Martinez v. Astrue (U.S. District Court/Northern District of California) This class action suit challenged the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) policy of suspending or denying Social Security, SSI, and Special Veterans Benefits solely on the basis of an outstanding warranty for a felony, whether or not the recipient knew of the warrant. Settlement was reached with the agency agreeing to no longer suspend or deny benefits unless a recipient was actually fleeing to avoid arrest. More information.

Fournier v. Sebelius (Ninth District, CA)  The law firm of Arnold & Porter submitted an amicus brief on behalf of Justice in Aging in support of a motion for rehearing in a Medicare case of potentially broad impact that could affect future litigation by us. More information.

Oster v. Lightbourne (formerly Oster v. Wagner) This class action lawsuit challenged California’s cuts to the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program, a Medicaid personal care services benefit that allows low-income older adults and persons with disabilities to stay at home and avoid institutionalization. The case was settled in 2013 with two of the most major cuts to the program repealed. More information.

Shuts v. Covenant Holdco LLC  (CA Court of Appeals). In 2012 we, along with AARP,  submitted a friend of the court appellate brief supporting the right of nursing home residents to enforce California’s minimum nursing home staffing levels. The underlying suit asked the court to require the defendant nursing home chain to maintain adequate staffing levels in 19 California nursing homes.

Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California (U.S. Supreme Court) The case addressed whether people with limited income and resources can sue states that enact laws which conflict with federal Medicaid requirements in the same way that businesses sue states to challenge state consumer protection laws. We advised attorneys on the case. In a 5:4 decision in February 2012, the court sent the case back to the Court of Appeals for further consideration.

Affordable Care Act Challenges During the many challenges to the Affordable Care Act, we played a crucial role in mounting a strategic defense before the Supreme Court and other courts. We partnered with organizations working to preserve the benefits of the law and wrote numerous articles and amici briefs defending its constitutionality. We submitted an amicus brief arguing the benefits of the ACA to individuals 65 and over; we submitted an amicus brief arguing that the individual mandate “falls squarely within Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce”; and we filed an amicus brief in support of the federal government’s Motion to Dismiss when the Commonwealth of Virginia challenged portions of the law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 28, 2012 that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.

Darling et al v. Douglas (Ninth District, California) This lawsuit challenged California’s plan to eliminate Adult Day Health Care as a Medi-Cal benefit. We worked with partners to reach a settlement with the state, preserving the benefits that allow 35,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities to stay healthy at home and in their communities, and avoid the need to prematurely transfer to nursing homes.

Ledezma v. Shewry (California Superior Court, San Francisco) This class action suit was filed on behalf of elderly and disabled Medi-Cal beneficiaries for whom the state has ceased paying Medicare premiums without cause or notice.

Situ et al v. Leavitt (Ninth District) This action challenged the failure of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to protect dual eligible beneficiaries in its implementation of Medicare Part D. Under the agreement, the Secretary agreed to make significant changes to enrollment and deeming systems as well as to strengthen the safety net for new enrollees who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.