Debevoise Obtains Two-Year Extension on Brad H. Class Action Settlement

28 April 2021

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, as pro bono counsel with the Urban Justice Center and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, successfully obtained a two-year extension on the Brad H. class action settlement after the Court found that New York City had not substantially complied with the terms of the nearly 20-year old settlement agreement.

The lawsuit was brought in 1999 to challenge the City’s negligent practice of discharging incarcerated individuals with mental illness from City jails in the middle of the night with only $1.50 and two bus tokens, and without any psychiatric medication or treatment referrals. In January 2003, the parties entered into a settlement pursuant to which the City is required to provide clinically appropriate discharge services to class members to facilitate their safe reentry into society, subject to review by two court-appointed monitors. With the settlement due to expire in July 2020, Debevoise filed a motion to enforce and extend the settlement for an additional two-year period. On April 26, 2021, the court granted the team’s motion in full despite significant opposition from the City. The Court found that although discharge planning services have improved in the 18 years since the initial settlement, the City has failed to come into substantial compliance with its obligations. The Order means that the City’s progress in complying with the settlement will be subject to court supervision for at least the next two years.

The Debevoise team is led by counsel Kristin Kiehn and includes associate Melanie Calero and law clerk Nestor Almeida.