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Individuals with serious mental illness are often forced to live in institutional settings which limit their freedom and rights to become fully integrated into the community. The Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581 (1999) decision ruled that states must provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to live in the most integrated settings based on their needs. Since that time several lawsuits have been filed on behalf of individuals with disabilities against states for failing to comply with the Olmstead decision. New York State is one such state. The purpose of this paper is to describe the lawsuit which was brought against the state of New York by the Department of Justice on behalf of several individuals with severe mental illness who lived in “adult homes.” The lawsuit was filed against New York State in 2013 for failing to fulfill the promise of the Olmstead decision by not providing these individuals access to housing that would allow them to be fully integrated into communities so as to live productive lives. A brief discussion is provided as to how the case was finally settled and the changes New York State made to ensure that the Olmstead decision would be fully implemented in the future.


This article was originally published in Cogent Medicine, available at DOI: 10.1080/2331205X.2017.1360542.

This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.



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