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Oregon Court Approves Settlement in Lane v. Brown

January 29, 2016

On December 29, 2015, the Department of Human Services was informed that U.S. Magistrate Judge Janice Stewart approved the final settlement in the historic Lane v. Brown community integration lawsuit in Oregon. The Final Settlement Agreement requires a systems-wide change over seven years designed to divert transitioning people with disabilities from segregated, sheltered workshop placements into competitive integrated employment and to transition people currently in sheltered workshops into competitive integrated work. The complainants in the lawsuit argued that sheltered workshops segregate rather than integrate people with disabilities into the community and that Oregon has an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to improve competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities.

The immediate effects of the agreement are that Oregon will support 1,115 adults with disabilities, who currently work in sheltered workshops, to achieve integrated employment in the community over the next seven years. Additionally, young people between the ages of 14 to 24 will receive supported employment services, which will help them choose a career in the future. Oregon agreed to seek funding for these supported employment services through Medicaid. The agreement would allow individuals with disabilities to access integrated day services if they are preferred over supported employment services, but states that offer such services must “include regular opportunities for community-based recreational, social, educational, cultural, and athletic activities” and must allow individuals with disabilities to interact with individuals without disabilities to the fullest extent possible.

Judge Stewart found that the settlement as written provides “valuable and substantial relief” to the  class members, who all have intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD), and ordered the Joint Motion to approve the settlement granted. For more information, read the Judge’s Approval Order and the Settlement Agreement.