For a decade, Mr. Watley and Ms. Hasemann fought the removal of their children, ultimately losing three trials in State Superior Court in Middletown. However, they did win appeals of those decisions due to legal error and malfeasance on the part of the trial court. Eventually, however, Connecticut State Court terminated their parental rights permanently. Consequently, in 2015 they took their case to Federal District Court. Initially, that Court denied their complaint in response to a motion to dismiss filed by the CT Attorney General's office. However, the couple then appealed that decision to a higher Court--the Second Circuit Court in New York--which sustained their right to pursue their case. Since then they have returned to the lower Connecticut Federal District Court.
DCF Tries to Slip Through a Legal Loophole by Wrongly Defining Reasonable Efforts As Identical to Reasonable Modifications Under Title II of Federal ADA Law
In other words, CT DCF "reasonable efforts" have to do with services offered or provided; the "reasonable modifications" mandated by the ADA have to do with providing access to those services. Logically speaking, if you do not provide access to services, then you might as well have not provided them at all. This is the kind of common sense reality that the CT DCF wishes to evade in their attempt to wiggle out of taking responsibility for their wrongdoing.
Physical Barriers to Access vs. Attitudinal Barriers to Access
Further, there can be barriers to access where the solution is purely a matter of putting in a ramp, providing a hearing aid, or a magnifying glass. But what can be done when the CT DCF has to overcome its own attitudinal barriers to working with clients who have disabilities? These negative attitudes, as we have seen, can also throw up major obstacles to access.
Little Known, and Possibly Unconstitutional, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine Often Used to Throw Out Civil Rights Cases
In their complaint, the Plaintiffs specifically stated that they were not asking for the state judgment to be overturned. Nonetheless, the Attorney General, on behalf of DCF, argued that inevitably the state judgments would be overturned if the plaintiffs win their case in Federal Court.
Exceptions to the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine Which Could Overcome the State of Connecticut's Motion to Dismiss
As Attorney Andrew O'Toole rightly pointed out, if the State of Connecticut claims that you cannot submit your ADA complaint on the State Court level, as it did, and the Federal District Court refuses to take jurisdiction of an ADA complaint based upon the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, where are you going to take it? Who is going to take responsibility for adjudicating the case?
Another area of concern is that the case of Tennessee v. Lane affirmed that sovereign jurisdiction (i.e. the predominance of state court law) does not apply in regard to Federal ADA law. Further, the strictures of the 14th amendment prohibit state law from being used to deny citizens their due process rights and the equal protection of the law. Isn't the attempt to enforce Rooker-Feldman, a doctrine that is widely regarded as not based upon the constitution but on statute, a loophole that the States are taking advantage of to toss out ADA claims such as these and reclaim sovereign jurisdiction from another angle?
The Assistant Attorney General Janet Rosenberg also presented other fairly obscure legal arguments when arguing that Federal Court should dismiss the plaintiff's ADA case. What is interesting about all these arguments which encompassed not only the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, but also claim preclusion, res judicata, collateral estoppel, the statute of limitations, and sovereign State immunity, is that the attorneys never got around to arguing the ADA claims themselves. It has been two years since this case began, one which is fundamentally about the ADA, and yet ironically the ADA aspect of the case hasn't been argued thus far, and may never be.
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied
Word on the street is that Judge Chatigney is going to do all he can to dismiss this case and that he is going to take particular care to make sure that the memorandum of decision he writes up is air tight and not appealable, regardless of federal ADA law. Why? Because there are so many people standing in line who have exactly similar complaints that authorities fear they would overwhelm the family court and child welfare system.
In addition, it appears that getting a decision could take as long as two years or more. Should this actually be the case, Joey Watley and Karin Hasemann will have submitted their federal complaint in 2015 and will end up receiving a ruling in the case in 2019. That means four years to get a decision. Talking about justice delayed being justice denied! If it takes that long to get a decision, that would be unconscionable. But what am I talking about. The reality is that the State Court already pulled this kind of nonsense on Joey Watley and Karin Hasemann by cycling the case up and down from trial court, to appeals court, to supreme court for an entire decade, all as a means to exhaust the plaintiffs and wear out their resolve.
The Connecticut Department of Justice Fails In Its Responsibility to Enforce Federal ADA Law Under Title II
MOST CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL ON THE TASK FORCE TO FIGHT PUBLIC CORRUPTION IS ATTORNEY DEIRDRE DALY HERSELF!
ELIZABETH A. RICHTER'S FEDERAL ADA COMPLAINT CONTINUES ON TO APPEAL AT THE SECOND CIRCUIT COURT!
THE DOJ'S TOOTHLESS RESPONSE TO CONNECTICUT CITIZENS' COMPLAINTS THAT THE CT JUDICIAL BRANCH VIOLATES THEIR FEDERAL ADA RIGHTS!
HOW THE STATE OF CT MAINTAINS A LEGAL ARMY TO OPPRESS ITS OWN CITIZENS: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE CONNECTICUT OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL!
2014 ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CONNECTICUT JUDICIAL BRANCH'S ADVISORY BOARD ON THE ADA REVEALS MAJOR FLAWS!
JUDICIAL NULLIFICATION OF THE ADA IN FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT!
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE ORIGINALLY ESTABLISHED TO DEFEND CONNECTICUT'S CITIZENS INSTEAD ATTACKS AND BULLIES THEM!
WHY THEY DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK: THE ROOKER-FELDMAN DOCTRINE AND THE DOMESTIC RELATIONS EXCEPTION!
REPORT ON APPELLATE COURT HEARING ON JOE WATLEY AND KARIN HASEMANN "PREDICTIVE NEGLECT" CASE!
YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE ADA AND ADAAA DENIED, DENIED, DENIED! (PART I)
YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE ADA AND THE ADAAA, DENIED, DENIED, DENIED! (PART 2)
YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE ADA AND THE ADAAA: DENIED, DENIED, DENIED! (PART 3)
THE WATLEY DECISION, SC 18951/18952
Wikipedia - Rooker-Feldman Doctrine