University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Rights Equality Always at Letchworth v. Cuomo ID-NY-0004
Docket / Court 84-CIV-4163 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Intellectual Disability (Facility)
Case Summary
On June 13, 1984, ten residents of the Letchworth Village Development Center (LVDC) in Thiells, New York, along with a parents/representatives organization called Rights, Equality Always at Letchworth, Inc. (REAL), filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of New York ... read more >
On June 13, 1984, ten residents of the Letchworth Village Development Center (LVDC) in Thiells, New York, along with a parents/representatives organization called Rights, Equality Always at Letchworth, Inc. (REAL), filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of New York in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The plaintiffs asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that their constitutional rights had been violated by the defendants' failure to provide plaintiffs with constitutionally and statutorily mandated levels of care, habilitation, training, education, and treatment, as well as maintaining the plaintiffs in a setting where such services cannot properly be provided.

On September 3, 1985, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Judge Charles E. Stewart) dismissed REAL as a party to the lawsuit for lack of standing and certified the plaintiffs as a class. Rights Equality Always at Letchworth v. Cuomo, No. 84-4163, 1985 WL 129 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 3, 1985). On November 14, 1985, the district court (Judge Stewart) appointed REAL guardian ad litem to assist the plaintiffs in representing the interests of absent class members.

On November 25, 1986, the defendants asked the court to dismiss the case for lack of standing of the remaining plaintiffs. On October 14, 1986, the district court denied the motion for dismissal.

On November 14, 1988, the parties entered into a settlement agreement, which was adopted by the court on November 19, 1991. On March 3, 1993, the district court ordered the defendants to provide the plaintiffs with a comprehensive implementation plan for the closure of LVDC. The closure was to take place by March 31, 1996, and the plan was to specify the number of community placements to be made out of LVDC. This is where our docket information, accurate as of 4/18/07, ends.

Kristen Sagar - 04/18/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Classification / placement
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Education
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Special education
Medical/Mental Health
Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Letchworth Village Developmental Center
Plaintiff Description residents of the Letchworth Village Development Center (LVDC) in Thiells, New York
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1989 - n/a
Case Closing Year 1991
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
84-CIV-4163 (S.D.N.Y.) 11/19/1991
ID-NY-0004-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
84-CIV-4163 (S.D.N.Y.) 04/11/1996
ID-NY-0004-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Report and Recommendation 09/03/1985 (1985 WL 129) (S.D.N.Y.)
ID-NY-0004-0002 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Correspondence 01/01/1996
ID-NY-0004-0001 PDF | Detail
Judges Stewart, Charles E. Jr. (S.D.N.Y.)
ID-NY-0004-0002 | ID-NY-0004-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lottman, Michael S. (New York)
ID-NY-0004-9000
Schneps, Murray B. (New York)
ID-NY-0004-0002 | ID-NY-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abrams, Robert W. (New York)
ID-NY-0004-9000
Fleischer, Arnold D. (New York)
ID-NY-0004-0002
Giuliani, Rudolph (New York)
ID-NY-0004-9000
Rothstein, Amy (New York)
ID-NY-0004-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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