Case: Benjamin v. Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

1:09-cv-01182 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: June 22, 2009

Closed Date: June 30, 2018

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Individuals with developmental disabilities residing in Pennsylvania's ICF/MR ("intermediate care facilities/intellectual disability") institutions filed this lawsuit claiming that they are inappropriately denied the opportunity to receive services in the community, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act under the 1999 Supreme Court precedent Olmstead v. L.C.. The Plaintiffs argue that they are inappropriately institutionalized. They allege that they are candidates for community …

Individuals with developmental disabilities residing in Pennsylvania's ICF/MR ("intermediate care facilities/intellectual disability") institutions filed this lawsuit claiming that they are inappropriately denied the opportunity to receive services in the community, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act under the 1999 Supreme Court precedent Olmstead v. L.C.. The Plaintiffs argue that they are inappropriately institutionalized. They allege that they are candidates for community placement and that they wish to live in the community, but the state's policies and procedures (including the failure to use certain state assessment tools, the limitation on the availability of Consolidated Waiver funds, and the state's failure to accept funds from the federal government's "Money Follows the Person" program) prevent their community placement. The Plaintiffs filed their complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on June 22, 2009.

The district court (Judge John E. Jones) granted the Plaintiffs' motion for class certification on September 2, 2009. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on on September 24, 2009, but the court denied their motion on January 25, 2010.

On November 10, 2009, a group of ICF/MR residents who wished to continue residing in institutions filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit, claiming that their interests weren't adequately represented by the class. The District Court (Judge Jones) denied this motion on March 10, 2010, finding that the proposed intervenors would not be considered part of the class (because the class was defined by its members' desire to live in the community) and that their interests were not sufficiently affected by the case, because the outcome would only affect those who wanted to leave institutions. On April 5, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the denial of intervention. 432 Fed.Appx. 94.

In June 2010, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. The United States (DOJ Civil Rights Division) filed a brief supporting the Plaintiffs' motion. On January 27, 2011, the court granted summary judgment for the Plaintiffs. Then, on April 29, 2011, the parties entered a settlement agreement and received the court's preliminary approval.

The settlement agreement will, if adopted, create a "Planning List" for ICF/MR residents who wish to transition to the community. The State will implement an integration plan that would move 50 to 100 ICF/MR residents to the community each year for a period of five years and will continue to move individuals on the Planning List to the community until no remaining class members are left in ICF/MR facilities.

In the period leading up to the court's fairness hearing on the class settlement agreement, the group of proposed intervenors (the same individuals whose intervention had been previously denied) once again moved to intervene. On August 16, 2011, the District Court once again denied this motion. Then, on September 2, 2011, the court held a fairness hearing and gave its final approval to the settlement agreement.

The proposed intervenors, however, once again appealed their denial of intervention to the Third Circuit. On December 12, 2012, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court, finding this time that the proposed intervenors had established that they would be adversely affected by the implementation of the settlement agreement, as some ICF/MR institutions would likely close as a result. Therefore, intervention in conjunction with the remedial stage was appropriate. The Court of Appeals ordered that the District Court's September 2011 approval of the settlement agreement be vacated and that the pro-institution individuals be permitted to intervene in order to challenge the settlement and seek decertification of the class. 701 F.3d 938.

On June 11, 2014, Plaintiff and Defendants entered into a revised settlement agreement. The revised settlement agreement was a result of mediation between the plaintiffs, defendants, and the intervenors - thus now recognizing all applicable interests in the case. The revised settlement agreement still utilizes a planning list but at an adequate volume and pace given DPW's budget constraints and administrative burdens. On September 25, 2014, the District Court approved the revised settlement agreement and closed this case.

Summary Authors

Beth Kurtz (3/10/2013)

Maria Ricaurte (2/22/2016)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4905875/parties/benjamin-v-department-of-public-welfare-of-the-commonwealth-of/


Judge(s)

Carlson, Martin C. (Pennsylvania)

Cowen, Robert E. (New Jersey)

Fisher, D. Michael (Pennsylvania)

Fuentes, Julio M. (New Jersey)

Greenaway, Joseph A. Jr. (New Jersey)

Jones, John E. III (Pennsylvania)

Jordan, Kent A. (Delaware)

Stapleton, Walter King (Delaware)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gold, Stephen F. (Pennsylvania)

Haubert, Dynah E. (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Carlson, Martin C. (Pennsylvania)

Cowen, Robert E. (New Jersey)

Fisher, D. Michael (Pennsylvania)

Fuentes, Julio M. (New Jersey)

Greenaway, Joseph A. Jr. (New Jersey)

Jones, John E. III (Pennsylvania)

Jordan, Kent A. (Delaware)

Stapleton, Walter King (Delaware)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gold, Stephen F. (Pennsylvania)

Haubert, Dynah E. (Pennsylvania)

Leisch, Doris M. (Pennsylvania)

Meek, Robert W. (Pennsylvania)

Murphy, Mark J. (Pennsylvania)

Resnick, Robin (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Fellin, Daniel (Pennsylvania)

Ulan, Howard (Pennsylvania)

Warshaw, Allen C. (Pennsylvania)

Other Attorney(s)

Arden, James Daniel (New York)

Bacon, David F. (New York)

Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)

Barkoff, Alison (District of Columbia)

Bohan, Mary (District of Columbia)

Darr, Kelly L. (Pennsylvania)

Esposito, Lesli C. (Pennsylvania)

Goldstein, Sarah M. (New York)

Gross, Mark L. (District of Columbia)

Heep, Jeremy D. (Pennsylvania)

Heller, Nathan P. (Pennsylvania)

Hoffart, Benjamin J. (New York)

Mazor, Marina (District of Columbia)

Murray, William J. (Pennsylvania)

Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)

Pollock, Nathaniel S. (District of Columbia)

Preston, Judith (Judy) C. (District of Columbia)

Rappaport, Nancy S. (Pennsylvania)

Rato, Michael (New York)

Riley, John E. (Pennsylvania)

Smith, Owen H. (New York)

Solano, Carl A. (Pennsylvania)

Trepel, Samantha Kay (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Oct. 17, 2014 Docket
1

Complaint

Benjamin v. Department of Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

June 22, 2009 Complaint
15

Unopposed Motion for Class Certification

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Aug. 31, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief
17

Order Granting Class Certification

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Sept. 2, 2009 Order/Opinion
20

Motion to Dismiss

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Virginia

Sept. 24, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief
21

Brief in Support of Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Sept. 25, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief
22

Plaintiffs' Brief in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Sept. 30, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief
27

Proposed Intervenors' Motion for Intervention Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 24

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Nov. 10, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief
29

Proposed Intervenors' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Intervention

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Nov. 12, 2009 Discovery Material/FOIA Release
34

Plaintiffs' Brief in Opposition to Motion for Intervention Pursuant to Fed. R. CIV. P. 24

Benjamin v. Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Nov. 23, 2009 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4905875/benjamin-v-department-of-public-welfare-of-the-commonwealth-of/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
41

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: The Applicant's Motion to Intervene 27 has been DENIED. Signed by Honorable John E. Jones, III on 3/10/10. (pw, )

March 10, 2010 RECAP
280

MEMORANDUM (Attachments: # 1 Settlement Agreement)(eo, )

Sept. 2, 2011 RECAP
355

MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry) (eo)

Sept. 25, 2014 RECAP
356

ORDER (memorandum filed previously as separate docket entry) 1. The Court APPROVES the proposed Settlement Class and FINDS that the Settlement Agreement is fair, reasonable, and adequate; 2. Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion for Final Approval of the Propo sed Revised Class Action Settlement Agreement (Doc. 345) is GRANTED; 3. The Settlement Agreement is APPROVED; 4. Plaintiffs Unopposed Motion for Attorneys Fees, Litigation Expenses, and Costs (Doc. 348) is GRANTED; 5. Defendants will pay Plaintiffs c ounsel the sum of $532,500.00 forattorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs incurred; 6. Intervenors Joint Unopposed Motion for Attorneys Fees, Litigation Expenses, and Costs (Doc. 350) is GRANTED; 7. Defendants will pay Intervenors counsel the sum of $399,500.00 for attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and costs incurred, in accordance with the Motion; 8. This action is hereby DISMISSED and the Clerk is directed to CLOSE this case; and 9. The Court expressly retains jurisdiction as set forth in the Settlement Agreement, in order to enter any further orders that may be necessary or appropriate in administering or implementing the terms and provisions of the settlement agreement. (eo)

Sept. 25, 2014 RECAP

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Olmstead Cases

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 22, 2009

Closing Date: June 30, 2018

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiffs are individuals with developmental disabilities who reside in ICF/MR institutions in Pennsylvania but wish to live in the community.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations

Steve Gold

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Hospital/Health Department

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

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Attorneys fees

None yet

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

None yet

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Order Duration: 2011 - 2016

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Discrimination Prohibition

Reporting

Monitoring

Issues

General:

Deinstitutionalization/decarceration

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

Wait lists

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Integrated setting

Least restrictive environment

Mental impairment

Mental Disability:

Intellectual/developmental disability, unspecified

Medical/Mental Health:

Intellectual/Developmental Disability

Type of Facility:

Government-run

Benefit Source:

Medicaid