Advocacy Center Timeline

September 2015

Smith v. Orleans Parish Prison filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Terry Smith against the Orleans Parish Jail (OPP) for monetary damages and declaratory relief for serious injuries and violations of his rights. Case settled with Defendant found responsible for paying all past medical bills, providing Mr. Smith with sums of money each year to pay for bills not covered by Medicaid, paying for the services of a curator and paying attorney’s fees.
September 2015

Savoy v. Liberty Six Community Home filed

Settled case filed on behalf of Joseph Savoy against Liberty Six Community Home on grounds that the neglect of the community home resulted in burns and other debilitating injuries. Case was settled for monetary damages.
August 2015

Cooper v. Kathy Kliebert, Secretary LA DHH filed

Civil rights action filed in federal court on behalf of a class of individuals who were found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity (NGBRI), were committed to the care of the Department of Health and Hospitals by the court, but were kept in jail pending their placement at the state mental health facility. Some clients waited for placement for over a year. The claims arise under the ADA, Section 504 and Section 1983, and the remedy sought is injunctive relief.
August 2015

Trussell George v. James LeBlanc filed

Civil rights action filed in federal court on behalf of a man found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity who was living in the community on conditional release and was twice arrested and incarcerated, without any new criminal charges, pending his placement at the state mental hospital. The case involves ADA, Section 504, and Section 1983 claims and seeks injunctive relief and damages.
July 2015

Cadarius Johnson v. ELMHS (LDOE) filed

Formal educational complaint with the Louisiana Department of Education against the Special School District located at East Louisiana Mental Health System (ELMHS), in Jackson, Louisiana. The client, a 19-year old man with a moderate intellectual disability and mental illness was civilly committed after a finding that he was irrestorably incompetent to stand trial. While institutionalized, he should have been receiving special education services provided by the district, but did not receive any educational services for over a year. Since the filing of the complaint, he has been receiving services and is about to be assessed by an independent third party evaluator to determine the extent of compensatory education to which he is entitled.
July 2015

Access LA app launched

AC launched Access LA iPhone and Android smartphone app for people with mobility impairments.
June 2015

Greyhound Bus Lines complaint

Complaint filed with U.S. Department of Justice against Greyhound Bus Lines for failure to honor reservation for wheelchair securement location on bus, failure to maintain wheelchair lift in working order, and discriminatory conduct by bus driver against person who needed wheelchair seating on trip from Lafayette to Houston.
June 2015

Perniciaro v. Lea filed

Lawsuit filed based on injuries and violations of constitutional rights sustained during Plaintiffs involuntary commitment at Eastern LA Mental Health System.
May 2015

Collins v. New Orleans Home for Incurables, d/b/a John J. Hainkel Home filed

Individual action filed under the ADA, Rehab Act, and state law, alleging conversion and breach of contract, based on the nursing home’s confiscation of a resident’s power wheelchair.
May 2015

Joseph Lewis et al. v. Burl Cain, Warden LA State Prison filed

Lawsuit filed against Angola Prison and Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections over unconstitutional and deficient medical care.
February 2015

Demouchet v. Stonebridge Health Systems filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of a deaf woman who was denied a sign-language interpreter, though she requested one, during a two-week stay in a psychiatric hospital.
January 2015

Isaac v. LA Department of Children and Family Services filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of a man with Crohn’s disease who was denied the reasonable accommodation of dropping off a paper application to renew his food stamp benefits.
December 2014

Poole v. Housing Authority of Vinton filed

Lawsuit filed alleging the failure of the Vinton Housing Authority to allow a resident with a mobility impairment a live-in aide as a reasonable accommodation, and its violation of the U.S. Housing Act and the client’s right to due process in attempting to evict her from her apartment.
October 2014

Accessible taxicab success

New Orleans’ first wheelchair accessible taxicab now in service as a result of AC advocacy.
September 2014

City of New Orleans Zoning Ordinance success

City of New Orleans Zoning Ordinance includes accommodations for people with disabilities as a result of AC prodding.
March 2014

Wells v. Kliebert filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of a class of Medicaid recipients challenging the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospital's failure to give constitutionally adequate notice of denials of prior authorization of requested Medicaid services. Settlement agreement and order in October 2014 requiring meaningful notices for class of all Louisiana Medicaid recipients, except persons under the age of 21 who are on the waiting list for the New Opportunities Waiver, who have been or will be subjected to denials or partial denials of prior approval of services, while Court has jurisdiction of agreement.
February 2014

Applied Behavior Analysis therapy begins

Because of Chisholm lawsuit, Louisiana becomes first state in the country to offer Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to children under the state Medicaid plan.
November 2013

Wal-Mart suit filed

Lawsuit filed in federal district court against Wal-Mart for failing to accommodate employee with Developmental Disabilities and thus, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
July 2013

Drake v. Jefferson Parish, et al. partial consent decree

Required Jefferson Parish to make polling places accessible to voters on Election Day.
June 2013

Smith v. Gusman filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of an elderly man with mental illness who received a traumatic brain injury at Orleans parish prison. Settled in July 2015.
August 2012

Advocacy Center v. Leblanc

Lawsuit seeking access to the Louisiana State Penitentiary to investigate allegations that prisoners with disabilities are subjected to neglect and abuse by failing to take adequate steps to prevent them from being exposed to excessive heat, particularly during the summer months. Parties reached a negotiated settlement of the access issues.
July 2012

Supported Independent Living Program (SILAP) begins

The purpose of this program is to advocate and protect the rights of individuals with developmental disabilities living with Medicaid Waivers.
March 2012

Investigative report on conditions, care, and treatment in select group homes for people with intellectual disabilities in Louisiana.
December 2011

Matthews v. City of New Orleans settled

AC settled the Mahalia Jackson lawsuit, making the theater finally accessible to people who use wheelchairs.
October 2011

Williams v. Southern University Agricultural and Mechanical College et al. filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of student who uses wheelchair, regarding inaccessibility of Business School. Consent decree entered in July 2014 requiring accessibility improvements to T.T. Allain Hall, Mumford Stadium, and Clark Minidome, as well as campus-wide self-evaluation and transition plan.
July 2011

Dunn v. Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections filed

Lawsuit filed on behalf of man denied fair testing opportunity for Commercial Drivers’ License because of his hearing impairment. AC enter into settlement agreement in June 2014, finding client was denied fair testing opportunity for Commercial Drivers’ License because of his hearing impairment.
February 2011

Housing Assistance Program Plus (HAPP) begins

The purpose of this city-funded program is to assist low-income people in New Orleans with access to affordable, accessible housing and to assist them to apply for the City’s Home Modification Program.
January 2011

Mason suit filed

The Advocacy Center and the ACLU of Louisiana filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana against Tangipahoa Parish officials on behalf of Ronald Mason, alleging that their failure to provide Mr. Mason with necessary psychiatric care and mental health medication was a violation of his rights under the 14th Amendment. Settlement reached in March of 2011, requiring the State to promptly transfer jail detainees who have been found incompetent to stand trial to State psychiatric hospital.
April 2010

Advocacy Center et al. v. Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, et al. filed

AC (with the ACLU and Kirkland & Ellis) filed suit against DHH for failing to admit pretrial detainees who have ben found incompetent to stand trial and ordered to Feliciana State Forensic Facility for restorative treatment.
December 2009

Borne v. Kirkpatrick, et al. filed

Suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of LA against a Thibodaux doctor and medical clinic on behalf of individual in wheelchair due to inaccessibility of office, lack of accessible parking, and denial of services due to client’s complaints about inaccessibility. Judgement in client’s favor in August 2010.
October 2009

Matthews v. City of New Orleans filed

Suit filed in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana under the Americans with Disabilities Act against the City of New Orleans on behalf of a patron of the Mahalia Jackson Theater, alleging that the theater had insufficient wheelchair seating and ticketing practices that violate the ADA.
June 2009

Report documented abuses at Northeast Supports and Services Center, an institution for people with intellectual disabilities in Ruston, LA. This facility was closed in December 2010, due in part to AC’s report.
May 2009

Eames v. Southern University et. al.

The Advocacy Center was appointed by U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Middle District of Louisiana to represent a client in a wheelchair in a suit against Southern University based on the inaccessibility of programs held in Clark Activity Center, (the “Mini-Dome”) and Mumford Stadium.
June 2008

Report cited widespread abuse and neglect of children in residential care facilities in Louisiana.
September 2007

CATS suit filed

Class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana against the Capital Area Transit System (CATS). Suit alleged failure of CATS’s paratransit program to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Settled in May 2008.
September 2006

Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA) program begins

The purpose of this program is to inform and counsel people who are beneficiaries of Social Security and who wish to work.
March 2006

FEMA suit filed

Lawsuit alleged that FEMA had not provided enough accessible trailers for people with mobility impairments. Settled in September 2006. FEMA now makes a percentage of all new trailers accessible and set up a complaint line for people who need trailers.
August 2005

Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and the levee failures devastate South Louisiana

AC jettisons all its priorities, concentrating solely on services for people with disabilities who were displaced, lost benefits or were otherwise impacted by the storm and levee failure.
July 2004

CLOP program expansion

The Community Living Ombudsman Program expands statewide.
September 2003

“Mental Health Rehabilitation Services: Rehabilitation or a Get Rich Quick Scheme?” released

This report shone light on abuses in the mental health rehabilitation services system and spurred DHH into action to remedy abuses.
September 2002

Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (PATBI) program begins

The purpose of this program is to protect and advocate for the rights of persons with Traumatic Brain Injury who live in Louisiana.
July 2002

Power Wheelchair suit filed

Lawsuit filed in federal court challenging Louisiana Medicaid’s policy that authorized a power wheelchair, only if someone over the age of 21 was in school with a plan to achieve self-support or was already working. The AC’s client was a 58 year old woman who had used a wheelchair since 1992, who had no use of one arm and limited use of her other arm, and for whom school or work was not an option. As a result of this lawsuit, the client received a power wheelchair and Medicaid’s policy was changed.
May 2001

Delgado Community College suit setled

Delgado Community College agreed to make adjustments in its physical plant and its policies and procedures, in order to come into conformance with the ADA.
April 2000

Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program begins

The purpose of this program is to advocate the rights of beneficiaries of Social Security who experience discrimination in employment.
September 2000

PASSAR case filed

Lawsuit filed in federal court challenging the process by which level of care assessments are performed. This case, “the PASSAR case” sought to retain nursing home care for people with mental illness should they need and choose it.
August 2000

Children’s Choice Waiver Suit filed

Lawsuit alleged that requiring parents to make a choice between the MR/DD Waiver and the Children’s Choice Waiver was illegal. Settled in November 2001.
April 2000

Barthelemy v DHH filed

Lawsuit alleged the Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals was not doing enough to provide services that would allow people with disabilities to live outside nursing homes, and that forcing people to live in restrictive environments is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
July 1999

Advocacy Center v. Stalder

Court held that a correctional center must release to the AC the medical and mental health records of inmates who have consented to the release of their records, notwithstanding state confidentiality requirements restricting such disclosure.
April 1998

ADA Campaign Lawsuits

An ADA Campaign was kicked off, with a series of lawsuits filed, seeking to ensure physical accessibility as per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Suits against Taco Bell, Southern University, the Louisiana Lottery Corporation, the Palace Theater and other were settled in favor of the plaintiffs in those suits.
October 1997

Chisholm v. Jindal filed

Lawsuit establishes Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program for children, aged 0-21, throughout Louisiana. Settled in December 1999.
September 1995

C. et al v. Department of Health and Hospitals

Class action lawsuit brought on behalf of two classes of children affected by July, 1995 cuts in Medicaid services - those denied personal care attendant services and those denied respite care services.
May 1995

Grantham v. Moffet

A jury trial results in a victory for our client, a deaf woman challenging Southeastern Louisiana University's denial of her right to pursue a degree in elementary education.
December 1994

Jonathan G. v. Caddo Parish School Board

Court rules that suspending students for behavior related to their disabilities violates Section 504.
July 1994

Community Living Ombudsman Program (CLOP) begins

The purpose of the program is to advocate for and protect the rights of people with developmental disabilities living in privately operated group homes throughout Louisiana.
December 1993

Tubre v. RTA

Class action lawsuit filed against the Regional Transit System in New Orleans alleging that RTA was out of compliance with the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Consent decree signed in October 1995.
January 1992

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals (PAIR) program begins

The purpose of this program is to advocate and protect the rights of all people in Louisiana living with at least one functional impairment.
July 1990

Herbert Smith et al v. City of New Orleans, et al

Class action lawsuit sought to ensure the provision of interpreter services to hearing impaired individuals in the criminal justice system.
May 1989

“Behind the Façade of Tranquility” released

Report addressed the issues of abuse at East Louisiana State Hospital.
September 1988

Adam A et al v. Sandra Robinson, M.D. consent decree

USDC #86-1928, a class action lawsuit challenging conditions and quality of care provided at the Crisis Intervention Unit of Charity Hospital of New Orleans. As a result of this lawsuit, people can no longer be held at the CIU for inordinate amounts of time. Children can no longer be held there and conditions at the CIU were to be vastly improved.
January 1988

Laura Cooper v. Fowler et al settlement

Orleans CDC #87-12205, a lawsuit which challenged the statewide inaccessibility of voting places under Acts 665 and 625. The settlement required that all polling places be made accessible to persons with mobility impairments.
June 1987

Laura I. v. Louisiana Department of Education consent decree

USDC #86-457, a class action lawsuit brought to ensure special education students' access to extended-year programs based on individual need rather than fixed time periods.
June 1986

Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program begins

The purpose of this program is to advocate for the rights of individuals in Louisiana with chronic mental illness.
January 1986

“Those Who Sit and Wait…Young People in the Nursing Homes of Louisiana” report

Report made a plea for community services for young people being warehoused in Louisiana’s nursing homes.
February 1985

“Disabled Youth and the Juvenile Court System” report

Report focused attention on the ways in which the juvenile court system fails youth with disabilities.
June 1983

Kron v. Heckler

Decision in Kron v. Heckler, which prohibits the continuation of a federal policy that restricted Medicare hospitalization benefits for Medicare recipients residing in nursing homes. The court's decision beneficially impacted five hundred thousand nursing home residents nationwide.
February 1982

Luke S. v. Louisiana Department of Education consent decree

Class action lawsuit filed to eliminate waiting lists for special education evaluations.
January 1981

Client Assistance Program begins

The purpose of this program is to insure that clients and client-applicants of Louisiana Rehabilitation Services fully understand their rights and responsibilities as LRS clients and receive the full array of benefits to which they are entitled.
June 1978

Pitts v. Stewart consent decree

Medicaid recipients were unable to utilize program benefits because of the expense and difficulty associated with arranging transportation. This lawsuit led to an annual commitment of $2 million to fund transportation costs to/from medical appointments.
October 1977

The Advocacy Center of Louisiana Founded

AC of LA Founded. Called Advocates for the Developmentally Disabled (ADD), services were limited to people with developmental disabilities. Over the years, AC has expanded its advocacy to include people with physical disabilities, people with mental illness, people with traumatic brain injury, and older adults.