The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRODERICK
Presently before the Court is a motion for stay pending appeal brought pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 62(c) by the Defendants the Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Feather O. Houstoun in her official capacity as Secretary of Public Welfare (collectively "the Commonwealth"). In a Memorandum and Order dated June 26, 1998, this Court entered judgment in this class action in favor of the Plaintiff class, who are all individuals with mental illness who resided as of August 26, 1997, at Haverford State Hospital, a state psychiatric hospital which was closed on June 30, 1998. The Court found that the Commonwealth had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(d) and 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(b)(3), in that the Commonwealth had discriminated against those members of the Plaintiff class whom the Commonwealth had evaluated as appropriate for treatment in the community but for whom no appropriate treatment was available in the community due to the Commonwealth's failure to adequately plan and develop appropriate community placements, and thus these class members remained unnecessarily segregated for an unreasonable period of time.
Specifically, the Court found the following:
1. The Commonwealth discriminated against a group which recent reports have established consists of 83 class members who had been unnecessarily segregated at Haverford State Hospital since at least October 27, 1997, when Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit, and the Court ordered that the Commonwealth follow through on its plan to place those 83 individuals in appropriate community settings no later than June 30, 1998.
2. The Commonwealth discriminated against another group which recent reports have established consists of 104 class members whom the Commonwealth transferred to Norristown State Hospital upon the closing of Haverford State Hospital, despite the fact that the Commonwealth had determined that these 104 class members are appropriate for treatment in the community. The Commonwealth planned to place those 104 class members in appropriate community placements over the next three years, or by June 30, 2001. The Court found that three years is an unreasonable amount of time for these 104 class members to remain unnecessarily segregated, and the Court ordered the Commonwealth to provide these class members with community treatment appropriate to their needs by December 31, 1999, or eighteen months from the date of the Court's Order.
3. The Court also found that the interests of justice required that the Commonwealth reevaluate a group which recent reports have established consists of 69 class members who had previously been found by the Commonwealth to be inappropriate for community placement. However, evidence having shown that there were conflicting views among the experts concerning some of these evaluations, the Court ordered that current evaluations be conducted by an independent psychologist or psychiatrist no later than December 31, 1998, in order to determine the appropriateness of these 69 class members for community placement. The Court also ordered that the Commonwealth provide members of this group with treatment in the community eighteen months after a determination is made that the class member is appropriate for community placement.
On July 2, 1998, the Commonwealth filed a Notice of Appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and thereafter filed with this Court the instant motion for a stay pending appeal. For the reasons stated below, the Commonwealth's motion for a stay pending appeal will be denied.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 62(c) provides in pertinent part that "when an appeal is taken from ... [a] final judgment granting, dissolving, or denying an injunction, the court in its discretion may suspend, modify, restore, or grant an injunction during the pendency of the appeal...." It is well established that a district court is required to consider the following factors regarding the issuance of a stay pending appeal: (1) whether the stay applicant has made a strong showing of the likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other parties interested in the proceeding; and (4) where the public interest lies. Hilton v. Braunskill, 481 U.S. 770, 776, 107 S. Ct. 2113, 2119, 95 L. Ed. 2d 724 (1987); Republic of Philippines v. Westinghouse Electric Corp., 949 F.2d 653, 658 (3rd Cir. 1991). The United States Supreme Court has noted that "the traditional stay factors contemplate individualized judgments in each case." Hilton, 481 U.S. at 777, 107 S. Ct. at 2119.
Likelihood of Success on Appeal
The Commonwealth has failed to demonstrate the likelihood of its success on appeal. There can be no question that the ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals such as the members of the Plaintiff class, all of whom have been diagnosed with a mental illness. The ADA provides that no qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.
42 U.S.C. § 12132. A "disability" is defined by the ADA as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual." 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A). The Department of Justice, which was directed by Congress to promulgate regulations necessary to implement the ADA, see 42 U.S.C. § 12134(a), defined "physical or mental impairment" as "any mental or psychological disorder such as ... organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities." 28 C.F.R. § 35.104.
There can likewise be no question that the ADA prohibits discrimination, including unnecessary segregation, against members of the Plaintiff class whom the medical experts have determined are appropriate for treatment in the community. In passing the ADA, Congress found that "discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in such critical areas as ... institutionalization," 42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(3). Congress identified the segregation of the disabled from the mainstream of American life as a form of discrimination, noting in its findings that, "historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and ... such forms of discrimination ... continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem." 42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(2). Congress also concluded that "individuals with disabilities continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including ... segregation...." 42 U.S.C. § 12101(a)(5). The ...