A settlement agreement has been reached for the class action lawsuit filed against the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Adult Mental Health Division by the Hawaii Disability Rights Center and Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Hawaii residents that were denied eligibility for state mental health services because of state policy and procedural changes that became effective on July 1, 2009.
The settlement will require the Adult Mental Health Division to allow all members of the plaintiff class to be reassessed under the state’s 2004 eligibility criteria for mental health services provided by the state.
Health officials estimate there are approximately 250 individuals in the plaintiff class. All identified members of the plaintiff class will be notified by mail, and all those who respond will be provided an assessment for services under the eligibility criteria in effect on June 30, 2009.
Preliminary approval of the settlement was granted by Judge Virginia L. Crandall on June 7, and a fairness hearing is set for Sept. 7 at 9:30 a.m.
Prior to the court hearing, members of the plaintiff class may choose to "opt out" and not participate in the settlement. They may then retain their own attorney and take legal action on their own. Members of the plaintiff class may also attend or be represented at the court hearing, at their own expense, to state their position as to whether the settlement should or should not be approved.
Members of the plaintiff class who do not opt out of the proposed settlement will be bound by the settlement and dismissal of claims against the state and will have no right to re-litigate any of the claims asserted on behalf of the plaintiff class.
For more information, go to www.hawaiidisabilityrights.org.