NEW YORK, Nov. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The ongoing legal battle of the family of Rasheen Rose, a severely autistic man who was killed while being "cared for" by a NY State-run facility, has taken another turn as Shaniece Luke, Rasheen's sister, has filed another cause of action against the state, this time for "unjust enrichment." As the lawsuit states:
"Generally, a claim for unjust enrichment is satisfied when a party can show (1) the other party was enriched, (2) at the party's expense, and (3) that it is against equity and good conscience to permit the other party to retain what is sought to be recovered."
Put more simply, in words that the average person better understands, Ms. Luke is suing NY State for raking in millions of dollars that were earmarked for the care of her brother, money that was improperly diverted elsewhere; leading directly to the death of Rasheen. The court papers lay this out:
"On or about March 11, 2014, THE STATE provided the claimant with a bill "FOR SERVICES AND ITEMS FURNISHED TO: RASHEEN ROSE" in the amount of $11,672,701.66. This amount represents the amount of funds THE STATE received on behalf of RASHEEN through the Medicaid program. The funds were supposed to be used for services and items that were actually received by RASHEEN. THE STATE has recently waived the collection of the funds. However, upon review of the services and items that were actually received by RASHEEN, it is clear that THE STATE has been unjustly enriched at the expense of RASHEEN. RASHEEN was habitually abused by untrained staff, even though THE STATE received more than adequate funds to ensure the proper care for RASHEEN."
In essence, instead of insuring that Rasheen Rose, and undoubtedly many others like him, receive the proper care they deserve, NY State shortchanges the mentally impaired for its own enrichment. As Aaron C. DePass, an attorney for the family points out:
"What happened to Rasheen Rose, his abuse and ultimate death, is just the tip of an iceberg. Unfortunately, this maltreatment is all too common, and all of the supposed reforms implemented a few years ago have amounted to very little real change in the care of this vulnerable population. Yet, in spite of these continued failures, New York State is still unconscionably cashing the federal checks and pocketing the money."
The amount of the state's enrichment is staggering, and the death of Rasheen, and the mistreatment of many other mentally impaired people, can be attributed to this habitual pattern of unjust enrichment by state agencies that are denying care to those in most need of it. As the court papers explain:
"THE STATE received approximately $5,000.00 per day for the care of RASHEEN through the Medicaid program, up to the time of his death. However, the services and items actually provided to RASHEEN by THE STATE amounted to approximately $500.00 per day. Thus, THE STATE misappropriated the balance of the Medicaid funds, or approximately $4,500 per day, it had received to provide for the care of RASHEEN. As such, THE STATE failed to use the vast majority of funds provided to it on behalf of RASHEEN for his proper care and maintenance, constituting a gross unjust enrichment to THE STATE. It would be patently unfair and unjust for THE STATE to be permitted to retain the millions of dollars it received for RASHEEN's care, but used for other purposes, leaving RASHEEN to be murdered by untrained staff, while living in deplorable conditions. The contemplation of such an outcome goes against the principles of equity and good conscience observed by the laws of New York State."
Ms. Luke is suing the state for damages because its agencies charged with caring for our most vulnerable populations, while lavishly funded by the tax payer, routinely failed to properly care for her brother and ultimately precipitated his death:
"RASHEEN sustained multiple personal injuries including but not limited to, injury to the head, face, throat, mouth, vital organs, chest, back, legs, arms, causing severe pain and suffering, and such damages ultimately caused the wrongful death of RASHEEN. All of the damages are permanent and continuing into the future."
The action by Ms. Luke is designed to bring a measure of justice for the maltreatment experienced by her brother. At the same time, she believes that by shedding light on the systemic abuse experienced by the mentally impaired under NY State care, she can insure that those currently in residence at state-run facilities will be afforded the proper care that Rasheen should have received, but unfortunately did not. As she says:
"I want the abuse to end so that no one ever is forced to undergo the kind of treatment my brother was forced to endure. If the state can receive reimbursement in the tens of millions for the mentally impaired, they have the obligation to insure that the money goes to the right place: for the actual care of those in need."
SOURCE Attorney Robert Santoriella, Esq.