Disability Rights Washington files a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Murinko v. Strange

Mr. Murinko and wife and two daughters smiling in the sun

On August 29, 2019, Disability Rights Washington (DRW) and Shawn Murinko filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunctive Relief in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Washington. After being stuck in a hospital for eight months, Mr. Murinko filed his lawsuit, Murinko v. Strange against the Department of Social and Health Services and Health Care Authority for failing to provide him with the services he needed to safely discharge. Although he is now back home, he is once again on the brink of re-hospitalization because he is still not getting the Medicaid-funded services he needs from the Washington Department of Social and Health Services Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA).

Mr. Murinko lost his DDA services after he was hospitalized last October because DDA stopped paying his residential provider, and never replaced his services with a new residential provider to step into their shoes. He discharged in June, spending over six months longer than he needed in the hospital, only with far more limited services than what he needs and had been getting before being hospitalized.

In their motion, Mr. Murinko and DRW argue that DDA’s failure to ensure he can access the services he had been getting and still needs is violating his rights under the Medicaid Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I am fearful that my health and safety are still in jeopardy and that I might have to be re-hospitalized,” says Mr. Murinko. “I can’t even bear the thought of this.” DRW’s staff attorney, Sarah Eaton, explains, “Mr. Murinko is sadly not the only constituent of DRW who is facing this situation as we know there are numerous other DDA clients who are stuck in hospitals with no service providers to deliver the supports they need to be safe.” See the Office of Developmental Disabilities Ombuds, “Stuck in the Hospital” report released in December 2018 for more information. Mr. Murinko’s complaint was amended earlier this month to include DRW as an organizational plaintiff. Their motion is noted to be heard on Friday, September 20.