Represented by TM&H attorney Melissa Thomas, 162 residents and guardians of residents of Intermittent Care Facilities for the Developmentally Disabled (ICF-DDs) joined more than 2,500 other objectors in a significant Federal class action case, Ligas v. Maram (Case #05-C-4331, N.D. Ill.). At issue was a proposed consent decree which, if approved by the Court, would have fundamentally altered the services available to persons with developmental disabilities in Illinois, especially those living in ICF-DDs.

Through the proposed consent decree the plaintiffs sought to:

  • Restructure the administrative process through which the State receives applications for services and assesses eligibility for available services for persons with developmental disabilities;
  • Establish a process by which all persons with developmental disabilities living in ICF-DDs would be forced to submit to an intrusive annual evaluation conducted by outside persons, to determine whether they should remain in an ICF-DD or move to a community-integrated living arrangement (CILA);
  • Require the ICF-DD resident to justify his or her choice should he or she choose to remain in an ICF-DD and not move to a CILA; and,
  • Impose a condition that for every resident who moved from an ICF-DD to a CILA, regardless of the reason of the move, an ICF-DD bed would lose future funding on a 1:1 ratio.

These and other terms of the proposed consent decree would have had a crippling effect on ICF-DD facilities and would have left those persons with developmental disabilities living in ICF-DDs without the care on which they and their families so desperately rely.

At a July 1, 2009 Fairness Hearing in Chicago, counsel and over 240 individual objectors appeared to voice their side of the issue – that increasing the availability of the CILA option was a laudable goal, but not at the cost of denying services for those who want or require ICF-DD care. The Court rejected the proposed consent decree outright and – in recognition of the fundamental uniqueness of every person with developmental disabilities – decertified the class, putting an end to the class action suit. This was a tremendous win for ICF-DD facilities and those living in them.

For more information regarding this particular case or for information regarding the issues and laws affecting those with developmental disabilities in general, please contact Melissa Thomas.