U.S. v. New York – 13-cv-4165 – (E.D.N.Y. 2013)

On July 23, 2013, the United States, individual plaintiffs, and the State of New York filed a settlement agreement in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  The parties filed an amended settlement agreement on January 30, 2014, and the court approved the settlement agreement on March 17, 2014. The agreement remedies discrimination by the State in the administration of its mental health service system and ensures that individuals with mental illness who reside in 23 large adult homes in New York City receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs consistent with the ADA and Olmstead.  Under the agreement, such individuals will have the opportunity to live and receive services in the community such that they are able to live, work, and participate fully in community life. Prior to the agreement, the parties litigated these issues in Disability Advocates v. Paterson, in the District Court and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  In that case, following a trial on the merits, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that New York State officials and agencies discriminated against thousands of people with mental illness by administering the State’s mental health service system in a manner that segregated them in large, institutional adult homes and denied them the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. The DOJ intervened during the remedy phase of the case and participated in the appeal.  On April 6, 2012, the Second Circuit vacated the remedial order and judgment of the District Court and dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction.

Over the next five years, New York will provide scattered-site supported housing to at least 2,000, and potentially more than 4,000, adult home residents.  New York has also committed to providing people moving to supported housing with the community-based services and supports that will allow them to thrive in the community.  The agreement also will ensure that adult home residents have the information they need to make an informed choice about where to live.  If they choose to move to supported housing, they will participate in a person-centered, transition planning process.  An independent reviewer with extensive experience in mental health systems will monitor the state’s compliance with the agreement.

DOJ Site for Olmstead