Nebraska Settles Lawsuit With Man After Refusing To Allow HIV-Positive Woman To Adopt Child
Nebraska has reached a settlement with a man who sued the state nine years ago for refusing to allow his HIV-positive wife to adopt a child, the AP/Kansas City Star reports. Both parties signed an agreement not to disclose the terms of the settlement (AP/Kansas City Star, 2/13). Jay and GayLynn Brummett for several years fought to adopt a young boy who was placed with them as a state ward in 1992. The state Department of Social Services opposed the adoption, saying that GayLynn Brummett's HIV-positive status made it unlikely that she could parent the boy into adulthood. With the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Brummetts sued then-Gov. Ben Nelson (D), then-Social Services Director Don Leuenberger and three Social Services employees to gain the right to adopt Noah. The state Supreme Court in 1996 ruled in favor of the Brummetts. However, GayLynn Brummett died of AIDS-related complications one day after the couple filed the new state-supported application for adoption. Jay Brummett filed a new lawsuit seeking damages for the emotional strain he and his wife underwent as a result of the case, and the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2003 ruled 2-1 that the lawsuit could name the state and the Department of Social Services as defendants (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/9/03). As part of the settlement, the state agreed to not discriminate against prospective foster or adoptive parents who are HIV-positive, according to the AP/Star (AP/Kansas City Star, 2/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.