-CA-0033-0009 | PB-CA-0033-9000
Pregerson, Harry (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0033-0001
Walsh, Patrick J. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PB-CA-0033-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bird, Melinda R. (California)
PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0009 | PB-CA-0033-9000
Heck, Christopher J. (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Hill, Eve L. (California)
PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0009 | PB-CA-0033-9000
Holle, Marilyn (California)
PB-CA-0033-0009 | PB-CA-0033-9000
Iriarte, Maria F. (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Lewis, Kimberly (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
McIntyre, Gerald Andrew (California)
PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0009
Newman, Robert D. Jr. (California)
PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0007 | PB-CA-0033-0009 | PB-CA-0033-9000
Pearlman, Paula D. (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Rothschild, Richard (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Yearwood−Murrell, Felicia ElDorrado (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Chmura, Jennifer A. (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Cole, Donald P. (California)
PB-CA-0033-0007 | PB-CA-0033-9000
Glaser, Patricia L. (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Kapur, Leela Ann (California)
PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0009
Koshofer, Warren A. (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Lever, Alisa Morgenthaler (California)
PB-CA-0033-0005 | PB-CA-0033-0009
Sheldon, Barbara Louise (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Silva, Julie Ann (California)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Walker, Gordon T. (Massachusetts)
PB-CA-0033-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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