Judge Blocks Efforts to Move WNY Children's Psychiatric Center in West Seneca

Hearing on matter to be held Jul 27th

Tom Puckett
July 17, 2017 - 11:19 am

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A court has halted all efforts to move the WNY Children's Psychiatric Center and move it in with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

Judge Catherine Nugent Panepinto has issued a temporary restraining order requring Governor Cuomo to temporarily cease all construction and related activities in the plan to move the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center.

The order is in response to a lawsuit filed last week by the Coalition to Save the Children’s Psychiatric Center. Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Sullivan want to close the West Seneca facility and combine it with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The move is opposed by staff, families, former patients, community groups and elected officials at the town, county and state levels citing medical and safety issues.

Attorney Steve Cohen says the most significant part of the order is the governor “is temporarily restrained from vetoing” the Assembly and Senate bills, unanimously approved in each house, blocking recommended closing of the center in West Seneca and the transfer of patients to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. Justice Panepinto’s order says the governor and commissioner are also “Temporarily Restrained from taking or allowing or directing or permitting any renovations to take place at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center that are directly related to the possible relocation of the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center.”

“We applaud Justice Panepinto for having the courage to stand up for the most vulnerable people in our society,” said Steven M. Cohen of the law firm of HoganWillig, attorney for the Coalition.

Assemblylman Mickey Kearns, a staunch opponent of closing the center, says in statement, “The decision by Judge Panepinto is another step to save our children. We have the support from the entire NYS Legislature, the community, and now we have support from the courts. I’m hopeful Governor Cuomo will take this action as yet another indication to sign the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center bill, which pass unanimously in the Assembly and Senate and needs to be signed into law immediately.”

A full hearing on this matter will be held before Justice Panepinto on Thursday, July 27th at 10am.

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