DRO, legal partners seek class certification in lawsuit on behalf of people with developmental disabilities

August 22, 2016 / developmental disabilities

Today, Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), the law firm of Sidley Austin, the Center for Public Representation (CPR), and attorney Sam Bagenstos filed a motion for class certification in Ball v. Kasich, the lawsuit the group filed in March 2016. The suit alleges that state officials are violating federal law by administering a service system that denies people with intellectual and developmental disabilities the right to live, work and spend their days in the community.

The motion for class certification defines the class of people represented in the lawsuit as:

  • all Medicaid-eligible adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities residing in the state of Ohio who, on or after March 31, 2016:
  • are institutionalized in an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) with eight or more beds, or
  • are at risk of being institutionalized in an ICF, and
  • who have not documented their opposition to receiving integrated, community-based services.

"The state continues to invest in and maintain a vast system of segregated, institutional facilities, when thousands of people in these facilities can and want to live in integrated, community-based settings," says DRO Executive Director Michael Kirkman. "The state has failed to adequately inform people with disabilities and their families of real alternatives for living, working and spending time in the community. This class action is about expanding options that have been arbitrarily limited."

Many people with disabilities support expanding options. Three statewide organizations wrote letters supporting the litigation: the Coalition for Community Living, People First of Ohio, and the Ohio Olmstead Task Force.

"Individuals with disabilities are often segregated into institutional settings because the services and supports they need to live in the community are simply not available," say Mary Hall and Kim Kelly, Co-Founders of the Coalition for Community Living in the organization's letter of support. "We have long recognized that Ohio's funding of existing community-based services falls drastically short of being able to give all individuals with disabilities the freedom and true options to live, work and socialize in their communities." They conclude, "We support Disability Rights Ohio's lawsuit, and encourage our local and state officials to come together and establish sustainable, adequate supports for all individuals with developmental disabilities."

For more information about this case, visit our website.

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