Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Public Benefits
by
Plaintiffs, thirteenth North Carolina residents who lost access to in-home personal care services (PCS) due to a statutory change, brought suit challenging the new PCS program. The district court granted plaintiffs' motions for a preliminary injunction and class certification. Defendants appealed, raising several points of error. The court agreed with the district court's conclusion that a preliminary injunction was appropriate in this case. The court held, however, that the district court's order failed to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 because it lacked specificity and because the district court neglected to address the issue of security. Accordingly, the court remanded the case. View "Pashby v. Delia" on Justia Law

by
Five Medicaid recipients filed a class action against the District, alleging that the District systematically denied Medicaid coverage of prescription medications without providing the written notice required by federal and D.C. law. The district court dismissed the case on the pleadings, concluding that plaintiffs lacked standing to pursue their claims for injunctive and declaratory relief. At least with regard to one plaintiff, John Doe, the allegations sufficiently established injury, causation, and redressability and the court concluded that Doe had standing to pursue his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief. Therefore, the court had no need to decide whether the other plaintiffs had standing and reversed the judgment, remanding for further proceedings. View "NB, et al. v. DC, et al." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, three plaintiff-classes and Sheila Perdue individually, brought a class action complaint seeking declaratory and injunction relief alleging violations of their federal statutory and constitutional rights. Plaintiffs challenged the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration's (FSSA) automated system of processing claims for Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits. The trial court held (1) the FSSA's denial notices satisfied due process; (2) the FSSA could not deny an application for Food Stamp benefits when the applicant failed to cooperate in the eligibility determination process; and (3) determined that the FSSA had failed to accommodate Perdue's disabilities in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the FSSA's denial notices were insufficiently explanatory in violation of due process; (2) the FSSA may deny an application for Food Stamp benefit when the applicant fails to cooperate in the eligibility determination process; and (3) Perdue was entitled to reasonable accommodations in applying for benefits, but that did not necessarily require providing a caseworker or case management services. View "Perdue v. Gargano" on Justia Law

by
This case arose when plaintiffs filed a class action complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the District was violating the Medicaid Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq. Since 1993, a consent decree has governed how the District provides "early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services" under the Act. The District has now asked the district court to vacate that decree on two grounds: that an intervening Supreme Court decision has made clear that plaintiffs lack a private right of action to enforce the Medicaid Act, and that in any event, the District has come into compliance with the requirements of the Act. Because the court concluded that the district court's rejection of one of the District's two arguments did not constitute an order "refusing to dissolve [an] injunction[]" within the meaning 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(1), the court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Salazar, et al. v. DC, et al." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff represented a class of legal immigrants in the state of Washington adversely affected by its recent termination of a state-funded food assistance program for legal immigrants, which exclusively benefitted Washington resident aliens who became ineligible for federal food stamps following the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, 8 U.S.C. 1601 et seq. Plaintiff contended that the state, by eliminating food assistance to class members while continuing to administer federal food assistance to U.S. citizens and certain qualified aliens, violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and, by failing to provide class members adequate pre-deprivation notice and opportunity to be heard, also violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Because plaintiff failed even to allege that the State treated her less favorably than a similarly situated citizen of the State, her claim of alienage discrimination failed on the merits. The court agreed with the State that plaintiff lacked the concrete and particularized interest required for standing to claim a procedural due process violation. Consequently, plaintiff either lacked standing or would not succeed on the merits of her claims. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's order granting the motion for a preliminary injunction, vacated the injunction, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Pimentel v. Dreyfus, et al." on Justia Law

by
Main & Associates, Inc., d/b/a Southern Springs Healthcare Facility, filed an action in the Bullock Circuit Court, on behalf of itself and a putative class of Alabama nursing homes, against Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBS), asserting claims of breach of contract, intentional interference with business relations, negligence and/or wantonness, and unjust enrichment and seeking injunctive relief. BCBS removed the case to the the federal court, arguing among other things, that Southern Springs' claims arose under the Medicare Act and that the Medicare Act, as amended by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (the MMA) completely preempted Southern Springs' state-law claims. Southern Springs moved the federal court to remand the case to the circuit court, arguing that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over its claims. The federal court granted the motion and remanded the case to the Bullock Circuit Court. After remand, BCBS moved the circuit court for a judgment on the pleadings, arguing that Southern Springs had not exhausted its administrative remedies and that the circuit court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the case. The circuit court denied BCBS's motion, and BCBS petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the circuit court to dismiss Southern Springs' claims. Upon review, the Court concluded that Southern Springs' claims were inextricably intertwined with claims for coverage and benefits under the Medicare Act and that they were subject to the Act's mandatory administrative procedures and limited judicial review. Southern Springs did not exhaust its administrative remedies, and the circuit court did not have jurisdiction over its claims. Therefore, the Court granted BCBS's petition and issue a writ of mandamus directing the circuit court to dismiss the claims against BCBS. View "Main & Associates, Inc. v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Alabama" on Justia Law

by
In 2003, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and a certified class of Medicaid-eligible children reached a settlement agreement and proposed a consent decree that outlined the Department's obligations to provide dental services to Medicaid-enrolled children in accordance with federal law. The district court approved the Decree in 2004. Between 2007 and 2010, the district court denied four motions alleging that the Department was not in compliance. The First Circuit affirmed, upholding the district court's requirement that the Class to file a motion for contempt to enforce the Decree; denial of a 2010 motion for contempt; denial of a request for an evidentiary hearing in 2010; and holding the Class to a clear and convincing burden of proof on its 2010 motion to modify or extend the Decree. View "Hawkins v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs. for the State of NH" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, visually or manually impaired Florida citizens who were registered to vote in Duval County, Florida and were represented by the American Association of People with Disabilities, filed a putative class action against defendants, alleging that defendants violated federal statutory and state constitutional provisions by failing to provide handicapped-accessible voting machines to visually or manually impaired Florida voters after the 2000 general election. The court vacated its prior opinion and in its revised opinion, held that the district court erroneously granted plaintiffs' requested declaratory judgment and injunction against purported violations of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213, and the regulations promulgated thereunder. The opinion, however, based that outcome exclusively on the ground that voting machines were not "facilities" under 28 C.F.R. 35.151(b).

by
This appeal involved a putative class action filed by three Pennsylvania Medicaid beneficiaries subject to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's (DPW) liens against future settlements or judgments. At issue was whether state agencies responsible for administering the Medicaid program have the authority to assert such liens and, if so, whether Pennsylvania's statutory framework was consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services v. Ahlborn. The court examined the text, structure, history, and purpose of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 301 et seq., and held that liens limited to medical costs were not prohibited by the anti-lien and anti-recovery provisions of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396p(a)-(b). Accordingly, the court upheld Pennsylvania's longstanding practice of imposing such liens. The court also held that Pennsylvania's current statutory framework, which afforded Medicaid recipients a right of appeal from the default allocation, was a permissible default apportionment scheme.

by
Plaintiff, on behalf of a class of similarly situated plaintiffs who received Medicaid assistance and were subject to a Medicaid lien pursuant to 53-2-612, MCA, sued defendant alleging that defendant had collected a greater amount than it was entitled from plaintiffs' recoveries from other sources. The parties raised several issues on appeal. The court held that Ark. Dept. of Health & Human Servs. v. Ahlborn applied retroactively to all class members' claims and that defendant must raise affirmative defenses with respect to individual class members to avoid Ahlborn's effect. The court held that the applicable statute of limitations to be 27-2-231, MCA, which provided for a five-year limitations period. The court declined to disturb the district court's order requiring defendant to compile data on individual class members' claims. The court reversed the district court's determination as to interest assessed against defendant, and concluded that no interest could be assessed until two years after any judgment had been entered, under 2-9-317, MCA. The court concluded that the term "third party" in the Medicaid reimbursement statutes included all other sources of medical assistance available to Medicaid recipients, including private health or automobile insurance obtained by the Medicaid recipient. The court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the class on its proffered distinction between "first party" and "third party" sources. The court affirmed the district court's conclusion that plaintiffs' "made whole" claim was immaterial in light of Ahlborn.