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K.P. ex rel. S.P. v. Hamos

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

April 21, 2014

K.P. by and through his father, S.P.; J.F., by and through his Mother, A.F.; D.R., by and through his mother, M.R.; A.P., by and through her mother, P.P.; S.C., by and through her mother, A.T.; and T.R., by and through his mother, C.R., 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 53). 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 February 2012, Plaintiffs K.P., by and through his father, S.P.; J.F., by and through his mother, A.F.; and D.R., by and through his mother, M.R., filed this action. See d/e 1. In April 2012, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint adding A.P., by and through her mother, P.P.; S.C., by and through her mother, A.T.; and T.R., by and through his mother, C.R. See d/e 14. Plaintiffs allege that 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 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); 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 April 5, 2012, the Court entered an Agreed Order directing Defendant to fund J.F.'s placement at Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center ("Lincoln Prairie") (d/e 10). The Agreed Order required that J.F. 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" and the Individual Care Grant Program. In the event J.F. was found eligible and accepted for placement or services under either of the waivers or the Individual Care Grant Program, Defendant's obligation to pay for services for J.F. at Lincoln Prairie shall terminate. The Agreed Order also required that J.F. continue to pursue all appeals for any service authorization denials from his private insurance company for his treatment at Lincoln Prairie.

On May 15, 2012, the Court entered an Agreed Preliminary Relief Order as to Plaintiffs K.P., A.P., and D.R. (d/e 22). The Agreed Order required that Defendant contract for psychiatric residential treatment facility ("PRTF") placement for Plaintiffs K.P., A.P., and D.R. On July 31, 2013, the Court entered an Agreed Order requiring that Defendant procure a contract for appropriate treatment and placement at a PRTF for Plaintiff S.C (d/e 29). Finally, on January 11, 2013, the Court, pursuant to the agreement of the parties, required that Defendant procure a contract for appropriate treatment and placement in a PRTF for Plaintiff T.R. See January 11, 2013 Text Order.

In their response to the Motion to Dismiss or Transfer, Plaintiffs advise the Court that Plaintiffs K.P., D.R., and S.C. remain in PRTFs. Plaintiffs A.P. and T.R. have been successfully discharged after treatment in a PRTF. Plaintiff J.F. is being treated in a group home through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Children's Residential Waiver Program. Therefore, Plaintiffs A.P., T.R., and J.F. are not currently seeking additional injunctive relief and are only seeking damages and attorney's fees for Defendant's prior conduct. Plaintiffs K.P., D.R., and S.C. 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. See Pl.'s Resp., d/e 59, p. 1-2.

Nonetheless, 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 50, p. 12.

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 K.P. et al. v. Hamos. See N.B. v. Hamos , Case No. 11 C 06866, d/e 1. Unlike the K.P. ...


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