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Summary judgment victory in Class Action Disability Rights Lawsuit

October 3, 2019

We are proud to announce our recent victory in the federal court class action lawsuit, Murphy v. Harpstead, with our partners with Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, the Disability Law Center, and Nichols Kaster PLLP.

The lawsuit challenges Minnesota's statewide practice of overreliance on group home settings as housing for people with disabilities. On Sept. 27, 2019, US Senior District Court Judge Donovan Frank found that the current notice policy used by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to inform people who are being denied housing services violates their Due Process rights under the 14th Amendment. The Judge also ruled against DHS by finding that Plaintiffs' Americans with Disabilities Act claim is allowed to proceed to trial.

Legal Aid Litigation Director Justin Perl says: "We believe that this case has the ability to improve the lives of all individuals living in group homes in Minnesota, by informing them of their housing options and providing support to those who want to live more independently in their community, just like people without disabilities. We need a consistent statewide system and we are prepared to take the matter to trial in order to protect the rights of all of our clients." Anthony Ostlund Partner Joe Anthony reiterated: “We are thrilled with this result! Standing beside Legal Aid and Nichols Kaster, we will keep fighting on behalf Minnesotans with disabilities in this class action as we prepare for trial.”

The full decision is here.