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Case Name M.G. v. Cuomo MH-NY-0012
Docket / Court 7:19-cv-00639 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Mental Health (Facility)
Prison Conditions
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
On January 23, 2019, six indigent prison inmates with mental illness whom the defendants held in secure prisons past their release dates filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of other prisoners in similar situations. The ... read more >
On January 23, 2019, six indigent prison inmates with mental illness whom the defendants held in secure prisons past their release dates filed this class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of other prisoners in similar situations. The plaintiffs sued the Governor of New York, the New York State Office of Mental Health, Commissioner, Associate Commissioner, and the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision ("DOCCS"), alleging that the defendants failed to make available community-based housing and supportive services that the plaintiffs require upon release. As a result, plaintiffs were allegedly held in state prison past their lawful release dates (in some cases over a year). The plaintiffs also alleged that during this prolonged time in prison, the defendants subjected them to solitary confinement and even revoked the approved release status of the inmates in response to the inmates' reporting of violations.

The plaintiffs sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12132, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C § 794, and 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Represented by the Legal Aid Society and Disability Rights New York, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief for the alleged unconstitutional and discriminatory practices to which the defendants subjected them. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked that the defendants make release possible by developing the community-based mental health housing programs that the defendants have imposed as a precondition for the plaintiff's discharge from prison, and by creating an effective plan for community integration. The case was assigned to Judge Cathy Seibel.

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on June 3, 2019. After some discovery, defendant Cuomo filed a motion to dismiss the entire action against him on December 16, 2019. The motion alleged that all claims against him should be dismissed as moot because he had no direct involvement in securing housing or community-based services for the plaintiffs. The motion further alleges that all claims from five of the six plaintiffs should be dismissed as moot because they had since been released to community residences. Defendant Cuomo claimed sovereign immunity regarding the claims of the remaining one plaintiff not yet released.

On August 10, 2020, before a ruling on the motion to dismiss, the plaintiffs requested leave to amend their complaint, which was granted by Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith on August 26. The second amended complaint was filed on August 27, 2020.

Judge Seibel issued a bench ruling on the earlier motion to dismiss on September 25, 2020, granting the motion to dismiss as to the substantive due process claim, but otherwise denying the motion. Additionally, Judge Seibel found that the PLRA and its exhaustion requirements did not apply to the Residential Treatment Facility subclass, which includes those who were incarcerated past the maximum expiration dates of their court-imposed prison sentences. 2020 WL 5038525. The court also dismissed Governor Cuomo as a defendant. Judge Seibel ordered the defendants to submit their pre-motion letter or answer as to the second amended complaint by October 16, 2020.

On September 29, 2021, Judge Seibel issued another bench ruling, denying the plaintiffs' Olmstead risk of institutionalization claims, which were filed on behalf of individuals who were released from prison to inappropriate and segregated settings, including homeless shelters. The case is ongoing.

Lisa Koo - 03/16/2019
Alex Moody - 05/25/2020
Rachel Harrington - 10/14/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Defendant-type
Corrections
Hospital/Health Department
Jurisdiction-wide
Disability
Mental impairment
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Confinement/isolation
Discharge & termination plans
Housing assistance
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in mental health facilities
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) New York State
New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
New York State Office of Mental Health
Plaintiff Description Six indigent prison inmates with mental illness who are being held in prison past their release dates because of a shortage of community-based housing, on behalf of a class of people with serious mental whom the defendants hold in prisons past their release dates.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 01/23/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Review of the Use of Monitors in Civil Settlement Agreements and Consent Decrees Involving State and Local Government Entities
U.S. Department of Justice
Date: 9/13/2021
By: Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assoc. AG Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Legal Aid and DRNY File Class Action Lawsuit Against NYS Over Practice of Keeping New Yorkers with Mental Illness Incarcerated Past Their Release Dates
The Legal Aid Society
Date: Jan. 23, 2019
By: Redmond Haskins and Katrin Haldeman
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
S.D.N.Y.
09/25/2020
7:19−cv−00639−CS
MH-NY-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D.N.Y.
01/23/2019
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
MH-NY-0012-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
06/03/2019
First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 47]
MH-NY-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
12/16/2019
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 80]
MH-NY-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
08/27/2020
Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 134]
MH-NY-0012-0006.pdf | Detail
S.D.N.Y.
09/25/2020
Proceedings [ECF# 140]
MH-NY-0012-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
01/08/2021
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendants' Partial Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 158]
MH-NY-0012-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
02/05/2021
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants' Partial Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Class Action Complaint [ECF# 159]
MH-NY-0012-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
02/12/2021
Statement of Interest of the United States of America [ECF# 161]
MH-NY-0012-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Seibel, Cathy (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-9000
Smith, Lisa Margaret (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hanna, Chantalle (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0009
Landriscina, Elena Maria (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0002 | MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0007 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Margolis, Samuel (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Parker, Crystal Lohmann (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Quackenbush, Robert Matthew (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Ricciardi, Walter G. (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0007 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Rosenthal, Joshua M (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0007 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Sabel, Janet E. (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003
Short, Stefen Russell (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0002 | MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0007 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Sterling, Betsy (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Vance, Emily A. (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0007 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Vela, Veronica (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003 | MH-NY-0012-0006 | MH-NY-0012-0009 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Werlas, Mary Lynne (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0003
Witte, Marie Noonan (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-9000
Woods, Elizabeth (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0009
Zuraw, Lane B (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Goldberg, Jane R. (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0005 | MH-NY-0012-0008 | MH-NY-0012-9000
Harben, Jeb (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0005 | MH-NY-0012-0008 | MH-NY-0012-9000
James, Letitia (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0005 | MH-NY-0012-0008
Other Lawyers Strauss, Audrey (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0010
Sun, Anthony Jan-Huan (New York) show/hide docs
MH-NY-0012-0010

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