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Case Name Disability Rights New Jersey v. Velez PB-NJ-0004
Docket / Court 3:08-cv-01858-AET -LHG ( D.N.J. )
State/Territory New Jersey
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
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 ... read more >
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 this lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and § 1983 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. The named plaintiffs were Medicaid recipients with disabilities. These individuals received services from the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities and met 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. Instead, they were all on a waitlist for services under the HCS program for years without notification of their status or how long they would have to wait.

On September 9, 2008, 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 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 this case. The order required the United States to file a request with the court 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 (PB-NJ-0007).

Through this agreement, the State agreed to discharge all community-eligible individuals from institutions by 2017 (approximately 600 people) and expand community-based services as alternatives to institutional placements. The State also increased screening and diversion services for those who are slated for placement in an institution. The agreement included funding for a consultant to assist in implementing the agreement and allowed for Disability Rights New Jersey to serve as a monitor. The defendants agreed to pay the plaintiffs $700,000 for attorneys' fees and costs incurred in the litigation. As of November 2018, it was not clear from the docket whether the monitoring period had continued past 2017. The case is now closed.

Haley Waller - 04/07/2011
Andrew Junker - 10/23/2014
Eva Richardson - 11/21/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Mental impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Deinstitutionalization/decarceration
Habilitation (training/treatment)
Individualized planning
Placement in mental health facilities
Reasonable Accommodations
Reassessment and care planning
Rehabilitation
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Mental Disability
Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services
Plaintiff Description New Jersey Protection and Advocacy and individuals with disabilities eligible for community-based services
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2013 - 2017
Filing Year 2008
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-NJ-0007 : Disability Rights New Jersey v. Velez (D.N.J.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
3:08−cv−01858 (D.N.J.)
PB-NJ-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF [ECF# 1]
PB-NJ-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/16/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM & ORDER [ECF# 15] (2008 WL 4192068) (D.N.J.)
PB-NJ-0004-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 09/09/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF [ECF# 16]
PB-NJ-0004-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/26/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER CERTIFIYING TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES A CHALLENGE TO THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF AN ACT OF CONGRESS [ECF# 30] (D.N.J.)
PB-NJ-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/10/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
CONSENT ORDER EXTENDING TIME TO SERVE AND FILE NOTICE OF INTERVENTION [ECF# 33] (D.N.J.)
PB-NJ-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/08/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
UNITED STATES’ NOTICE OF INTERVENTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. 2403(a) [ECF# 35]
PB-NJ-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/18/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
BRIEF OF THE UNITED STATES AS INTERVENOR IN SUPPORT OF THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT AND TITLE II OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT [ECF# 36]
PB-NJ-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER [ECF# 37] (D.N.J.)
PB-NJ-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 90]
PB-NJ-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/04/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Thompson, Anne Elise (D.N.J.) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0002 | PB-NJ-0004-0003 | PB-NJ-0004-0006 | PB-NJ-0004-0007 | PB-NJ-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cooney, Bernard J. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0009
Dwyer, William Emmett (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0008 | PB-NJ-0004-0009 | PB-NJ-0004-9000
Gibson, William (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0009
Marra, Ralph J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0004 | PB-NJ-0004-0005 | PB-NJ-0004-9000
Ruymann, J. Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0004 | PB-NJ-0004-0005 | PB-NJ-0004-9000
Stio, Angelo A. III (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0009
Thompson, R. Scott (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0001 | PB-NJ-0004-0008 | PB-NJ-0004-0009 | PB-NJ-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hughes, Gerard Andrew (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0009
Kalik, Lance J. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0009
Liss, Brenda C. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
PB-NJ-0004-0009

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