BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A class action lawsuit was filed today in federal court against Gov. Andrew Cuomo seeking expanded certified residential living opportunities for all adults with developmentally disabilities. The lawsuit is the first of its kind in an attempt to obtain favorable resolution on the matter and end what many people refer to as a running eight-year moratorium on providing such opportunities for these adults.
"For far too long, adults with developmental disabilities and their families and caregivers have been pawns in a state bureaucratic game that continues to discriminate against individuals over the age of 21 from living outside their homes in a caring, nurturing and supportive setting," said Bruce A. Goldstein, special counsel with the law firm of Kenney, Shelton, Liptak, Nowak LLP, who filed the action on behalf of the plaintiffs.
Currently, more than 11,000 individuals with development disabilities statewide have requested and are awaiting placement by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in an appropriate supported community residential opportunity. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of more than 2,000 eligible individuals alone in Western New York and their families and caregivers.
The lack of sufficient living opportunities is of special importance as family members and caregivers become older or even die while their adult child is still relegated to home. It has been estimated that more than 60 percent of those eligible persons awaiting placement by OPWDD have caregivers who themselves are experiencing health or other issues impacting their ability to provide care.
The class action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, the Western District of New York. Plaintiffs are a group of individuals and family members from Western New York who are affected by the insufficient availability of appropriate adult residential settings. In addition to Gov. Cuomo, Kerry Delaney, acting OPWDD commissioner, is also named as a defendant.
The lawsuit seeks a declaration that Cuomo and Delaney violated their obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act to administer services in the most integrated setting possible and an order directing them to remedy unlawful conditions by providing sufficient appropriate supported community residential opportunities to the plaintiffs.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lawsuit-wants-gov-cuomo-acting-opwdd-commissioner-to-expand-residential-living-opportunities-for-adults-with-developmental-disabilities-300327305.html
SOURCE Kenney, Shelton, Liptak, Nowak LLP