Releases

Developments continue in Ball v. Kasich lawsuit, trial date scheduled for 2020

By Adam Herman, OACB
Published Friday, December 21, 2018 11:00 am

Over the past few months, several developments have occurred in the ongoing Ball v. Kasich litigation that are likely of interest to county boards of DD. While each development has its own complex legal explanation, we have prepared a brief summary below to ensure that members are kept up to date on the general progress of the lawsuit. Members with questions about any of the items presented below should feel free to email "drolegal@oacbdd.org" for more information.

Guardians Make Claims Against Plaintiffs, Defendants on ICFs
In September, guardians who have intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of families they claim are not represented by Disability Rights Ohio filed cross-claims that argue both the defendants (including the State of Ohio and OACB) and the plaintiffs (Disability Rights Ohio) are acting together in a conspiracy to limit ICF options for people with developmental disabilities. It is presumed their goal is to enhance ICF options in the state. All affected parties filed motions to dismiss these cross-claims, which are seen by many as being directly opposed to one another and generally counter to the nature of how Ohio's system operates. In October, the guardians dismissed their cross-claims against Disability Rights Ohio. This issue remains to be resolved, with final responses due in January.

Class definition narrows significantly
In September, the court clarified its class definition, stating that a person "[m]ust have received options counseling” to be included in the class action suit, which is defined as "the counseling that is currently being utilized.” The class is further limited to people who, after options counseling, “have affirmatively stated that they want community-based services, and have not had them provided” (as opposed to people who only express that they may be interested, without a firm commitment). This ruling is seen by many as a blow to the plaintiffs' attempts to establish a class, as it dramatically reduces the number of people who could feasibly be included.

In response to this restricted class definition, plaintiffs filed a motion in October requesting the court reconsider its decision. They argued that the definition was too narrow and allows the State to define scope of options counseling. Because the court had yet to consider the plaintiffs' request for reconsideration, however, the court used its more narrow class definition to severely limit the plaintiffs' discovery requests in late November. Essentially, this means that the plaintiffs can only request documents, interviews, and other information from the much smaller pool of individuals who meet the court's new definition.

On December 7, the court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the class definition is too narrow. At this time, the narrower class definition continues to substantially limit the scope of the plaintiffs' lawsuit.

Settlement Talks Continue, Trial Scheduled
Attorneys representing Disability Rights Ohio and the State of Ohio continue to discuss options for a possible settlement to prevent the need for a full-blown trial in federal court. While these discussions have not yielded any public settlement proposals to date, OACB remains hopeful that a settlement could be possible, thereby avoiding the unnecessary expense and distraction that a trial is likely to bring.

In the event that settlement talks do not produce a resolution, however, the court has set a date for the trial to begin: February 24, 2020.

OACB will continue to participate in these proceedings and ensure that the interests and voices of county boards of developmental disabilities and the people they serve are well-represented. During the interim, members with questions about the case should feel free to email drolegal@oacbdd.org with questions or requests for more information.



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