St. Louis Guardianship & Disability Law Cases
Read selected child welfare and disability advocacy / disability benefits cases litigated by the Law Offices of Thomas E. Kennedy III:
Child Welfare Cases
In re G.P.; In re F.W.; In re S.G, Administrative Hearings Unit, Illinois Dep’t of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) (2012).
Our firm recently represented three men who were each wrongfully “indicated” for abuse and neglect of children by DCFS caseworkers. At each of the three administrative hearings, lawyers at our firm introduced witnesses who supported our clients, including expert witnesses, as well as documentary evidence which showed that our clients did not abuse the children of concern. In all these cases, the charges against our clients were expunged by the Hearings Officer after an evidentiary hearing and these decisions were upheld by the Director of DCFS.
In the Interest of R.M., (5th Dist. Ct. App. 2009).
Our clients are foster parents who had custody of a 2-yr. old child with disabilities since birth. The Illinois Dep’t. of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) sought to change the child’s custody to a paternal grandmother after DNA tests revealed the father’s identity, even though the father is accused of child sexual abuse. With our help, our clients intervened in the Juvenile Court case, then prevailed in a DCFS administrative hearing, where the hearing officer determined that the DCFS decision was not consistent with the child’s need for safety and reversed the decision of DCFS. The grandmother then filed for administrative review in Juvenile Court, which was erroneously granted. The Associate Circuit Judge ordered custody to the grandmother and cut off visitation to our clients. We then successfully appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, which ruled – – in favor of our clients- – that the Juvenile Court wrongly permitted the grandparent to circumvent the Illinois Administrative Review Act by filing her untimely appeal in the pending Juvenile Court proceeding. No. 05-09-0373.
Disability Advocacy / Disability Benefits Cases
In re M.F. (Administrative Hearings Unit, Mo. Dept. of Mental Health).
We are currently representing a young woman with multiple disabilities, including autism and blindness. The Department of Mental Health is denying her ongoing orientation and mobility services and other blindness services she needs due to a change in the way they categorize their services under the applicable Medicaid Waiver Program.
Hiltibran v. Levy (W.D. Mo. 2010).
This suit, brought on behalf of MO Healthnet (Missouri Medicaid) recipients, challenges the State’s failure to provide medically necessary incontinence supplies to individuals over twenty years in age. Read more about Hilitibran v. Levy on our Civil Rights and Constitutional Law page.
Gerken v. Sherman, (W.D. Mo. App. 2009)
This is a class action seeking payment to our clients of funds wrongfully diverted from the Blind Pension Fund. The Court of Appeals recently decided that the state’s method of calculating annual increases to our clients’ Blind Pension payments was incorrect. A special master was appointed to advise the trial court about appropriate Blind Pension payments to 3,300 class members, including payments for Pension benefits wrongfully withheld. Our clients then obtained different counsel. The master’s recommendation, which was adopted by the trial court, was that the plaintiffs were entitled to an award of $30 million dollars, including $19 million in unpaid benefits and $11 million in interest. The case is on appeal. 276 S.W. 3d 844.