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Aug 2011

Jack Coakley successfully defended a Hampden County human services agency accused of civil rights and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 violations during a two-day evidentiary hearing in the Hampden County Housing Court on a motion for preliminary injunctive relief.  While the human services agency was not the plaintiff’s landlord, the agency did administer the Shelter Plus Care Program (SPC) that provided a subsidy for the plaintiff’s rent.  When the plaintiff failed to comply with program requirements, including attending AA or NA meetings and mandatory meetings held by the agency, the plaintiff was dropped from the program.  The plaintiff’s landlord then initiated eviction proceedings.  The plaintiff asserted third-party claims, styled as civil rights and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims, against the human services agency claiming that his dismissal from the SPC program was unlawful because he was physically unable to attend the required meetings.  The plaintiff sought injunctive relief requiring the agency to re-enroll the plaintiff in the program.  During a two day evidentiary hearing, evidence was presented, in the form of live testimony, medical records and SPC program records, that the plaintiff: (1) had a history of non-compliance with program requirements, including meeting attendance; (2) had falsified paperwork to make it appear that he had attended the required meetings; and (3) was physically capable of attending the required meetings.  After the evidentiary hearing, the Housing Court made findings of fact and law that the agency did not violate the plaintiff’s civil rights or 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and, in fact, properly terminated the plaintiff from the program.


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