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McCoy v. Colorado Department of Human Services

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

June 13, 2019

LEILA MCCOY, Plaintiff,
v.
COLORADO DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, EL PASO COUNTY DEPT OF HUMAN SERVICES, CHRISTOPHER GARVIN, MAGDELINE BRANCH, and SHERYL SABLAN, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint on October 4, 2018. (Filing No. 1.) She has been given leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Filing No. 5.) The court now conducts an initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint to determine whether summary dismissal is appropriate under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         I. SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff's Complaint (filing no. 1) alleges she was a “victim of serious violence including domestic violence causing permanent injury and disability” and “was relocated [with her children] through the battered women's network to Colorado Springs for [her] safety and assistance during [a] high risk pregnancy.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 6.)[1] Plaintiff alleges she is blind, disabled, and suffers from chronic health conditions and that at least one of her children is also disabled. (Id. at CM/ECF pp. 4, 7.) Because she had to flee with her children from a dangerous situation, Plaintiff alleges she qualified under “the rules for SNAP/TANF/Medicaid pertaining to domestic/sexual violence” for “extended assistance with benefit eligibility, redetermination, and case maintenance because my physical disabilities/mental disabilities/chronic health conditions and safety issues prevented me from doing a lot of paperwork without assistance.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 6.)

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants-the Colorado Department of Human Services (“Colorado DHS”), El Paso County Department of Human Services (“El Paso County DHS”), and three El Paso County DHS personnel-refused Plaintiff's request for “reasonable accommodation and assistance with all paperwork including help completing and proofreading all paperwork by phone in 2010” and retaliated against her because she filed an ADA complaint. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges “[t]he department . . . had [Plaintiff] arrested for errors and omission on [her] forms made by [her] home health aide whom they knew was also on SSI for chronic health and learning disabilities” and lacked training to complete the paperwork correctly. (Id.) As a result of this arrest, Plaintiff alleges she was “held without [her] life-sustaining medication, deprived . . . of 24[-hour] prescribed in-home health care and without pain management and diet necessary to prevent serious harm and death, [and] denied [her] access to health-related services until hospitalization.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 4.)

         Plaintiff further alleges the Defendants:

• denied her access to Medicaid Waiver and Home Care allowance programs for the disabled and also respite child care, use of her SSI for basic needs, and a deduction on her food stamps calculation for aid or other medical expenses;
• refused to allow Plaintiff access to Vocational Rehabilitation for the Blind and failed to provide Plaintiff with adaptive medical equipment or adaptive computer equipment and training;
• denied Plaintiff “due process and reasonable accommodation in SNAP/TANF/Medicaid Waiver/Home Care Allowance and Vocational Rehabilitation eligibility, recertification and case maintenance” “for almost 5 years”;
• “removed [her] children and still failed to put services in place before returning them and did not pay underpayments associated with denial of my benefits and miscalculation of my benefits”; and
• deprived her of “excess utility allowance deductions when [she] was eligible for them due to disability.”

(Id. at CM/ECF pp. 6-7.)

         As a result of Defendants' actions, Plaintiff alleges she “suffered 4 miscarriages due to the stress, ” “almost died of diabetic complications . . . because [she] . . . was deprived of assistance paying for the health care, ” suffered “injuries to [her] shoulder and back from being dragged around and forced to ‘feel' for my care during the arrest, ” and “lost a considerable amount of vision due to diabetic complications and had digestive, kidney and other serious complications from being deprived of food, medication, and services that would have allowed [her] to control [her] chronic health condition and pain.” (Id. at CM/ECF p. 7.) In addition, Plaintiff claims Defendants placed her on “the child abuse registry under false allegations and a case that the district attorney requested be dismissed that is sealed by the court [which] prevents [Plaintiff] from working in [her] field of social work. (Id.)

         Plaintiff further alleges Defendants “gave false information to the housing authority so the PHA would illegally terminate [her] voucher” and “filed for a false protective order claiming they were scared for their safety” even though they knew Plaintiff posed no threat to them due to her physical limitations. (Id.) Consequently, Plaintiff was “denied assisted housing” and “denied entry into family shelters and other programs which consider persons with protective orders a danger” leaving Plaintiff and her children homeless “with all [Plaintiff's] health ...


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