Case: Washington State Coalition for the Homeless v. DSHS

91-15889 | Washington state trial court

Filed Date: 1991

Closed Date: Dec. 24, 1997

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

In 1991, the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, along with several homeless families with children, filed this class action suit against Washington's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in the Superior Court of Washington for King County. Represented by public and private counsel, Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory damages, alleging violations of state and federal statutes, in addition to state and federal constitutional provision…

In 1991, the Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, along with several homeless families with children, filed this class action suit against Washington's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in the Superior Court of Washington for King County. Represented by public and private counsel, Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory damages, alleging violations of state and federal statutes, in addition to state and federal constitutional provisions. Specifically, Plaintiffs alleged that DSHS's failure to assist homeless families, including those who need housing assistance to prevent or shorten foster care placement, violated their mandatory duties under state law, the federal Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, and the liberty and privacy protections of the due process clauses of the federal and state constitutions.

On August 21, 1992, the Court (Judge Ann Schlinder) granted in part Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's federal statutory claims. On December 15, 1992, the Court certified a class of all present and future families with homeless children, and all families who needed or would need housing assistance to prevent or shorten their children's foster placement.

On February 16, 1994, the Court held that in dependency cases the Superior Court had the power to order the state agency to provide housing assistance when homelessness is the primary factor for foster placement. The Court also held that state law required the agency to implement a plan to adequately assist homeless families.

After a May 31, 1994 trial, the Court ruled that the agency's plan was inadequate to address the needs of homeless children. Both parties appealed to the Washington Supreme Court, challenging three separate orders by the trial Court.

On December 24, 1997, the Washington Supreme Court (Richard P. Guy, J.) affirmed the trial court's decision on all counts, finding that dependency courts have the authority to order DSHS to provide housing assistance to homeless families; that DSHS must "perform its duty according to professionally accepted procedures and standards"; that an adequate plan must include prevention assistance, emergency shelter assistance, transitional assistance to get children out of shelters and into stable housing, and a process for ongoing monitoring and evaluation; and that DSHS's planning process must include coordination within DSHS's divisions and with other state agencies. Washington's legislature responded to the court's ruling with legislation codifying the ruling and substantial increases in funding. In 2000, plaintiffs joined the defendants in seeking dismissal of the suit.

Summary Authors

Timothy Shoffner (7/13/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Guy, Richard P. (Washington)

Schindler, Ann (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Mirra, Michael (Washington)

Salzarulo, Lori (Washington)

Vaughn, Carol (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Clark-Mahoney, Charlotte E. (Washington)

Collins, Michael W. (Washington)

Gregoire, Christine O. (Washington)

McArdle, Trisha L. (Washington)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Judge(s)

Guy, Richard P. (Washington)

Schindler, Ann (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Mirra, Michael (Washington)

Salzarulo, Lori (Washington)

Vaughn, Carol (Washington)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Clark-Mahoney, Charlotte E. (Washington)

Collins, Michael W. (Washington)

Gregoire, Christine O. (Washington)

McArdle, Trisha L. (Washington)

Other Attorney(s)

Keyt, Aaron (Washington)

Reinmuth, Jill Hanson (Washington)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Rees, Anne D. (Washington)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

91-2-15889-4

Stipulation of Facts

Sept. 1, 1993

Sept. 1, 1993

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15899

Brief of Amici Curiae

Sept. 15, 1993

Sept. 15, 1993

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15889-4

Defendants' Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

Sept. 15, 1993

Sept. 15, 1993

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15889-4

Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

Sept. 15, 1993

Sept. 15, 1993

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15889-4

Plaintiffs' Memorandum Opposing Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion

Oct. 8, 1993

Oct. 8, 1993

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15889-4

Defendants' Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

Oct. 18, 1993

Oct. 18, 1993

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15889-4

Order on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment

Feb. 18, 1994

Feb. 18, 1994

Order/Opinion

91-2-15889-4

Motion for Reconsideration/Amendment of Judgment

May 26, 1994

May 26, 1994

Pleading / Motion / Brief

91-2-15889-4

Transcript of Proceedings

May 26, 1994

May 26, 1994

Transcript

Letter Re: Settlement

No Court

Sept. 23, 1994

Sept. 23, 1994

Correspondence

Docket

Last updated Sept. 8, 2022, 3:04 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Washington

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Key Dates

Filing Date: 1991

Closing Date: Dec. 24, 1997

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

families of homeless children at risk of lengthened placement in foster care without assistance from department

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: Granted

Defendants

State of Washington, State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Reporting

Issues

General:

Family reunification

Housing assistance

Juveniles

Placement in shelters

Poverty/homelessness

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)

Benefit Source:

Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act