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.  However, the State of Michigan cannot implement increased eligibility requirements for Medicaid during the Public Health Emergency under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. In February 2021, The Biden Administration notified Michigan that CMS has preliminarily determined that work and community engagement requirements do not further the objections of the Medicaid Act, thus commencing the process of withdrawing approval for the Section 1115 waiver project. 

  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit: Contact CCJ' public benefits law attorney, Linda Jordan, by calling (810) 244-8044.

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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.  CCJ remains involved in this case for the purposes of monitoring the State's compliance with the Court's ruling
  • 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 trial court denied Plaintiff's motion for class action certification and dismissed the claims of all three named plaintiffs.  Plaintiffs filed an appeal of right in November, 2020, requesting the Court of Appeals reverse the denial of class action certification as well as the dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims.  Plaintiffs filed their appellate brief in January, 2021.      
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit:  Call CCJ's Housing Law Attorney, Greg Abler, at (810) 244-8044 ext. 301. 

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Yamaoka et al. v. Jocelyn Benson, in her official capacity as Secretary of State, Michigan Department of State:  Constitutionality of Policy Regarding Titling of "Abandoned"Mobile Homes

 Background: In May, 2019, CCJ and our co-counsel, Rosi & Gardner, P.C. (R&G), filed a class-action complaint against Jocelyn Benson, in her official capacity as Michigan's Secretary of State (SOS), challenging the constitutionality of the SOS's policy regarding the titling of abandoned mobile homes.  The policy instructed mobile home parks that they can acquire title to mobile homes that are abandoned on their property simply by obtaining a surety bond for twice the value of the mobile home, and filing the bond along with a title application with an SOS branch office.  The complaint asserts that the policy, which does not provide the mobile home owners with any pre-determination notice of their right to request a hearing before their title is taken, violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Plaintiffs seek a court order declaring that the policy is unconstitutional, a permanent injunction that prevents the SOS from giving title to mobile home parks without providing the mobile home owner with a notice that they can request a hearing to challenge the claim that the home was abandoned.

  • Current status:  In February, 2020, the SOS eliminated this policy from their Title and Registration Manual.  The SOS filed a motion asking the Court to dismiss the lawsuit arguing that it is moot since mobile home parks may no longer acquire title to the mobile home without an assignment of title from the mobile home owner, or by obtaining a court order.  Plaintiffs responded to the motion arguing that the SOS's voluntary cessation of the policy does not render the lawsuit as moot because there is nothing preventing the SOS administration, or a future one, from re-implementing the policy.  The motion is pending, and the parties are awaiting oral argument and a decision on the motion.      
  • If you think you may be affected by this lawsuit:  Call CCJ's Housing Law Attorney, Greg Abler, at (810) 244-8044 ext. 301. 

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Amicus Curiae:

Bauserman v  Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency:

  • Background: CCJ, together with the Arc Michigan, Detroit Eviction Defense, Michigan Legal Services and United Community Housing Coalition, filed a brief amicus curiae in support of the Plaintiffs-Appellants position on appeal.  This 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. 

Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency v. Lucente: 

  • Background: CCJ is acting as amicus curiae in support of Lucente to challenge the practice of the MUIA ignoring statutory language to issue accusations of fraud and skipping the initial determination phase thus depriving claimants of an internal review of the Agency's decision and effectively barring claimants from protesting punitive quadruple penalties, stemming from the robo-fraud adjudications. 

  • Current Status: The Michigan Supreme Court granted the motion to file an Amicus Brief.  Oral argument was held on March 3, 2021. 

Farish v Michigan Department of Talent & Economic Development: 

  • Background: CCJ is acting as amicus curiae for the University of Michigan Law School's Workers' Rights Clinic to challenge the illegal practice of deducting penalties and interest from claimant's benefits to recoup unrelated debts from past overpayments. 

  • Current Status:   The Michigan Court of Appeals granted the motion to file an Amicus Brief.   Oral argument was held on July 7, 2020.

Holifield v Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency: 

  •  Background: CCJ is acting as amicus curiae in support of Holifield to challenge the denial of benefits to a part-time Michigan worker that received RSDI even though the CARES Act allowed for benefits to be paid to part-time workers, because Michigan law only allows for payments to full-time workers.  Michigan agreed to administer the program in accordance with the CARES Act.  There is an ambiguity within the enabling provisions of the Federal PUA Program as Congress intended that part-time workers to be covered and federal law reigns supreme when there is a state and federal law conflict.  Denying PUA to part-time workers is contrary to both congressional intent and public policy.

  •  Current Status:   The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Appeals Commission accepted the motion to file an Amicus Brief.

Last updated March, 2021

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