- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York is settling lawsuits against staff at a state residence in Queens where a 33-year-old disabled man was killed three years ago when he was restrained, according to court papers and attorneys in the case.

The suits by Rasheen Rose’s sister, Shaneice Luke, alleged that at least three staff at Fineson Developmental Center threw Rose to the ground and one sat on him while others stood by.

The $2.15 million settlement shows the level of culpability, her lawyers said Tuesday. The settlement in principle is still being finalized, they said.

The New York City medical examiner ruled Rose’s death a homicide. Queens prosecutors haven’t charged anyone.

Staff have denied wrongdoing, saying they acted within their professional judgment.

“The number reflects how wrong they were,” said attorney Robert Santoriella.

Attorney Aaron DePass said the lawsuit has prompted some policy changes, including more on-site information gathering by state health officials. But concerns remain about state care of the disabled, and it appears that staff involved remain at the facility and some have been promoted, he said.

Assistant state attorney general Mark Rosenzweig, representing eight staff, said in a letter to last week to U.S. District Judge Sandra Townes that the settlement in principle will resolve both that lawsuit and another in court.

The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, which runs Fineson, declined to comment Tuesday. Spokeswoman Jennifer O’Sullivan said the litigation was still pending.

The attorney general’s office, which represented the Fineson employees, declined to comment.

One year after the federal suit was filed, New York officials sent Luke an $11.67 million bill, citing his total Medicaid assistance over a decade. Medicaid, a state and federal program for the poor, doesn’t typically demand reimbursement.

DePace said they challenged that bill, which clearly exceeded the cost of actual care Rose received, and it was waived.


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