This post contains updates on individual or systemic legal victories secured by Hinkle, Fingles & Prior. Please check back often for news about our caseload and successes.

  • The firm successfully obtained community based emergency residential services funded through the Division of Developmental Disabilities for a 54 year-old Middlesex County woman diagnosed with Down Syndrome. The woman lost residential services after being hospitalized and transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation.
  • The firm negotiated a successful settlement with a Bergen County school district to cover the contribution to care assessment from the Division of Developmental Disabilities for a 15 year-old student in a residential placement who is diagnosed with autism and exhibits severe maladaptive and aggressive behaviors.
  • The firm successfully appealed a Division of Developmental Disabilities’ denial of eligibility for a 31 year-old Ocean County young woman with multiple disabilities, including learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental illness.
  • The firm successfully assisted the mother of a 22 year-old Sussex County young woman with severe static encephalopathy and quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy in obtaining Medicaid eligibility so that the young woman could obtain DDD services.
  • The firm recently represented the parents of an 11 year-old boy with autism in the family’s request to move the student from an out-of-district placement to an in-district setting with supplemental aids, services, and supports. After ongoing negotiations the student was finally transferred to an in-district setting and the district agreed to provide a number of related services. However, once the student began attending the in-district program, the district reneged on its agreement to provide all the related services. Attorneys from the firm filed an application for emergent relief and after a hearing the court Ordered the district to provide the full level of related services and supports. At the time this newsletter is going to press, attorneys from the firm have filed an application in the United States District Court for the reimbursement of the family’s attorney’s fees. It is anticipated the parents will prevail on its reimbursement claim.
  • The firm recently represented an adult child in a contested guardianship matter pertaining to an aging parent with dementia. The individual with dementia was subject to undue influence and duress and was at risk of falling prey to personal and economic exploitation. Attorneys at the firm obtained a temporary injunction against the individual who was perpetrating the acts of exploitation. The matter is currently pending before the court in Pennsylvania where further proceedings are scheduled.
  • The firm recently represented the parents of a 22 year-old adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities who is non-ambulatory, totally dependent on others for all ADLs, has a seizure disorder, and is g-tube fed at a hearing against the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) which is the state agency responsible for administering Medicaid in New Jersey. At issue was whether the individual with disabilities should continue to receive 16 hours of private duty nursing per day under the Managed Long Term Services and Supports Waiver (MLTSS). The agency, through a private sub-contracted HMO, attempted to slash the 16 hours of nursing services per day down to 8 hours per day. After a contested trial, the Court ruled Medicaid through the private insurance company must provide the full 16 hours of nursing services per day.
  • The firm successfully challenged a Medicaid ruling that refused to allow a family to pay for funeral expenses out of remaining funds in a trust. As a result of the firm’s work, the court allowed the family to use trust funds to pay for the funeral and forced Medicaid to provide a written release. The Court also awarded attorney fees.
  • The firm successfully obtained a multi-sensory reading program for a nine-year-old student with a visual processing disorder. The specialized services will be
    provided to him in his home school.
  • The firm successfully obtained compensatory special education services for an older student with autism. As a result of the firm’s intervention, the student will now receive special education and related services beyond his scheduled graduation from school at age 21.
  • In a pro-bono matter, the firm’s attorneys successfully advocated on behalf of a 19 year-old with intellectual and behavioral disabilities. The student’s local school district was proposing to graduate him this spring, in spite of the fact that he had no postsecondary plans, and was likely to be DDD-eligible. Thanks to the firms’ assertive intervention, the district agreed to keep the teen in his current placement at a private school through age 21.
  • In two separate cases, attorneys of the firm successfully represented the parents of students with mild to moderate autism. In both cases, parents had unilaterally placed their child into day schools in which the students received intensive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the school districts in both cases agreed to reimburse the parents for the majority of the costs of the placement, including transportation costs, and to provide funding for the placements for the following school year.
  • Attorneys of the firm successfully litigated on behalf of a teenage girl with severe autism and self-injurious and aggressive behaviors in order to secure an appropriate residential education placement. In addition, the student was awarded over four years of compensatory education. Due to the degree of success achieved in the litigation, the parents were able to recover the full amount of attorneys’ fees and costs that they had incurred.
  • The firm helped the parents of a 22-year-old woman with an intellectual disability secure an appropriate residential placement in a group home, after the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities placed her in a foster care home.
  • The firm helped the family of an 18-year-old with severe autism obtain in-home supports from the Department of Children and Families.
  • Attorneys of the firm successfully litigated on behalf of a young student with multiple disabilities to ward off efforts by the student’s school district to place him into a regional school for students with disabilities. The judge agreed with arguments made by the firm that the school district was essentially trying to “rid itself” of a challenging student, rather than make sincere efforts to accommodate his needs within his local elementary school. The case is significant due to the judge’s strongly-worded repudiation of the illegal practice of deciding to change a student’s placement before determining his educational needs through the IEP process.
  • The firm helped the parents of a 22-year-old woman with an intellectual disability secure an appropriate residential placement in a group home, after the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities placed her in a foster care home.
  • The firm helped the family of an 18-year-old with severe autism obtain in-home supports from the Department of Children and Families.
  • Attorneys of the firm successfully litigated on behalf of a young student with multiple disabilities to ward off efforts by the student’s school district to place him into a regional school for students with disabilities. The judge agreed with arguments made by the firm that the school district was essentially trying to “rid itself” of a challenging student, rather than make sincere efforts to accommodate his needs within his local elementary school. The case is significant due to the judge’s strongly-worded repudiation of the illegal practice of deciding to change a student’s placement before determining his educational needs through the IEP process.
  • Hinkle, Fingles and Prior got the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (NJDDD) to reverse itself on the issue of services for a young adult with high functioning Asperger’s syndrome, allowing the young man to access self-directed funding to pay for services.
  • The firm represented the father of a young woman with Down syndrome in a hotly contested guardianship matter. Their victory on his behalf allowed him to remain active in his daughter’s life following a divorce.
  • The firm represented a woman with developmental disabilities whose funding for residential services was terminated by NJDDD after she had been receiving residential services in the same location for 49 years. Although NJDDD refused to reverse itself, attorneys at the firm persuaded the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division to restore funding for the woman’s program during the pendency of a hearing.
  • The firm represented a 19-year-old student with autism who had been expelled from a private school because of behavior. The negotiated settlement with the local board of education allowed the student to secure a customized transition program with highly trained staff.
  • Hinkle, Fingles and Prior intervened on behalf of a client and got the Division of Developmental Disabilities to reverse itself on the issue of services for a young adult with high functioning Asperger’s syndrome, thereby allowing the young man to access self-directed funding to pay for day services.
  • The firm represented the father of a young woman with Down syndrome in a hotly contested guardianship matter. Their victory on his behalf allowed him to remain active in his daughter’s life following a divorce.
  • Thanks to the involvement of Hinkle, Fingles & Prior, a young adult with disabilities obtained permanent residential placement with a coordinated education program.
  • Hinkle, Fingles & Prior secured retroactive and continued funding of an out-of-state residential placement for an individual with severe disabilities after the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities arbitrarily terminated funding for his placement.
  • Hinkle, Fingles & Prior secured funding for a student with disabilities after the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities refused to continue funding the placement when he aged out of his educational entitlement.
  • The firm was successful in its efforts to secure an emergency residential placement for two different clients. One client, a 21 year-old man with autism and challenging behavior had recently graduated from a special education program. After the firm’s intervention, DDD agreed to place the man in a community-based group home in Monmouth County.
  • A 22-year-old woman with autism had been placed privately in an out-of-state residential program. When her parents could no longer afford to pay for the program, she was asked to leave. With legal help from the law firm, the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities placed the young woman on an emergency basis in a group home within New Jersey.
  • The firm was successful in efforts on behalf of a 4th grade student who is deaf. The district sought to remove the Teacher of the Deaf, suggesting that an interpreter and special education teacher would be sufficient. The firm argued against this change, as it would compromise the student’s ability to learn in the general education class. The team agreed to keep the Teacher of the Deaf for necessary subjects.
  • The firm successfully secured a less restrictive placement for an 8-year-old boy with Encephalopathy who had been placed in out-of-district placement. The boy’s parents sought a placement that would offer more access to typical peers, but when the district refused to send his records to other programs, the parents filed for Due Process. With the firm’s assistance, the parties were able to reach an agreement at mediation in which the district agreed to send the child’s records to the requested programs, and he was placed in an extended school year program to focus on his individualized needs.
  • The firm successfully obtained an appropriate educational and residential placement for twin 11 year-old girls with autism and severe behaviors. After the firm filed suit against the twins’ school district, they were placed in a specialized school for individuals with autism. The firm also negotiated with the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities and obtained a community-based group home operated by a program that will address the girls’ behaviors.
  • The firm successfully represented a client with Aspergers Syndrome and bipolar disorder who was seeking services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities. The 15-year-old teen had been denied eligibility based on DDD’s assertion that his mental health issues were more severe than his developmental disability.
  • The firm was able to secure reasonable accommodations for a law student sitting for the Bar exam. The Board of Bar Examiners had granted the student a 50% increase in time, over a two-day period. This would have required the student to sit for two ten-hour days – nondisabled candidates only had to sit for 7 hrs. As a result of the firm’s intervention, the candidate was awarded full relief: 100% extended time over a three-day period.
  • After filing for due process, the firm was able to resolve a special education dispute against a school district by agreeing to be bound by the recommendations of an expert chosen by the family.
  • The firm was able to obtain an out of district residential placement for a student with autism and severe behaviors. As part of the settlement, the district agreed to reimburse the family nearly $50,000 in attorneys’ fees.
  • The firm was able to secure a residential placement funded by the Division of Developmental Disabilities for an adult with autism.
  • The firm was successful in negotiating a settlement in which a four-year-old preschooler with autism was able to remain in his local school district with a comprehensive program of supports and services. The binding settlement included Occupational therapy, physical therapy, a behavior intervention plan, a home-based behavior intervention services and a longer, more comprehensive extended school year program.
  • As a result of a settlement reached in complex litigation against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and other municipal authorities, the parents of a young adult with autism were awarded in excess of $100,000 reimbursement for the costs of placing their child into a specialized residential program located in New Hampshire. Pursuant to the agreement, the Commonwealth also guaranteed to pay for the individual’s placement in the program for the rest of his life.
  • Attorneys of Hinkle, Fingles & Prior successfully settled a case against a New Jersey school district involving a young man with a chromosomal abnormality. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the young man’s local school district will provide funding for the costs of a college-based post-secondary program for students with disabilities in which the student will learn a variety of vocational, academic, and independent living skills.
  • Attorneys of Hinkle, Fingles & Prior successfully settled a case against a Pennsylvania school district Involving a young man with Aspergers Syndrome and other disabilities. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the young man’s local school district will reimburse the student’s parents for the costs they expended in sending the student to a specialized school for high-functioning students with learning and other disabilities located in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and will also keep the student at the school for the next two school years.
Published on Apr 3rd, 2016. © Copyright 2016 Hinkle, Fingles & Prior, P.C., Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved.
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Hinkle, Fingles, & Prior, P.C., Attorneys at Law is a multi-state law practice with offices in Lawrenceville, Cherry Hill, Florham Park, and Paramus, New Jersey, and Plymouth Meeting and Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. The firm's partners and associates lecture and write frequently on topics of elder law, estate planning, special needs trusts, guardianship, special education, health care insurance & Medicaid, and accessing adult services, and are available to speak to groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania at no charge. For more information, visit http://www.hinkle1.com/ or call (609) 896-4200, or (215) 860-2100.