IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
L.S., a minor child, by and through his father and next friend, Ron S.; K.C., a minor child, by and through his mother and next friend, Africa H.; ALLISON TAYLOR JOHNS; and D.C., a minor child, by his mother and next friend, Penny C.; Plaintiffs,
M.S., a minor child, through his parent and natural guardian, Rachelle S., Intervenor Plaintiff,
ALBERT A. DELIA, in his official capacity as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; PAMELA SHIPMAN, in her official capacity as Area Director of Piedmont Behavioral Health Care Area Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Authority; and PIEDMONT BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE AREA MENTAL HEALTH, DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AUTHORITY doing business as PBH, Defendants.
This matter comes before the court on plaintiffs? motion for preliminary injunction (DE # 31) and first motion to certify class (DE # 34). Defendant Albert A. Delia (?defendant Delia?) filed response in opposition and defendants Pamela Shipman (?defendant Shipman?) and defendant PBH also filed response in opposition. Plaintiff filed separate replies to both responses. On March 7, 2012, plaintiffs were granted leave to file supplemental declarations. Defendants were also granted leave to supplement their filings accordingly. Plaintiffs filed a second reply. In this posture, the issues raised are ripe for ruling. For the following reasons the court grants plaintiffs? motions.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Plaintiffs filed complaint as putative class action on July 5, 2011 against defendants. Plaintiffs allege violation of due process protections with respect to alteration of Medicaid benefits and seek preliminary and permanent injunctions. On July 12, 2011, the court entered order denying plaintiffs? motion for temporary restraining order, which motion was lodged in the complaint. On August 24, 2011, plaintiffs filed the instant motion for preliminary injunction. On August 29, 2011, plaintiffs filed the instant motion to certify class.
On September 6, 2011, the court stayed the time for defendants to file responses to the motions for preliminary injunction and class certification pending ruling on plaintiffs? motion to disqualify counsel, filed August 23, 2011.
On October 20, 2011, plaintiff intervenor M.S. filed motion to intervene and complaint in intervention, which motion the court allowed on December 5, 2011, in order lodged on the docket at entry 67.
Plaintiffs filed second motion for temporary restraining order on December 20, 2011, which motion was denied on December 28, 2011. On January 6, 2012, the court held administrative telephonic conference with the parties (excepting former counsel for defendants Shipman and PBH from Womble Carlyle). Briefing schedule for the instant motions was memorialized and deadlines were set, including date for oral argument. Upon review of the briefs filed in support of the instant motions, however, the court entered order on March 7, 2012, dispensing with oral argument. In same order, the court granted plaintiffs? motions for leave to filed supplemental declarations in support of the instant motions, and allowed defendants seven days to supplement their own responses, which they did. Plaintiffs filed second reply. The court has considered all of the filings in its determination of the instant motions.
The named plaintiffs are Medicaid recipients, four minors and one adult, who have chronic and disabling conditions. Although plaintiffs? conditions are serious enough to qualify them for institutional placement, they can thrive in stable home environments with adequate support. The North Carolina Innovations Waiver (?Innovations Waiver?) is a Home and Community Based Waiver, approved under 42 U.S.C. § 1396n of the Medicaid Act, that offers Medicaid services to individuals like plaintiffs with developmental disabilities who would otherwise qualify for services in an institutional facility. The program is called a waiver because the federal Medicaid agency has given North Carolina permission to ignore certain otherwise mandatory provisions of the Medicaid Act. All members of the putative class are consumers of services under the Innovations Waiver. The Innovations Waiver currently has approximately 675 total participants. Pls.? Mem. Supp. Mot. Prelim. Inj. 5.
Text has been truncated. For full publication text, download document.