CPR, Massachusetts Settle Landmark Cross-Disability Lawsuit that Will Provide Community Homes for Thousands Stuck in Nursing Facilities

April 16, 2024

Under a landmark Settlement Agreement signed today by the Center for Public Representation, legal partners, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, thousands of people with disabilities who are unnecessarily segregated in nursing facilities will be able to return to the community and live in new homes with appropriate services.

The Settlement Agreement was reached after months of mediation. It includes a comprehensive set of actions that the Commonwealth will undertake over an eight-year period to provide informed choice, case management services, specialized services, and residential services and supports necessary to transition no fewer than 2,400 class members from nursing facilities to the community.

Plaintiff Lorraine Simpson, who is moving to a new community home after years stuck in a nursing facility, looks forward to regaining her independence.  “After leaving Jamaica 20 years ago, I lived independently in my own apartment, was connected to my children, and enjoyed cooking and caring for others. But for the past two years, I have been confined to a nursing facility where I can’t do anything for myself,” said Ms. Simpson. “I can’t be with my family and am totally dependent on others to decide what I must do every day. But soon, because of the Agreement, I will have a new home in the community near my family and friends. I can’t wait to take care of my own home, spend time with my family, and cook for them again.” 

Another named plaintiff, Richard Caouette, has been confined to a nursing home for nearly four years. “For decades I lived an independent life. I held a job and am an honorably discharged U.S. Army veteran. For me, living in a nursing home is like living under martial law. I am determined to return to the community and pray the Agreement will get me a new home so I can leave here.”

CPR lead counsel Steven Schwartz said the Agreement will provide a new path for older adults and individuals with disabilities. “For thousands of people with disabilities segregated in nursing facilities, the Agreement will enable them to be near their families and friends in a new home, with community-based services. This is what the law requires and what everyone deserves.”

Co-counsel in the lawsuit are Justice in Aging, Greater Boston Legal Services, and Foley Hoag, LLP.

Read a summary of the Settlement Agreement, the full Agreement, and the Press Release.

View the dedicated Marsters v. Healey web page and related documents.