Tennessee Judge Rules for Families, against People First and DOJ
As families prepare for the closure of the Clover Bottom Developmental Center, on May 28, 2010, a court ruled in favor of the right individuals and legal guardians the right to choose another ICF/MR (deemed a “congregate” setting), even when professionals have determined the individuals could be provided in a more integrated setting.
The question before the federal district court in Tennessee was whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) precluded Clover Bottom residents, or their legal guardians, from choosing “congregate care.” The U.S. Department of Justice and People First of Tennessee argued against the right of choice when professionals have deemed another setting to be more “integrated.”
Citing Olmstead and Medicaid law, the Court ruled in favor of the state and families, recognizing the freedom to choose a large ICFs/MR placement even if the individual could be appropriately served in a more integrated setting.
“The intersection of citizen choice and the ADA was addressed by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C.,” wrote the court. “[T]here is no federal requirement under the ADA that community-based treatment must be imposed on citizens who do not desire it.”