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S.B. ex rel. W.B. v. Hamos

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

April 21, 2014

S.B., by and through her father, W.B., Plaintiff,
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 26). 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 March 2012, Plaintiff S.B., by and through her father, W.B. (collectively referred to as "S.B."), filed this action. S.B. alleges she is a Medicaid-eligible person under the age of 21 who has behavioral and emotional disorders but is not being provided with treatment required by federal law.

The Complaint (d/e 1) 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, S.B. 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. S.B. also seeks to enjoin Defendant from subjecting S.B. to practices that violate S.B.'s rights under the Medicaid Act, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act. S.B. requests money damages under the Rehabilitation Act (Count 4).

In June 2012, this Court entered an Agreed Order directing Defendant to fund S.B.'s placement at Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center ("Lincoln Prairie") (d/e 15). The Agreed Order required that S.B. continue to pursue applications for services through the "Illinois Department of Human Services in the Children and Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities-Residential Waiver or Support Waiver." In the event S.B. was found eligible and accepted for placement or services under either of the waivers, Defendant's obligation to pay for services for S.B. at Lincoln Prairie shall terminate.

In her response to the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer, S.B. advises the Court that she has since been placed in a children's group home through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Children's Residential Waiver Program. Therefore, she is not currently seeking additional injunctive relief but is seeking damages and attorney's fees for Defendant's prior conduct.

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

Defendant is knowingly denying SB 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., p. 7 (d/e 24).

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 S.B. v. Hamos. See N.B. v. Hamos , Case No. 11 C 06866, d/e 1. Unlike the S.B. 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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