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T.G. v. Hamos

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

April 21, 2014

T.G., by and through his mother, Ta.G.; C.B, by and through his mother, K.O.; L.H., by and through her mother L.K.; and M.C., by and through his mother, T.M., Plaintiffs,
v.
JULIE HAMOS, in her official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, Defendant.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Defendant Julie Hamos, in her official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, filed a Motion to Dismiss or Transfer Case to Northern District of Illinois (d/e 21). Defendant asserts that dismissal of this case is warranted because on February 13, 2014 the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois certified a class action in N.B. v. Hamos , Case No. 11 C 06866, which raises identical issues. In the alternative, Defendant asserts that if the Court prefers to transfer the case, the Court should decline to rule on the motion to dismiss and transfer the case to the Northern District. For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer is DENIED. However, the Court, sua sponte, stays this case pending resolution of the class action.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Instant Lawsuit

In November 2012, Plaintiffs T.G., by and through his mother, Ta.G; C.B., by and through his mother, K.O.; L.H., by and through her mother, L.K.; and M.C., by and through his mother, T.M., filed this action. In December 2012, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint. Plaintiffs allege they are Medicaid-eligible persons under the age of 21 who have behavioral or emotional disorders but are not being provided with the treatment required by federal law.

The Amended Complaint (d/e 3) seeks declaratory and injunctive relief for violations of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment ("EPSDT") program of Medicaid and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count 1); the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and § 1983 (Count 2), and the Rehabilitation Act (Count 3). Specifically, Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that Defendant's failure to comply with the mandates of the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act is unlawful. Plaintiffs also seek to enjoin Defendant from subjecting them to practices that violate Plaintiffs' rights under the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiffs request money damages under the Rehabilitation Act (Count 4).

On December 19, 2012, the Court entered an Agreed Order directing Defendant to procure a contract for appropriate treatment and placement at a psychiatric residential treatment facility for Plaintiffs (d/e 11). In their response to the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer, Plaintiffs advise the Court that some of them remain in residential treatment while others have been discharged home and are receiving treatment in their respective communities. Pl.'s Resp., d/e 27, p. 1. Accordingly, those Plaintiffs who have been discharged are not currently seeking any additional injunctive relief and seek only damages and attorney's fees for Defendant's prior conduct. Id . The Plaintiffs who remain in residential treatment are seeking continued injunctive relief but are willing to forgo individual injunctive relief if and when class-based relief is granted that addresses their individual situations. Id. at 2.

Finally, Plaintiff C.B. asserts that he will turn 21 in April 2014 and will no longer qualify for EPSDT services. Therefore, it will be impossible for C.B. to receive any benefit from a potential ruling in the N.B. class action and any future relief awarded to Plaintiff C.B. will be remedial in nature. Id.

In the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Plaintiffs filed in December 2013 (which has not yet been fully briefed), Plaintiffs seek judgment as to liability on all four counts and a trial on the issue of damages in Count 4. Moreover, Plaintiffs assert in the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment that:

Defendant is knowingly denying Plaintiffs and other children medically necessary treatment to which they are entitled to under the EPSDT provisions of the Medicaid Act by forcing them to either forgo treatment altogether or obtain it by subjecting themselves to extended and repeated psychiatric hospitalization[s]. Defendant's conduct is in clear violation of the Medicaid Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act[, ] and the Rehabilitation Act.

Pl. Mot. for Partial Summ. J., d/e 19, p. 6.

B. The N.B. v. Hamos Lawsuit Filed in the Northern District of Illinois

The N.B. v. Hamos lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois was filed in September 2011. The original Complaint, filed solely by plaintiff N.B., contained the same four counts contained in the Complaint in T.G. et al. v. Hamos. See N.B. v. Hamos , Case No. 11 C 06866, d/e 1. Unlike the T.G. Complaint, the N.B. Complaint also contained class action allegations.

N.B.'s Amended Complaint, filed October 12, 2011, and Second Amended Complaint, filed August 23, 2012, included additional plaintiffs. Id. at d/e 15, 54. ...


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