Lawsuit dismissal against Cuomo denied in Psych Center battle

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The fight over the future of the Western New York Children's Psychiatric Center will continue in the courts after a judge denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Mental Health Commissioner Ann Marie Sullivan.

The Save Our WNY CPC Coalition is suing to halt the state's plan to move young patients from the West Seneca facility to the Buffalo Psychiatric Center where adults are currently treated. Renovations there have already started. A judge lifted a temporary restraining order to stop construction last week.

On Thursday, State Supreme Judge Catherine Panepinto denied a motion to dismiss the suit by the state assistant attorney general.

The coalition's attorney, Steve Cohen, argues the Office of Mental Health needs approval from the state legislature to close the CPC. The state says the plan is not to shut it down, but to move it.  

Lawmakers unanimously passed a measure to keep facility in tact last month. Gov. Cuomo has yet to receive the bill to sign or veto it, a decision the state's attorney says is up to the governor alone, not the courts.

After denying the motion to dismiss, the judge gave both sides until September 20 to gather more information and reconvene. The coalition suing the governor and state mental health commissioner is planning a fundraiser in August to help with mounting legal fees. 

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