Henrietta D. v. Bloomberg
This landmark class action lawsuit, which spanned nearly a decade, established that governments must provide reasonable accommodations in the manner in which they provide subsistence benefits to indigent clients living with AIDS, from low case manager-to-clients ratios to home and hospital visits.
Following trial in 2000, as reported on the front page of the New York Times, Newsday, and other newspapers and media, Judge Sterling Johnson issued a 97-page decision forcefully condemning New York City and State for “chronically and systematically” failing to serve indigent New Yorkers living with AIDS, “with devastating consequences.”
In 2003, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this decision, establishing for the first time that plaintiffs need not prove disparate treatment under the Americans with Disabilities Act to establish a failure to provide reasonable accommodations. In 2004, the United States Supreme Court dismissed the defendants’ appeal, rendering the decision final. Meanwhile, the City’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA) was placed under a federal monitor. For four years, Housing Works reviewed monthly performance reports, operated a “troubleshooter” office to expedite resolution of thousands of client complaints against HASA, and conducted monthly on-site inspections of DASIS centers to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
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