Elderly and Disabled Low-Income New Yorkers Sue City for Better Protective Services

  • 4/16/2007
  • Brennan Center For Justice
  • Source: New York > Disability Rights
Low-income, elderly, and disabled New York City residents could benefit from a recent class action lawsuit filed by two women who claim that the City's Adult Protective Services (APS), administered by the Human Resources Administration (HRA), has not complied with state and federal laws. The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) represents the plaintiffs in the suit, Belovic v. Doar, which was filed on April 10, 2007 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Madelaine Andrews, a plaintiff in the case who, because she is unable to walk, cannot leave her apartment, says, "APS promised me they would help me find a new place to live and then completely abandoned me. As a result, I wasn't able to leave my house for over six months, until I had a heart attack and an ambulance came to take me away." The suit claims that, among other concerns, the failures of APS mean that elderly New Yorkers and people with disabilities are unnecessarily put in nursing homes, do not receive necessary medical care, and sometimes go without food. NYLAG claims that HRA's inadequate administration of APS violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, New York Social Services Law, and the federal and state constitutions. Jane Greengold Stevens, a NYLAG attorney working on the case, says, "In the long run, we are looking for institutional reform of the agency. They are totally overwhelmed. They are very understaffed. Their staff has caseloads that are much too high. They are not trained well."

News Release, New York City's Most Vulnerable Left Unprotected; NYLAG Files Federal Class Action Challenging Unlawful Failure to Protect Mentally and Physically Disabled Adults From Harm, PR Newswire US, April 10, 2007; Lawsuit Claims NYC Agency Fails to Care for Disabled Adults, The Associated Press, April 12, 2007.

Republished with permission from the Brennan Center for Justice Legal Services E-lert (April 13, 2007).