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Case Name Smith v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania PB-PA-0020
Docket / Court 2:13-CV-5670-AB ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection DOJ Civil Rights Division Statements of Interest
Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Public Interest Law Center (PILCOP)
Case Summary
Plaintiff, a man with cerebral palsy, filed this class-action lawsuit against the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (DPW) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on September 27, 2013. As a person with a physical disability, plaintiff was ... read more >
Plaintiff, a man with cerebral palsy, filed this class-action lawsuit against the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (DPW) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on September 27, 2013. As a person with a physical disability, plaintiff was eligible for in-home services under the State's Act 150 Program, a program aimed at allowing individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible in their communities. However, plaintiff alleged that because the Program had at least a two-year-long waiting list, he was unable to receive services and was therefore forced to reside in a nursing home. Plaintiff claimed that defendants' failure to provide him and other similarly-situated persons with in-home care services resulted in unnecessary institutionalization in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Represented by the Disability Rights Network of PA and the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, plaintiff sought class certification and declaratory and injunctive relief.

On October 3, 2013, plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction which, if granted, would require defendants to provide him with appropriate community-based attendant care services and allow him to leave the nursing home where he had resided for over two years.

On October 9, an Amended Complaint was filed to include a second named plaintiff. The second plaintiff, Ms. Smith, a woman with multiple sclerosis, was also on the waiting list for Act 150 services and, while she was able to remain in her own home under the care of her teenage daughter, anticipated being forced to move into a nursing home once her daughter left for college unless she received in-home care. On October 24, the original plaintiff removed himself as a party and the case continued with one named plaintiff, Ms. Smith.

On October 30, plaintiff moved to certify a class defined as "all Pennsylvanians who are or will be placed on the waiting list for the Act 150 Program."

The parties began discovery in November of 2013. Both plaintiffs and defendants filed motions for summary judgment on April 11 and May 9, 2014, respectively. DPW argued that any change in the way it provided its services would constitute a fundamental alteration its state programs and would impermissibly interfere with its discretion to administer Medicaid services.

Before any motions were decided, on June 12, the U.S. Department of Justice submitted a statement of interest. The DOJ asserted that because the ADA requires states to avoid unnecessary institutionalization, including where a reasonable accommodation is available to avoid said institutionalization, if the court found that a plausible accommodation was available that would allow plaintiffs to avoid living in a segregated setting, DPW would have the burden of showing that providing that accommodation would constitute a fundamental alteration of its programming. The DOJ also pointed out that several other courts had found that changing the location of services provided from an institutional setting to a community setting was not in itself a fundamental alteration.

After several months of conferring, the parties submitted a voluntary stipulation of dismissal on June 11, 2015. While it is probable that the parties reached a private settlement agreement, no information on any agreement is available. The case is now closed.

Lauren Latterell Powell - 01/07/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Integrated setting
Least restrictive environment
Mobility impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Disparate Treatment
Funding
Government Services (specify)
Payment for care
Wait lists
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Plaintiff Description Adults with physical disabilities who were placed on the waiting list for Pennsylvania's Act 150 Program.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Public Interest Law Center (PILCOP)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Unknown
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
2:13-cv-5670 (E.D. Pa.)
PB-PA-0020-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-PA-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/27/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 11]
PB-PA-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/28/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 37]
PB-PA-0020-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of The United States of America [ECF# 59]
PB-PA-0020-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/12/2014
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal [ECF# 80]
PB-PA-0020-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brody, Anita Blumstein (E.D. Pa.)
PB-PA-0020-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Darr, Kelly L. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0005
Fox, Deena (District of Columbia)
PB-PA-0020-0001
Gold, Stephen F. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0002 | PB-PA-0020-0003 | PB-PA-0020-0005 | PB-PA-0020-9000
Haubert, Dynah E. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0002 | PB-PA-0020-0003 | PB-PA-0020-9000
Hill, Eve L. (District of Columbia)
PB-PA-0020-0001
Resnick, Robin (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0002 | PB-PA-0020-0003 | PB-PA-0020-9000
Rogers, Joshua L (District of Columbia)
PB-PA-0020-0001
Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia)
PB-PA-0020-0001
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PB-PA-0020-0001
Tayloe, Benjamin O. (District of Columbia)
PB-PA-0020-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Cirillo, Gregory F. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0004 | PB-PA-0020-9000
Higson, John J. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0004 | PB-PA-0020-0005 | PB-PA-0020-9000
Wolson, Joshua D. (Pennsylvania)
PB-PA-0020-0004 | PB-PA-0020-0005 | PB-PA-0020-9000

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