Judge Rejects Class-Action Status In Discrimination Suit
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 14, 2005
LINCOLN, NEBRASKA--A federal judge ruled last week that a disability discrimination suit filed on behalf of seven Nebraskans with developmental disabilities should not be granted class-action status.
Nebraska Advocacy Services, the state's federally mandated Protection and Advocacy system, filed the suit in 2003. It claimed that Nebraska is violating the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and federal Medicaid law by failing to fund in-home and community services through Medicaid waivers.
The failure to provide the services leaves about 800 people on a waiting list, and places many of them at risk of being institutionalized because their parents are not able to support them in their homes, the suit claims.
On Thursday, however, U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf denied class-action status in the case. Kopf explained that the circumstances of each individual case are too specific and diverse for them to be considered a class.
According to the Associated Press, the ruling means that more than 1,400 other people with developmental disabilities will be prohibited from joining the case.
As of the end of 2002, about 400 Nebraskans were housed in state-operated institutions.