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P.G. ex rel. K.G. v. Hamos

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

April 21, 2014

P.G., by and through his mother, K.G.; A.K., by and through his mother, S.K.; M.L., by and through his mother, V.L.; T.K., by and through her mother, L.S.; T.W., by and through her mother, M.R., ; A.F., by an through her parents, S.F. and M.F.; B.A., by and through her legal guardian, J.A.; Sa.F., by and through her mother, J.F.; and C.S., Plaintiffs,
v.
JULIE HAMOS, in her official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, MICHELLE R.B. SADDLER, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Human Services; and THE ILLINOIS MENTAL HEALTH COLLABORATIVE FOR ACCESS AND CHOICE, Defendants.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Defendants Julie Hamos, in her official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and Michelle R.B. Saddler, in her official capacity as Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services ("the State Defendants"), filed a Motion to Dismiss or Transfer Case to Northern District of Illinois (d/e 56). 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 January 2013, Plaintiffs A.K., by and through his mother, S.K., and P.G., by and through his mother, K.G., filed this action against the State Defendants and the Illinois Mental Health Collaborative for Access and Choice[1] ("the Collaborative") (d/e 1). The Amended Complaint filed February 27, 2013 (d/e 13) and the Second Amended Complaint filed March 17, 2013 (d/e 20) added Plaintiffs J.L, by and through his mother, V.L.; T.K., by and through her mother, L.S.; T.W., by and through her mother M.R.; A.F., by and through her parents S.F. and M.F.; B.A., by and through her legal guardian, J.A.; Sa.F., by and through her mother, J.F.; and C.S. Plaintiffs allege they are Medicaid-eligible persons under the age of 21 who have behavioral and emotional disorders but are not being provided with treatment required by federal law.

The Second Amended Complaint 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, brought against all three Defendants); the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and § 1983 (Count 2, brought against the State Defendants), and the Rehabilitation Act (Count 3, brought against the State Defendants). Specifically, Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that Defendants'[2] failure to comply with the mandates of the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act is unlawful. Plaintiffs also seek to enjoin Defendants from subjecting them to practices that violate Plaintiffs' rights under the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act. Plaintiffs seek money damages under the Rehabilitation Act (Count 4, brought against the State Defendants).

Plaintiffs P.G. and C.S. also bring two additional claims against Defendant Saddler and the Collaborative relating to alleged deficiencies in the Individual Care Grant program which is administered by the Department of Human Services. Count 5, titled "Administrative Review-Improper Promulgation of Rule, " alleges that Defendant Saddler's and the Collaborative's decision to discontinue funding for P.G.'s and C.S.'s treatment was not authorized by Illinois law. Count 6, titled "Section 1983-Due Process, " alleges that the Collaborative did not deny Plaintiff P.G. funding for his placement in writing and failed to give both P.G. and C.S. an opportunity for a fair hearing (appeal) of the Collaborative's denials.

In February, March, and May 2013, this Court entered Agreed Orders directing Defendant Hamos, in her official capacity as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, to procure a contract for appropriate treatment and placement at a psychiatric residential treatment facility for Plaintiffs A.K., M.L, T.K., T.W., A.F., B.A., and Sa.F. See d/e 12, 18, 39. Plaintiffs P.G. and C.S. withdrew their requests for emergency relief without prejudice to refiling the motions if the Individual Care Grant program failed to meet their needs. See d/e 38; May 13, 2013 Text Order.

In their response to the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer, Plaintiffs advise the Court that many of them remain in residential treatment. A few Plaintiffs have been discharged home and are receiving treatment in their respective communities. The Plaintiffs that have been discharged are not seeking continued injunctive relief. The remaining Plaintiffs 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. Pls.' Resp., d/e 59, p. 2.

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 four of the same counts (Counts 1 through 4) contained in the Complaint in P.G. et al. v. Hamos. See N.B. v. Hamos , Case No. 11 C 06866, d/e 1. Unlike the P.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. Only N.B., however, seeks damages in Count 4.

The Second Amended Complaint in N.B. v. Hamos differs slightly from the Complaint in P.G. v. Hamos in regard to the relief sought. See Exhibit to Mot. to Dismiss, d/e 61-1. Like the Complaint in P.G. et al. v. Hamos, the Second Amended Complaint in N.B. v. Hamos seeks a declaratory judgment that Defendant's failure to comply with the mandates of the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act is unlawful, an injunction to bar Defendant from subjecting Plaintiffs (and the class) to practices that violate their rights under the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act, money damages for N.B. under the Rehabilitation Act, and attorney's fees and costs.

The Second Amended Complaint also seeks, however, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief for violations of the "integration mandate" and seeks an order requiring Defendant to (1) inform individuals with disabilities that they may be eligible for community-based services and have the choice of such services; (2) regularly provide assessments to determine eligibility for community-based services; and (3) promptly provide appropriate services and support to qualifying individuals in the community, creating a ...


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