On March 13, 1992, thirteen unnamed developmentally disabled individuals filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami) against the Governor of Florida and the state's Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit under the Medicaid Act (42 U.S.C. § 1396) as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs, who had been placed on waiting lists for entry into intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled (ICF/DD), alleged that the defendants were causing unreasonable delays regarding the provision of ICF/DD. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive, and incidental relief.
On July 22, 1996, the District Court (Judge Wilkie Ferguson, Jr.) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, finding that officials of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services were in fact violating the Medicaid Act by failing to furnish Medicaid assistance with "reasonable promptness" to eligible developmentally disabled individuals. The District Court subsequently enjoined the officials from failing to provide the assistance within a "reasonable" time period, not to exceed ninety days.
The defendants appealed, but on February 26, 1998, the Eleventh Circuit (Judge Rosemary Barkett, Judge Joseph W. Hatchett, and District Judge Robert Prost) issued an opinion affirming the judgment. Doe v. Chiles, 136 F.3d 709 (11th Cir. 1998).
Subsequent to the 11th Circuit's affirmance of the District Court's final judgment, the District Court entered an order on October 7, 1999 holding defendants in contempt for failing to comply. The District Court also entered a class certification order on February 11, 2000. However, defendants appealed both orders, and on August 8, 2001, the Eleventh Circuit (Judge R. Lanier Anderson, III; Judge Edward Earl Carnes; District Judge John F. Nangle) reversed the orders and remanded the case. Doe v. Bush, 261 F.3d 1037 (11th Cir. 2001). Significantly, the Eleventh Circuit nevertheless found that an implied class existed. Doe v. Bush, 261 F.3d 1027, 1049 (11th Cir. 2001). The defendants filed a petition for writ of certiorari on this issue, but the petition was denied on January 14, 2002.
The District Court also entered a post-judgment award of $678,000 to the plaintiffs, covering attorney fees and litigation costs, which the defendants appealed. On January 16, 2004, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's judgment. Doe v. Bush, 91 Fed.Appx. 655 (11th Cir. 2004). Once again, defendants filed a petition for writ of certiorari on this issue, but the petition was denied on June 21, 2004. The case is now closed.Jordan Rossen - 04/03/2011