Resources: Court Decisions


Matter of Sean O.

Surrogate, Suffolk County, denies guardianship of young man with autism, applying the principle of “least restrictive alternative,” finding that Sean “is … functioning on his own in society as a capable adult who engages in supportive decision-making with his family and support professionals, [and] is aware of his limitations and recognizes his need to turn to others for guidance on certain matters.”

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Matter of Capurso

Surrogate, Westchester County, terminates the guardianship of Stephen a 34-year-old man with intellectual and developmental disabilities “because Stephen has a system of supported decision-making in place that constitutes a less restrictive alternative to 17-A guardianship” 

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Matter of Dameris L.

Surrogate, New York County, applying the “constitutional imperative” of least-restrictive alternative, and citing the CRPD, terminates guardianship of a 32-year-old woman who had been found “to be functioning at the mental age of a seven year old” based on evidence that she ‘is able to exercise her legal capacity, to make and act on her own decisions, with the assistance of a support network which has come together for her since she first appeared in this court.” 

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Matter of Michelle M.

Surrogate, Kings County, denies guardianship for a 34-year-old woman with an intellectual disability, based on evidence that she has the capacity to make decisions on her own with support, citing, e.g. the CRPD, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Olmstead  v. L.C., Governor Cuomo’s Olmstead Cabinet Report and a law review article by SDMNY Advisory Council member Leslie Saltzman who wrote “Just as we recognize that the law…generally require[s] that we build a ramp so that an individual with a physical impairment can enter a building without being carried up the steps, we should also recognize a legal obligation to provide decision-making support to an individual with limitations in mental capabilities rather than assign a guardian to make decisions for that person.”

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