Current Issues & Lawsuits

 

Lawsuits:

Young et al v. Azar et al: Medicaid Work Requirements

  • Background: CCJ and our co-counsel, the National Heath Law Program (NHeLP) and the Michigan Poverty Law Program (MPLP), filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of low-income Michigan residents enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP).  The lawsuit challenges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ approval of Michigan’s Section 1115 waiver project, which conditions Medicaid coverage on work requirements and adds barriers to accessing care, including heightened and mandatory premiums for low-income individuals and families.  If implemented, the work requirements alone (effective Jan. 1, 2020) would cause an estimated 61,000 to 183,000 individuals to lose healthcare coverage.  The lawsuit asked the court to declare that the approval of the waiver project violated the law and to stop the implementation of the project. 

    Read the press release here
    Read the complaint here

  • Current Status: On March 4, 2020, Judge Boasberg ruled that the approval of the HMP work requirements was unlawful.  Accordingly, the State of Michigan stopped all implementation and enforcement efforts. This ruling means that HMP participants are no longer required to report work, school or other activities to maintain their coverage. 

    Read the press release here 

    The case remains pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to determine the validity of the remainder of the approval.  

  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit: Contact CCJ by calling (810) 244-8044.

Barry et al. v. Lyon: Public Assistance for Felony Suspects and Their Families

  • Background: CCJ and our co-counsel, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU), filed a complaint against against the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in July 2013. The complaint challenged the state’s practice of automatically terminating food assistance, cash assistance, or child care benefits to anyone with an outstanding felony warrant. CCJ and the ACLU also alleged that DHHS informed benefit recipients of the terminations in a manner that was unconstitutional and failed to qualify as notice of the termination.
  • Current status: The District Court held that the criminal justice disqualification notices DHHS sent to some people beginning in December 2012 violate a federal law and the U.S. Constitution. The Court also held that DHHS cannot deny or cut off Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits solely because a person has an outstanding felony warrant. DHHS must also determine that: (a) the person is intentionally fleeing to avoid prosecution, custody, or jail/prison; and (b) law enforcement officials are actively seeking the person. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed, holding that: (1) The mootness exception applied in this case, so FAP recipients had standing to pursue their claims even after their individual situations had been administratively resolved; (2) a private right of action existed to enforce the FAP benefits and a right to a fair hearing; (3) FAP benefits could not be denied without reaching the determinations set forth by the District Court; and (4) the disqualification notices violated the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause by failing to sufficiently state the reasons for the disqualifications.  By the most recent estimate, nearly 17,000 individuals have had over $52 million in benefits restored as a result of this lawsuit. 
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit: visit the ACLU’s website or call the ACLU at (313) 578-6826.

Yamaoka et al. v. Sun Communities, Inc.: Conversion of Mobile Homes by Mobile Home Parks

  • Background: CCJ and our co-counsel, Rosi & Gardner, P.C. (R&G), filed a class-action complaint against Sun Communities, Inc. and a number of subsidiary defendants in February 2019.  Sun Communities and its subsidiary defendants comprise a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust that owns and operates approximately 66 mobile home parks throughout the state of Michigan.  The complaint challenges these mobile home parks' practice of obtaining title to mobile homes that they do not own by simply obtaining a surety bond without notice to the mobile home owner and without compensating the owner for the fair market value of the home.  This practice has no statutory authority to support it, but is currently allowed by the Michigan Secretary of State.  The complaint seeks to stop this practice and alleges statutory and common law conversion, as well as unjust enrichment claims.  CCJ also filed suit against the Secretary of State in May 2019 in order to prevent the Department from continuing this policy.
  • Current status:  The court denied class action certification and dismissed the claims of two named plaintiffs so Plaintiffs filed an application for leave to appeal which is pending.  The circuit court action has been stayed until the court of appeals rules on Plaintiff's application. 
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit:  Call CCJ's Housing Law Attorney, Greg Abler, at (810) 244-8044 ext. 301. 

Bauserman v Unemployment Insurance Agency:

  • Background: CCJ, together with the Arc Michigan, Detroit Eviction Defense, Michigan Legal Services and United Community Housing Coalition, filed a brief amici curiae in support of the Plaintiffs-Appellants position on appeal.  Bauserman v Unemployment Insurance Agency is a class-action lawsuit brought by former recipients of unemployment insurance benefits.  Based on a faulty computer algorithm, the Agency found that the recipients had committed fraud and wrongfully garnished their wages and intercepted their tax returns, without due process of the law.  CCJ argued that this is an appropriate case for the court to infer damages because the state’s egregious misconduct drove families deeper into poverty, and there was no administrative process to fully remediate the harm that the Agency caused or to challenge the system-wide use of the computer algorithm.  In addition, the public interest is served by protecting the due process rights of recipients of unemployment insurance because the program prevents poverty in the wake of joblessness. 

  • Current Status: The Michigan Supreme Court accepted the brief for filing on March 6, 2020.  The appeal is currently pending. 

Last updated August 2019

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