A federal class action lawsuit involving Minnesotans with disabilities who live or have lived in corporate adult foster care or group homes is continuing. A fairness hearing in the case of Murphy versus Harpstead was set for early January, but has now been postponed to May 12. The case is being heard in U.S. District Court in St. Paul before Judge Donovan Frank.
The hearing was delayed after the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) admitted that it failed to mail notice to a number of Minnesotans with disabilities who were entitled to receive notice of the settlement agreement. New notices were to be sent by mid-January.
A series of deadlines in the case are starting to kick in, including one for people filing objections. Objections are due by March 21. About half a dozen objections have already been filed.
The case began in 2017. Tenner Murphy is the Murphy in the case and is one of the plaintiffs. Harpstead is DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. DHS itself is a defendant, and several counties’ human services departments and ARRM are involved as interested or amicus parties. The Minnesota Disability Law Center is handling the case for the plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs in the case contend that corporate adult foster care and group homes cause isolation and segregation. They want access to various individualized housing services available under disability waivers, for more integrated housing options.
The extension of time allows for more objections to be filed by those involved in the case. Some objections are being raised by people with disabilities who have been forced into group homes or congregate living after living on their own for several years. Others may be at risk for placement.