Third Circuit on Integration Mandate
Yesterday, the Third Circuit issued its opinion in Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Dep't of Pub. Welfare. The court's decision elaborates on the requirements of ADA Title II's "integration mandate," which the Supreme Court held in the Olmstead case to require deinstitutionalization of individuals with disabilities in certain circumstances. Yesterday's Third Circuit case involved a case brought on behalf of residents of South Mountain Restoration Center, a state nursing facility for individuals with psychiatric disabilities, who contended that the state did not have a sufficient plan in place to move them to more integrated settings. After a very useful discussion of what Olmstead requires, the Third Circuit held that the district court had erred in granting summary judgment to the state. In particular, the court of appeals concluded that the district court had erroneously treated the state's short-term budgetary constraints as eliminating the integration duty, and that there was no evidence that the state had made a "reviewable commitment to action" to move South Mountain residents to more integrated settings.