Case: McCain v. Koch

0041023/1983 | New York state trial court

Filed Date: 1983

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This action, filed in 1983, challenged the City's and State's failure to provide safe, suitable and adequate emergency housing, assistance and services to homeless families with children, as mandated by Article XVII of the State Constitution, the Equal Protection clause, the State Social Services Law, and State regulations.A landmark decision in this case holds that the Constitution and laws of the State of New York require New York City and State to provide emergency housing to all homeless fa…

This action, filed in 1983, challenged the City's and State's failure to provide safe, suitable and adequate emergency housing, assistance and services to homeless families with children, as mandated by Article XVII of the State Constitution, the Equal Protection clause, the State Social Services Law, and State regulations.

A landmark decision in this case holds that the Constitution and laws of the State of New York require New York City and State to provide emergency housing to all homeless families with children. McCain v. Koch, 117 A.D.2d 198 (1st Dept. 1986). Subsequent decisions have upheld the power of the courts to set minimum standards of decency and habitability for emergency shelters, McCain v. Koch, 70 N.Y.2d 109 (1987), and to compel officials to comply with those court-ordered standards. McCain v. Koch, 136 A.D.2d 473 (1st Dep't 1988); McCain v. Dinkins, 84 N.Y.2d 216 (1996). Together these cases resulted in the establishment, unusual in the United States, of a right to shelter in New York City

On August 16, 2005, the trial court found that the City's eligibility process for emergency shelter for families with children continued to result in serious errors and that "families who had been victims of violence or abuse or who clearly had no safe alternative shelter available were found ineligible" for emergency shelter. The court also found that State Administrative Memorandum 05 ADM-07, which would permit the City defendants to deny emergency shelter to some re-applicants, does not on its face conflict with Local Law § 21-313 or prior orders in the litigation.

On January 8, 2007, the plaintiffs moved for an order enjoining the City defendants from erroneously denying shelter to children and their families who are eligible for it, and erroneously determining that children and their families who reapply for shelter are ineligible for "immediate needs" shelter pursuant to the City's shelter re-application procedure. The plaintiffs claimed that at least one in three families to whom the City denied "immediate needs" shelter were eventually found to be eligible for ongoing shelter.

On September 7, 2005, the court permitted implementation of the ADM but directed the City to "make sure alternate housing is available" to applicant families with children before denying emergency shelter to them and to provide implementation progress reports to the court and the plaintiffs.

On September 19, 2008, after 25 years of litigation, spanning four mayoral administrations, the parties reached a settlement.

The main lawsuit being settled was McCain v. Koch, filed after similar lawsuits had been filed over the rights of homeless men and women. Those lawsuits had resulted in the establishment, unusual in the United States, of a right to shelter in New York City.

Under the settlement, the parties agreed a new case would be filed, captioned Boston v. City of New York, and, following a class action settlement hearing, all cases against the city and state, as well as the new one, would be dismissed. The city would regain full control and oversight of its family services system, "no longer having to enforce over 40 highly-detailed court orders or spend precious staff time and agency resources complying with or litigating these cases," City Hall said in a statement.

The settlement ended in 2012, and the case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Denise Heberle (4/3/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Bellacosa, Joseph W. (New York)

Ellerin, Betty Weinberg (New York)

Freedman, Helen E. (New York)

Hancock, Stewart F. Jr. (New York)

Kassal, Bentley (New York)

Lerner, Alfred D. (New York)

Mazzarelli, Angela M (New York)

Rosenberger, Ernst H. (New York)

Silbermann, Jacqueline W. (New York)

Sullivan, Joseph P. (New York)

Judge(s)

Bellacosa, Joseph W. (New York)

Ellerin, Betty Weinberg (New York)

Freedman, Helen E. (New York)

Hancock, Stewart F. Jr. (New York)

Kassal, Bentley (New York)

Lerner, Alfred D. (New York)

Mazzarelli, Angela M (New York)

Rosenberger, Ernst H. (New York)

Silbermann, Jacqueline W. (New York)

Sullivan, Joseph P. (New York)

Williams, Milton L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Banks, Steven (New York)

Barnett, Helaine (New York)

Finkel, Kalman (New York)

Kirklin, John E. (New York)

Leary, Shawn P. (New York)

Rosenberg, Scott Alan (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Armstrong, Joseph (New York)

Cardozo, Michael A. (New York)

Crane, Thomas (New York)

Crotty, Paul Austin (New York)

Goode-Trufant, Muriel (New York)

Koerner, Leonard J. (New York)

Krams, Alan G (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Fried, Arthur J. (New York)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Greenfield, Edward J. (New York)

Rubin, Asher (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

0041023/1983

Docket

New York state supreme court

Dec. 12, 2008

Dec. 12, 2008

Docket

Administrative Directive (to Commissioner of Social Services)

No Court

Sept. 29, 1983

Sept. 29, 1983

Other

Memorandum (to Center Directors from Deputy Administrator for Inome Maintenance Programs)

No Court

Dec. 7, 1983

Dec. 7, 1983

Justification Memo

Memorandum (to Center Directors from Deputy Administrator for Income Maintenance Programs)

No Court

Dec. 9, 1983

Dec. 9, 1983

Correspondence

Memorandum (to Commissioner from General Counsel NYC)

No Court

Jan. 5, 1984

Jan. 5, 1984

Correspondence

0041023/1983

Opinion of the Court (granting preliminary injunction, granting leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and denying class certification)

New York state supreme court

127 Misc.2d 23

June 22, 1984

June 22, 1984

Order/Opinion

0041023/1983

Opinion of the Court (reversing Supreme Court 6/27/1984 order denying motion to vacate TRO, and reversing certification of class)

New York state supreme court

117 A.D.2d 198

May 13, 1986

May 13, 1986

Order/Opinion

0041023/1983

Appellants' Brief

New York state appellate court

Nov. 14, 1986

Nov. 14, 1986

Pleading / Motion / Brief

0041023/1983

Opinion of the Court (reversing lower court's modified order vacating injunction)

New York state appellate court

70 N.Y.S.2d 109

June 4, 1987

June 4, 1987

Order/Opinion

0041023/1983

Opinion of the Court (Supreme Court, reinstating injunction)

New York state supreme court

136 A.D.2d 473

Jan. 12, 1988

Jan. 12, 1988

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1983

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Homeless woman who was denied shelter by the City of New York, New York.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

New York City (New York City, New York), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2008 - 2010