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AARP Foundation Legal Advocacy

Docket: Recent Case Activity (Filed / Decided)

Case Name: Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 7th Cir. Docket: 17-1322

Filed: 6/15/2017

Read Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Under the Fair Housing Act, is a housing provider liable for failing to promptly correct and end tenant-on-tenant harassment on its property?

Case Name: Vaughan v. Anderson Reg'l Med. Ctr.

Court: U.S.Supreme Court    Docket: 16-1386

Filed: 6/15/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does the Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) requirement of "reasonable accommodation" require giving a less qualified disabled worker a vacant job if the employer's policy is to hire the most qualified?

Case Name: Hart v. Berryhill

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 4th Cir.  Docket: 16-1371

Decided: 6/7/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Article

Case Result: The Treasury Dept. agreed to stop seizing tax refunds to pay off old family debts and issued Emergency Message, EM-17014 to its staff. As a result, approximately 65,000 people are now eligible to recover up to $56 million in refunds. 

Case Name: Sandoz v. Amgen

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 15-1039

Decided: 6/5/2017 

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Article

Case Result: Consistent with our brief, a unanimous court held that under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCIA), a generic biosimilar applicant may provide notice of commercial marketing prior to obtaining licensure from the FDA. Amgen argued that such marketing resulted in extended exclusivity for its monopoly power. The court's decision speeds up the time for generic biosimilars to enter the market, to the benefit of consumers. The court also held that the BPCIA is not enforceable by injunction under federal law, an issue that we did not address.

Case Name: Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton consolidated with Saint Peter's Healthcare System v. Kaplan and Dignity Health v. Rollins

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 16-74, 16-86, 16-258

Decided: 6/5/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Article

Case Result: In an 8-0 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) exempts from its protections defined-benefit pension plans maintained not only by churches but also by organizations controlled by or affiliated with churches, even if the plans were not initially established by churches. We argued that Congress did not intend for ERISA's "church plan" exemption to reach organizations, such as multi-billion-dollar hospital chains, that provide commercially profitable secular services that were not initially provided by employees of a church. 

Case Name: Weatherford v. City of San Rafael

Court: Cal. Supreme Ct.  Docket: S219567

Decided: 6/5/2017

Read Summary, AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision

Case Result:  The California Supreme Court held that state law allowed taxpayers beyond property and business owners to challenge unlawful government policies. AARP joined three other organizations to support this broader interpretation of the statute.

Case Name: U.S. ex rel. Colquitt v. Abbott Labs

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir. Docket: 16-10814

Decided: 5/31/2017

Read Decision

Case Result: In our lawsuit, the court affirmed the district court's decision and jury verdict in favor of Abbott Labs. We represented whistleblower Kevin Colquitt in a False Claims Act challenging the off-label marketing and use of stents for purposes not approved by the FDA. 

Case Name: Impression Products v. Lexmark International

Court: U.S. Supreme Ct.  Docket: 15-1189

Decided: 5/30/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) Article, and Decision

Case Result: In a landmark decision, the Court held that while patent owners are free to set the price and negotiate contracts with purchasers, once an item is sold, a patent owner may not, by virtue of its patent, control the use or disposition of the product after ownership passes to the purchaser.

Case Name: Hall v. Minnesota

Court: Minn. Supreme Court    Docket: A16-0874

Filed: 5/25/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Does Minnesota's Unclaimed Property Act (MUPA) violate constitutional guarantees of due process and just compensation for takings because it allows the State to deem private personal property abandoned after three years and to take such property for its own use: (a) without adequate notice to the original owner and (b) without payment of compensation, including interest, to the property holder if subsequently claimed by the original owner. 

Case Name: Kindred Nursing Ctrs v. Clark

Court: U.S. Supreme Court    Docket: 16-32  

Decided: 5/15/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Kentucky Supreme Court rule requiring power of attorney (PoA) documents to specifically grant PoAs the authority to consent to arbitration. 

Case Name: McLeod v. General Mills

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 8th Cir.   Docket: 15-3540

Decided: 5/11/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The Court of Appeals reversed the district court's decision denying General Mills' motion to compel arbitration. The court also vacated the district court's decision that, under the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, it was for the court to decide in the first instance whether the plaintiffs' waiver of ADEA claims, in the severance agreement they signed upon termination by General Mills, was valid. The court remanded the case to be sent to arbitration and to be dismissed or to be stayed pending the outcome of arbitration. 

Case Name: Ariana M. v. Humana Health Plan of Texas

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.   Docket: 16-20174

Filed: 5/11/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Should the court grant a petition for rehearing en banc to reverse a 26-year-old case on the issue of whether plan administrators should automatically be accorded discretionary review when they make factual determinations?

Case Name: Russell v. Phillips 66

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 10th Cir. Docket: 16-5063

Decided: 05/04/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The Court of Appeals found that Russell had not presented enough evidence to show that his depression substantially limited any major life activity, so he had not shown that he has a "disability" under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because the court found that Russell did not have a covered disability, it did not decide whether Russell's employer discriminated against him when it failed to reassign him to a vacant position for which he was qualified. 

Case Name: Romero v. Allstate Ins. Co.

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. Pa.    Docket: 2:01-cv-03894-RB

Decided: 4/27/2017

Read Court Memo

Case Result: In litigation that spans over 15 years, the district court generally cleared Allstate of liability under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The long-running case stems from Allstate's 1990s program to convert its insurance agent-employees to independent contractors. The court found that Allstate's elimination of its employee agent force of independent contractors was done for a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason. The court also found that Allstate did not violate ERISA by amending an early retirement subsidy in its pension plan applicable to agents who later became independent contractors. 

Case Name: Williams v. Tarrant County College District (TCCD)

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.    Docket: 16-11804

Filed: 4/19/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief  (PDF)

Case Issue: Did Ms. Williams' employer, who conceded she is a person with an ADA "impairment," thereby regard her as having an ADA disability?

Case Name: Santomenno v. Transamerica

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir.  Docket: 16-56418

Filed: 4/12/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Under what circumstances is an insurance service provider a fiduciary?

Case Name: Goodwin v. Fla. Dep't of Children and Families

Court: U.S. Supreme Court    Docket: 16-1083

Filed: 4/10/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Must a state's Medicaid program deduct the medical debts that a beneficiary has incurred before becoming eligible for Medicaid from the calculation of what the beneficiary must pay for her own cost of care in a nursing facility?

Case Name: McGill v. Citibank

Court: Cal. Supreme Court Docket: S224086

Decided: 4/6/2017

Read Summary, AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Court Decision (PDF)

Case Result:  The court held that an arbitration agreement that waives the public's right to injunctive relief is invalid and contrary to public policy.

Case Name: Board's Investigation Regarding the Reclassification (N.J. Verizon Deregulation)

Court: N.J. Superior Ct. Docket: A-004769-14T2

Decided: 4/3/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court deferred to and affirmed the decision of the Board of Public Utilities to deregulate and reclassify four telephone services provided by Verizon as competitive.

Case Name: PHH v. CFPB

Court: U.S. Ct. App. D.C. Cir. Docket: 15-1177 (en banc)

Filed: 3/31/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Is an administrative order of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) invalid because: 1) the CFPB's interpretation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) is a drastic departure from the longstanding interpretation of the regulations upon which industry relied; 2) the CFPB does not have authority to issue an injunction against PHH using an administrative procedure; 3) the Order was issued by an agency that has an unconstitutional structure, and; 4) the claims are barred to the extent that the CFPB exceeded the applicable 3-year statute of limitations. The order required PHH to return $109 million that it collected from residential mortgage borrowers for Private Mortgage Insurance in violation of RESPA.

Case Name: Wayside Church v. Van Buren County

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.  Docket: 15-2463, 15-2525

Decided: 3/23/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The circuit court affirmed the trial court's decision dismissing the taxpayers' claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that they must first seek relief in the state courts to recover the excess proceeds of sales of their foreclosed properties. 

Case Name: Keller v. Life Care Centers of America

Court: Cir Ct. for Green County, Tenn.    Docket: 14-cv-500

Decided: 3/22/2017

Read Complaint (PDF)

Case Result: The matter was settled to the client's satisfaction. 

Case Name: Tussey v. ABB

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 8th Cir.    Docket: 15-2792

Decided: 3/9/2017

Read Summary and AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court remanded the case to the district court to reevaluate its method of calculating the damage award for ABB's breach of fiduciary duty. 

Case Name: Villarreal v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco

Court: U.S. Supreme Court    Docket: 16-971

Filed: 3/8/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief  (PDF)

Case Issue: Should the U.S. Supreme Court decide the question of whether the Age Discrimination In Employment Act (ADEA) allows job applicants to bring disparate impact claims?

Case Name: Scamman v. Shaw's Supermarkets

Court: Maine Supreme Judicial Court

Decided: 3/7/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) and Press Release

Case Result: The court ruled that disparate impact age discrimination claims brought under the Maine Human Rights Act must be evaluated under the more stringent "business necessity" standard not the lenient "reasonable factor other than age" standard that federal age discrimination disparate impact claims are subject to.

Case Name: United Health Servs of Georgia v. Norton

Court: Supreme Court of Georgia Docket: S16G1143

Decided: 3/6/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The court held that an arbitration agreement between a deceased nursing facility resident and the facility binds the decedent's wrongful death beneficiaries.

Case Name: Amgen v. Sanofi

Court: U.S. Ct. App. Fed. Cir.  Docket: 17-1480

Filed: 2/23/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: Can the sale of a life-saving drug be enjoined due to patent infringement? 

Case Name: Market Synergy Grp. v. DOL

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. Kansas    Docket: 5:16-cv-04083-DDC-KGS

Decided: 2/17/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The decision rejected all of the challenges to the Department of Labor's conflict of interest regulation, thereby upholding the rule. 

Case Name: Vaughan v. Anderson Reg. Med. Ctr.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.    Docket: 16-60104

Decided: 2/15/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief  (PDF)

Case Result: On rehearing, the court issued a slightly-altered opinion explaining in more detail why it believed the 1977 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) amendments allowing pain and suffering damages in wage and hour retaliation cases had no effect on Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) cases, even though the ADEA incorporates FLSA's remedies by reference.

Case Name: Fletcher v. Convergex

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir.   Docket: 16-734

Decided: 2/10/2017

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Result: The second circuit held that the plaintiffs have standing to pursue a financial loss to their defined benefit plan.

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Legal Cases

Find cases in which AFL has advocated in courts nationwide for the rights of older persons, and filed AARP’s amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs that help courts decide precedent-setting cases. The cases within the drop-down categories below are in alphabetical order for ease of searching.

Strengthening Law and Policy through
Legal Advocacy

Our legal advocacy initiatives  - conducted by AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) - reflect nearly 20 years of work in federal and state courts across the country. Through our efforts, we support the Foundation’s four impact areas: Tackling Senior Hunger, Paving the Way to Stable Income, assuring the adequacy and availability of Safe and Afffordable Housing and Reconnecting People to Families and Communities, and ensure that those 50 and older have a voice in the laws and policies that affect their daily lives.