Disability Law Colorado’s 2016 Complaint Leads to Department of Justice’s 2023 Lawsuit Against State of Colorado for ADA Violations in Nursing Homes
Colorado Resists Settlement as Department of Justice Moves “Notice of Violation” to Formal Lawsuit Less Than Two Years After Initial Complaint Filed.
[Denver, CO | November 6, 2023] In March 2022, the Department of Justice (DOJ) found the “State of Colorado in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by administering its long-term care system in a way that unnecessarily segregates individuals with disabilities in nursing facilities and places others with physical [disabilities] at serious risk of unnecessary institutionalization.”
“Far too often, people with disabilities – including older adults – are institutionalized in nursing facilities when they could live in their own homes,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is steadfast in its commitment to protect the rights of people with disabilities and ensure the promise of community integration enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
“In the years since we filed this complaint, the landscape of community-based services has only grown more dismal and Colorado still lacks the continuum necessary to achieve and maintain community integration as required by Olmstead,” says Attorney Meghan Baker. “The complaint is as relevant today as it was the day we filed it, and we are grateful to the DOJ for taking this issue seriously and for holding the state accountable.”
The DOJ was poised to file this lawsuit after Disability Law Colorado (DLC) filed its original complaint in 2016. The complaint alleged the State of Colorado was violating Title II of the ADA as interpreted by Olmstead v. L.C., by segregating people with disabilities in nursing homes rather than providing services in the community. DLC actively supported the DOJ in its investigation by identifying specific complaints from individuals impacted by these allegations.
The DOJ’s Letter of Findings outlined specific steps Colorado needed to take to remedy the violations. The DOJ invited the State of Colorado to enter into voluntary negotiations to resolve the findings and remedy the violations, which failed.
About Disability Law Colorado: Disability Law Colorado is the Protection & Advocacy System for Colorado. We work to protect disability rights and improve the human, civil, and legal rights of Coloradans through legal representation, advocacy, and education.
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