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The residents of the Oceanview Manor Home for Adults in Coney Island won a class action settlement in federal court on Oct. 7, after suing the home’s operator, Joseph Rosenfeld, for withholding their SSI checks. Cortigiano v. Oceanview Manor Home for Adults et al. alleged that the home violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by using residents’ monthly $130 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks, meant to cover basic clothing, transportation, and toiletry needs, as a way to control their behavior. Three residents filed suit against the home in Sept. 2004, and the U.S. District Court later certified the case as a class action. Represented by MFY Legal Services, Inc., a nonprofit legal agency, and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, the settlement will prevent the home from handling the checks of residents for whom the home isn’t the “representative payee,” and will give residents access to surplus money in their accounts. MFY will make unannounced visits to make sure the home is holding up its end of the agreement. “Oceanview and its operator have an obligation to help residents with money management and personal care, not to punish them by denying them access to what is legally theirs,” said Susan Kohlman, managing partner at Pillsbury Winthrop. (E. Holmgren) [10/17/05]