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A federal judge in Maine says 40 residents with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and other conditions can join a lawsuit seeking to force the state to provide opportunities for them to live outside nursing homes.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge John Woodcock granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by three men with cerebral palsy who want to live on their own but retain services provided by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

In the lawsuit filed in December 2009, the three argued the state violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Nursing Home Reform Act because it failed to make it possible for them to live outside nursing homes.

The Bangor Daily News says state officials couldn't be reached Wednesday because of the storm.



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