NY State Responds To Lawsuit By Billing Family Of Homicide Victim $11.6 Million

| by Will Hagle

Rasheen Rose died in 2012 at the age of 33. He was being held at the Fineson Developmental Center in Queens at the time for unspecified mental disabilities. 

According to the Huffington Post, the New York medical examiner concluded that Rose’s death was a homicide, claiming he “became unresponsive” while being restrained by staff at the center. Investigators initially found no evidence of criminal conduct, but Rose’s sister has since filed a lawsuit against the institution for its role in her brother’s death.

Rose’s sister, named Shaneice Luke, is seeking unspecified damages in the federal lawsuit, which alleges staff had a history of mistreatment and abuse towards her brother. 

Despite the accusations of homicide, the institution has billed Luke for a total of $11.67 million to cover Rose’s 10 years of care there. Fineson Development Center spokeswoman Jennifer O’Sullivan has claimed that the institution, which is run by the New York state Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, was simply following Medicaid obligations in its request for reimbursement.

The center, however, only billed Rose’s sister after she filed the lawsuit. 

Attorney Aaron DePass claims that the bill sent to Luke is unjustified, especially considering the fact that Rose ultimately died as a direct result of his treatment at the Fineson Developmental Center. 

“Rasheen Rose did not receive care remotely associated with the amount of money collected by OPWDD for Rasheen Rose over the 10-year period. It is clear that the quality of care he received does not warrant any payment for services whatsoever,” DePass wrote in a response to the state agency. 

According to NYSARC, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced plans to close the state’s four remaining development centers last year, with Bernard Fineson expected to close by 2017.