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On the Docket: Benefits

Case Name: Alexander v. Harris

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. Maryland. Docket: 8:22-cv-00707

Read: Complaint (PDF), Press ReleaseListen/Read, to SVP William A. Rivera  Atlanta Journal-Constitution (article)

Filed: 03/22/2022

Case Issue: Can 5000 current and former pastors, clergy, and other employees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church recover $90 million lost from their retirement accounts due to gross financial mishandling?

Case Name:  Arellano v. McDonough

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 21-432

Filed: 5/20/2022

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF)

Case Issue: The central issue in this case is whether disabled veterans who miss a one-year statutory application deadline for disability benefits can be excused under the doctrine of equitable tolling, and retroactive benefits be restored, if it was their service-connected disability or other extreme circumstance that caused the delay. 

Case Name:  Bagnall v.  Becerra (formerly Cochran) 

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Circuit Docket: 20-1642

Decided: 1/25/2022

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF), Article and Opinion (PDF)

Case Result: Affirmed preliminary injunction requiring the Secretary to provide hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries a mechanism to timely appeal the Medicare coverage-altering reclassification of their hospital stay from inpatient, which is covered by Medicare Part A, to outpatient “under observation,” which is not.  

Case Issue: Does the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment by denying hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries, initially classified as inpatients and later designated as outpatients under observation, an expedited due process hearing to challenge the hospital’s classification of their stay?

Case Name: Brown v. Becerra

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. CD Cal. Docket: 21-00511

Filed: 1/19/2021 Motion for Summary Judgment: 7/20/2021, Decision 11/17/2021

Read Complaint (PDF), Press ReleaseMotion for Summary Judgment (PDF), Decision (PDF)

Case Result: The court granted our request to remand and vacate HHS’s unlawful approval of a California Medicaid state plan amendment that cut reimbursement rates for periodontal care and instituted burdensome and potentially dangerous pre-authorization and x-ray processes for institutionalized patients.

Case Name: Brown v. District of Columbia 

Court: U.S. Ct. App. D.C. Cir.    Docket: 17-7152

Read  Announcement, Opening Brief (PDF),  Appellant's Reply Brief (PDF), Opinion (PDF) 

Case Issue: Was the court’s finding that Plaintiffs failed to establish “systemic deficiencies” in the manner in which the District of Columbia enrolls nursing home residents into home and community-based services against the weight of the evidence?

Did the court commit legal error by holding that it cannot craft class–wide injunctive relief if class members who have suffered discrimination cannot all benefit from the relief provided due to individualized circumstances (e.g., some have homes to which to return and others do not)?

Result:The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed the trial court and remanded this Olmstead case. Now a class of approximately 1000 nursing facility residents wanting to live in their own homes with the same kind of medical services and supports as they receive in nursing facilities need D.C. to provide assistance.

Case Name: Brown v. District of Columbia (formerly known as Thorpe v. District of Columbia)

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. D.C.    Docket: 1:10-cv-02250-ESH

Read Opinion (PDF) and Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (PDF) filed March 9, 2022


Case Name: California v. Texas (formerly, Texas v. United States)

Court: U.S. Supreme Court   Docket: 19-840 & 19-1019

Decided: 6/17/2021

Read Amicus Brief (PDF), Press Release for filing, Decision (PDF), Press Release for decision

Case Result: The Supreme Court found that the State and individual plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the case because they failed to show a concrete, particularized injury that was traceable to the government’s alleged unlawful conduct. It reversed the Fifth Circuit’s decision with regard to standing, vacated the judgment, and remanded the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss based on the lack of standing.

Case Name:  Carr v. Saul (Low-income benefits)

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 19-1442, 20-105

Decided: 4/21/2021

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Case Result:  Social Security disability claimants can raise constitutional challenges to the appointment of the administrative judge who heard their case in federal district court even when that issue was not raised in an administrative hearing. The result will help future claimants raise other constitutional issues in federal district court as well.

Case Name:  Cochran v. Gresham; Arkansas v. Gresham

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 20-37; 20-38

Decided: 4/18/2022

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Result: The Supreme Court granted the Government’s motion to vacate the judgments of the District of Columbia Circuit, and remanded the case to the Circuit with instructions to direct the District Court to vacate its judgment and dismiss the cases as moot. 

Case Name: DiCocco v. Garland

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 4th Cir.  Docket: 20-1342

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Filed: 2/4/2022

Case Issue: Does 20 U.S.C. § 633a(a), the federal-sector provision of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) permit a plaintiff to prove age discrimination via a “disparate impact” theory—i.e., by showing that age-neutral policies/practices had the effect of disadvantaging older workers? 

Case Name:  Driggs v. Saul

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir. Docket: 20-16426

Decided: 11/1/2021

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Was the district court correct in holding that the nine-month marriage duration requirement could not constitutionally be applied to deny Social Security survivors benefits to a spouse when the sole reason the couple had not yet been married nine months before the wage earner’s death was that the state they lived in unconstitutionally barred same-sex marriage?

Case Result:  Defendants-Appellants voluntarily dismissed their appeal.

Case Name:  Ely v. Saul

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir. Docket: 20-16427

Decided: 11/1/2021

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue:  Was the district court correct in holding that the nine-month marriage duration requirement could not constitutionally be applied to deny Social Security survivors benefits to a spouse when the sole reason the couple had not yet been married nine months before the wage earner’s death was that the state they lived in unconstitutionally barred same-sex marriage?

Case Result: Defendants-Appellants voluntarily dismissed their appeal.

Case Name: Fair Housing Justice Center v. Hochul

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. NY (Southern Dist.) Docket: 18-civ-3196

Read Complaint (PDF), Press Release filing (PDF) Opposition Brief (PDF), Settlement Agreement (PDF) Press Release settlement

Case Issue: Does a blanket prohibition barring users of wheelchairs from living in Adult Care Facilities regulated and funded through New York State's Department of Health violate the Fair Housing Act, the ADA, and other civil rights laws?

Case Name:  Haley v. TIAA

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir. Docket: 21-805

Decided: 12/22/2022

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Can an exploitative loan program used by many employee benefit plans be challenged on a classwide basis?

Case Result: Haley brought a putative class action alleging that TIAA’s collateralized loan program, which is being used by hundreds of plans, violates ERISA’s prohibitions on loans to parties-in-interest and self-dealing.  The district court certified plaintiffs’ proposed class.  On appeal, the Second Circuit ruled that the lower court did not sufficiently consider TIAA’s defenses in deciding that class certification was appropriate, vacating the decision and remanding for further consideration.  

Case Name: Hartshorne  v. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York

Court: New York Supreme Ct., Schenectady County   Docket: 2019-1989

Read Complaint (PDF), Press ReleaseCorp Opposition Brief (PDF), Church Opposition Brief (PDF) Decision/Order on Motion (PDF) and Press Release on Motion, Decision on Appeal (PDF), Press Release on Appeal

Case Issue: Did the Defendants, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, violate New York state laws concerning contracts, promises, and fiduciaries when they either stopped paying or drastically reduced the pensions of former employees of St. Clare's Hospital?

Case Name:  Howard Jarvis Taxpayers' Ass'n v. California Secure Choice Retirement Sav. Prog.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir. Docket: 20-15591

Read AARP Brief (PDF),  Article, and Opinion (PDF)

Decided: 5/7/2021

Case Result: The Ninth Circuit panel unanimously held that ERISA does not preempt the CalSavers program because the program does not relate to an employee benefit plan, but is a state-established and maintained savings program.

Case Name: Hughes v. Northwestern Univ. 

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 19-1401

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Decided: 1/24/2022

Case Result: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held, consistent with AARP and AARP Foundation’s brief, that plan fiduciaries must eliminate investment options with excessive fees, and that giving participants a “choice” to select among investment products is not sufficient if some of those options are imprudent.

Case Name: Indep. Insur. Agents and Brokers v. N.Y.

Court: New York Supreme Court Appellate Division—Third Department Docket: 530047

Read AARP Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Filed: 8/10/2020

Case Issue: Is New York’s Suitability and Best Interest Rule, which requires insurance agents and brokers to act in the best interests of consumers, a valid regulation?

Case Name: Jammal v. Am. Family Insurance

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 6th Cir.  Docket: 20-3226

Filed: 6/10/2020

Read Amicus Brief (PDF)  

Case Issue: Was the district court correct in its initial finding that American Family treated its insurance agents as employees?

Case Name: Lake v. State Health Plan

Court: North Carolina Supreme Court Docket: 436 PA 13-4

Filed: 6/29/2020

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue: Is the health insurance benefit North Carolina promised to state and municipal retirees a form of deferred compensation?

Case Name: Metzgar v. U.A. Plumbers and Steamfitters Local No. 22 Pension Fund

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 2d Cir. Docket: 20-3791

Read: Amicus Brief (PDF)

Decided: 06/02/2022

Case Result: Plan administrator did not violate ERISA's fiduciary duty when it reinterpreted early retirement rights to prevent pensioners to continue working in a management (or other non-disqualifying) position, because the interpretation was not arbitrary or capricious and retirement plan administrator erroneously thought plan would lose its tax exempt status if early retirees continued working in non-disqualifying positions. 

Case Name: Mississippi v. USA

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 5th Cir.  Docket: 21-60772

Read AARP's Amicus Brief (PDF)

Filed: 4/5/2022

Case Issue: Did the district court erred in finding that the State of Mississippi violated the Americans with Disabilities Act when the State did not provide services to people with mental illness in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs?

Case Name: National Consumer Voice  v. Becerra, U.S. Dep't Health and Human Services 

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. D.C. Docket: 21-162

Filed: 1/18/2021

Read Complaint (PDF), Opening Press ReleaseArticle, Press Release (7/28/2021, CMS reversal on penalties)

Case Issue: Can CMS and HHS change the structure of enforcement by imposing only per instance fines instead of per day fines for nursing facilities who violate the Nursing Home Reform Act but correct that noncompliance prior to state survey agencies reviewing their compliance?

Case NameStephanie Price v. Shibinette

Court: U.S. Dist. Ct. New Hampshire Docket: 21-00025

Filed: 1/11/2021

Read Complaint (PDF), Press ReleaseArticleDecision on Motion to Dismiss (PDF), Press Release on Motion to Dismiss, Article on Motion

Case Issue: Does the failure of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services to provide personal care and other services to people with disabilities under the state’s Choices for Independence Waiver program, that puts them at risk of needing to be institutionalized, violate the Americans with Disabilities Act or other federal law?

Case Name:  Schmoll v. Saul

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 9th Cir. Docket: 20-16445

Decided: 11/1/2021

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) 

Case Issue:  Was the district court correct in holding that the nine-month marriage duration requirement could not constitutionally be applied to deny Social Security survivors benefits to a spouse when the sole reason the couple had not yet been married nine months before the wage earner’s death was that the state they lived in unconstitutionally barred same-sex marriage?

Case Result: Defendants-Appellants voluntarily dismissed their appeal.

Case Name: Single v. Catholic Pioneer Church Homes

Court: Superior Ct., State of Cal., County of Sacramento    Docket: 2017-00220058

Read Decision Ruling (4/15/2021), Press Release, Original Press ReleaseComplaint (PDF), MSA Order (4/19/2022)  

"Her Son Says She Was a Victim of Nursing Home Dumping," by Jessica Ravitz, the case story about Gloria Single. Read

Case Issue: Can a nursing facility refuse to readmit a resident who has exercised her administrative due process rights and won the right to readmission?

Case Name:  Smith v. Board of Directors of Triad Manufacturing (Employee Benefits)

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 7th Cir. Docket: 20-2708

Decided: 9/10/2021

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Case Result: The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of the Defendants’ motion to compel arbitration or, in the alternative, to dismiss.

Case Name: Talevski v. Health and Hosp. Corp.

Court: U.S. Ct. App. 7th Cir. Docket: 20-1664

Read AARP Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Decided: 7/27/2021

Case Result: The Seventh Circuit ruled that the federal Nursing Home Reform Act creates a private right of action under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act to enforce a violation of resident’s right to be free of chemical restraints and illegal discharges.

Case Name: United States v. Vaello-Madero (Public Benefits)

Court: U.S. Supreme Court Docket: 20-303

Read AARP Amicus Brief (PDF) and Decision (PDF)

Filed: 9/3/2021

Case Issue: Did Congress violate the equal-protection rights of  Puerto Rico's residents by categorically excluding them from the Supplemental Security Income Program?

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