Case: Clinton L. v. Cansler

1:10-cv-00123 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

Filed Date: Feb. 11, 2010

Closed Date: March 29, 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

The Plaintiffs are individuals with dual diagnoses of intellectual disabilities and mental illness who receive 24-hour in-home care through North Carolina Medicaid, administered in their county by Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare (PBH) (the local management entity). The Plaintiffs receive care through the state-funded "Supervised Living" service and the North Carolina "Innovations Waiver." In early 2010, PBH announced that it was reducing reimbursement rates for service providers. On February 11…

The Plaintiffs are individuals with dual diagnoses of intellectual disabilities and mental illness who receive 24-hour in-home care through North Carolina Medicaid, administered in their county by Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare (PBH) (the local management entity). The Plaintiffs receive care through the state-funded "Supervised Living" service and the North Carolina "Innovations Waiver." In early 2010, PBH announced that it was reducing reimbursement rates for service providers. On February 11, 2010, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina against the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services of North Carolina and PBH, challenging these rate reductions and alleging that the reductions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the complaint, the rate reduction would ultimately reduce the services that allow the Plaintiffs to live in the community and receive community-based treatment. Without the option of community-based treatment, the Plaintiffs faced the risk of being institutionalized. The Plaintiffs argued that this risk of unnecessary institutionalization amounted to a violation of both the ADA (under the Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which held that the unjustified institutionalization of individuals with disabilities is a form of discrimination under the ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The Plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction, and the United States filed a statement of interest in support of this motion. On May 12, 2010, the court (Judge James A. Beaty) denied the motion in part (with respect to enjoining the rate reductions or otherwise setting specific reimbursement rates) but granted it in limited part, ordering the Defendants to ensure that all plaintiffs were provided with community-based care throughout the course of this litigation.

The case proceeded to the discovery phase. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on August 16, 2010, arguing that the Plaintiffs lacked standing, that the case was not ripe for litigation, and that the Plaintiffs had failed to state a claim because there is no federal right to be served in a single-serve placement or by a particular provider. Ultimately, the court denied this motion in June 2011, and also denied the Plaintiffs' request to appoint a special master to oversee the allocation of services to the Plaintiffs. After several more months of discovery, the Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment in January 2012, claiming that although there had been some service changes, each plaintiff lives in the community and faces no risk of institutionalization due to the current reimbursement rates. On October 31, 2012, the court denied the motion for summary judgment, finding that issues of fact remained as to the risk of institutionalization that the Plaintiffs currently face.

At the end of discovery, the Plaintiffs filed their third amended complaint. While the original complaint alleged claims on behalf of a putative class, the final amended complaint alleged claims on behalf of six individual plaintiffs. The amended complaint also added a claim for one named plaintiff under ADA regulation 28 C.F.R. §35, alleging that the Defendants had violated the regulation by failing to take into account this plaintiff’s deafness and failing to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services.

On July 24, 2013, the case was reassigned to Judge N.C. Tilley, Jr. The case proceeded to a 39-day trial beginning on September 10, 2013. On August 28, 2014, the Court ruled in favor of the Defendants, finding that the Plaintiffs could not carry the burden of proof as to any of their claims. The court held that no plaintiff was able to show that (1) he or she was at a “serious risk of institutionalization” and that (2) the Defendants’ reimbursement rate reduction was “substantially related” to that serious risk of institutionalization. With respect to the ADA regulation claim, the court held that the Plaintiffs could not show that there was a discrepancy in the quality of care. The Court explained that this claim focused almost entirely on the discrepancy in American Sign Language (ASL) abilities between the patient and his staff as opposed to other deaf-oriented accommodations. Because the facility provided ASL training to the staff and they were able to sign basic communication as this particular patient needed, the Court found that there was insufficient evidence that discrepancies between the plaintiff’s ASL ability and staff’s resulted in unequal quality of care. 2014 WL 4274251.

The Plaintiffs filed a motion to alter or amend the judgment (under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e)), arguing primarily that Fourth Circuit precedent ((Pashby v. Delia, 709 F.3d 307 (4th Cir. 2013)) only required plaintiffs to show a “significant” risk of institutionalization rather than a “serious” or “severe” one. On March 29, 2016, the Court denied the motion, reasoning that the court in Pashby did not intend to alter the existing standard espoused by the DOJ. The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Beth Kurtz (2/6/2013)

Sara Stearns (5/11/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4987739/parties/clinton-l-v-wos/


Judge(s)

Beaty, James A. Jr. (North Carolina)

Tilley, Norwood Carlton Jr. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bills, Jennifer L. (Massachusetts)

Rittelmeyer, John R. (North Carolina)

Strickland, Andrew B. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Corbett, Lisa G. (North Carolina)

Hollowell, Wallace C. (North Carolina)

Martin, Stephen D. (North Carolina)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Beaty, James A. Jr. (North Carolina)

Tilley, Norwood Carlton Jr. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bills, Jennifer L. (Massachusetts)

Rittelmeyer, John R. (North Carolina)

Strickland, Andrew B. (North Carolina)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Corbett, Lisa G. (North Carolina)

Hollowell, Wallace C. (North Carolina)

Martin, Stephen D. (North Carolina)

Other Attorney(s)

Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)

Beck, Gill P. (North Carolina)

Holder, Eric H. Jr. (District of Columbia)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:10-cv-00123

Docket

March 29, 2016

March 29, 2016

Docket
5

1:10-cv-00123

Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injuction

Clinton v. Cansler

Feb. 11, 2010

Feb. 11, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
1

1:10-cv-00123

Complaint-Class Action

Clinton v. Cansler

Feb. 11, 2010

Feb. 11, 2010

Complaint
4

1:10-cv-00123

Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction

Clinton v. Cansler

Feb. 11, 2010

Feb. 11, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
14

1:10-cv-00123

Statement of Interest of the United States of America

Clinton v. Cansler

Feb. 16, 2010

Feb. 16, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
22

1:10-cv-00123

Renewed Motion for Preliminary Injuction

Clinton v. Cansler

April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
23

1:10-cv-00123

Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs' Renewed in Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Clinton v. Cansler

April 7, 2010

April 7, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
36

1:10-cv-00123

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Clinton v. Cansler

May 12, 2010

May 12, 2010

Order/Opinion
44

1:10-cv-00123

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Clinton v. Cansler

Aug. 16, 2010

Aug. 16, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief
45

1:10-cv-00123

Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dimiss

Clinton v. Cansler

Aug. 16, 2010

Aug. 16, 2010

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4987739/clinton-l-v-wos/

Last updated Aug. 6, 2022, 3:22 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
102

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER signed by CHIEF JUDGE JAMES A. BEATY, JR on 10/31/2012; that Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment [Doc. # 86 & # 88 ] are DENIED. (Sheets, Jamie)

Oct. 31, 2012

Oct. 31, 2012

RECAP
161

MEMORANDUM OPINION signed by JUDGE N. C. TILLEY, JR on 8/28/2014 as set out herein, the Court finds in favor of Defendants. A final judgment will issue in favor of Defendants and against Plaintiffs. (Sheets, Jamie)

Aug. 28, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014

RECAP

Exhibits Destroyed

May 19, 2021

May 19, 2021

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: North Carolina

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Olmstead Cases

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 11, 2010

Closing Date: March 29, 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness. They receive 24-hour care through a Medicaid Supervised Living program.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

NC Department of Health and Human Services, State

Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare (PBH), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Hospital/Health Department

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Source of Relief:

Litigation

None

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Deinstitutionalization/decarceration

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

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

disability, unspecified

Hearing impairment

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Mental Illness, Unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Intellectual disability/mental illness dual diagnosis

Benefit Source:

Medicaid