3rd Circuit Recognizes Civil Rights Action for Abuse

It’s rare that I see a blog post or a shift in the law that catches me off guard. Its even rarer that such a thing also reaffirms my belief that we will be able to get these companies to change their ways. Joseph Lamy recently posted about a landmark decision out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The case, Grammer v. John J. Kane Regional Centers, recognizes that an action for rights abuses was created under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Amendments (FNHRA).

While Grammer‘s recognition of a civil rights action at a circuit level is monumental, the recognition that this is a civil rights action is not new. Turns out the Eastern District of New York decided the same thing last year. 

     For all these reasons, I conclude that plaintiffs are part of the class for whose particular benefit the NHRA was enacted, and that the NHRA creates a federal right that plaintiffs may enforce under § 1983. Accordingly, plaintiffs meet the first Blessing factor, as limited by Gonzaga. Moreover, there does not appear to be any dispute that the statute meets the remaining two Blessing factors-that the statute is not “vague and amorphous” and that it imposes binding obligations on the state. The statute mandates a clearly-defined process to be followed by the state before an individual with mental illness may be admitted to a nursing home and if an individual has a significant change in condition while in the facility. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396r(e)(7)(A)(i), (e)(7)(B)(i), (e)(7)(C)(iii); 42 C.F.R. §§ 483.104, 483.106, 483.112, 483.126, 483.128, 483.132. The PASRR regulations are precise, unambiguous, and mandatory.

Joseph S. v. Hogan, 561 F. Supp. 2d 280 (E.D.N.Y. 2008).

It looks like a framework is starting to emerge for the recognition of § 1983 cases, with recognition in the second and third circuits. 



About Kevin
Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.