Case News

Federal Court Remands Medi-Cal Civil Rights Litigation to State Court

On October 18, 2017, the Honorable Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California remanded to Alameda County Superior Court the matter of Jimenez Perea v. Dooley, in which Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow LLP, along with co-counsel at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center (CREEC), represents numerous Medi-Cal participants and advocacy organizations, including the Community Division of the Service Employees International Union – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW), St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), alleging that Medi-Cal violates the civil rights of its mostly Latino participants by effectively denying them access to Medi-Cal’s full benefits. The complaint, available here, documents how Medi-Cal’s low reimbursement rates for doctors, various administrative burdens for doctors and patients in the program, and the State’s failure to adequately monitor access to Medi-Cal result in civil rights violations. Medi-Cal’s access problems have worsened as the State has disinvested from the program at the same time as it has come to serve more and more Latino participants. These problems hurt everyone on Medi-Cal.

After Plaintiffs filed their complaint in state court, Defendants removed it to federal court under the argument that the case concerned a “federal question.” In remanding the case to state court, Judge Gonzalez Rogers found, among other findings, that “California has principal authority for setting reimbursement rates” and thus “no federal question need be resolved to determine whether plaintiffs here are entitled to relief under state law.” Accordingly, she sent the case back to state court, where Plaintiffs originally filed their complaint. The case will now move forward in state court, where Plaintiffs look forward to making their case. A copy of her order is available here.

More information about the filing of the complaint is available here and here. For additional information, please contact Catha Worthman or Darin Ranahan.

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Fringe Benefit Group Excessive Fee litigation

On July 6, 2017, the firm filed Chavez v. Plan Benefit Services, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, along with co-counsel Altshuler Berzon and Bruckner Burch.

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United of Omaha GIC Litigation

On May 26, 2017, the firm filed Insinga v. United of Omaha Life Insurance Company in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, along with co-counsel Nichols Kaster.

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Press Coverage of Medi-Cal Civil Rights Filing

NATIONAL/STATEWIDE

Latino Plaintiffs Sue California Alleging Poor Health Care
Associated Press
July 12, 2017

New York Times
Washington Post
Washington Times
Chicago Tribune
Houston Chronicle
San Antonio Express
U.S. News & World Report
Miami Herald
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Kansas City Star
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Omaha World-Herald
Albany (NY) Democrat-Herald
Lexington (Ken.) Herald-Leader
Sacramento Bee
Fresno Bee
Modesto Bee
Santa Cruz Sentinel

Calif. Medi-Cal Offers Discriminatory Access, Suit Says
Law360
July 13, 2017

California Sued For Allegedly Substandard Medi-Cal Care
Kaiser Health News
July 13, 2017

California Sued For Allegedly Substandard Medi-Cal Care
California Healthline
July 13, 2017

Class Claims Medi-Cal Discriminates Against Latinos
Courthouse News
July 13, 2017

California DHCS, HHSA faces discrimination suit over Medi-Cal
State of Reform
July 13, 2017

Latino Medi-Cal Patients Sue California, Alleging Discrimination
CBS Sacramento
July 13, 2017

Usuarios latinos de Medi-Cal en California demandan al estado por presunta discriminación y violación de derechos
Univision
July 13, 2017

Column: Separate, Unequal And Unacceptable
HuffPost
July 14, 2017

California sued for ‘violating Latino rights by failing to provide sufficient healthcare’
(London) Daily Mail
July 13, 2017

 

LOS ANGELES

Audio: Lawsuit Claims Low Medi-Cal Reimbursement Rates Are Harmful To Many Californians’ Health
KVCR (NPR affiliate – San Bernardino)
July 13, 2017

Audio: Lawsuit filed in California on behalf of Latinos (clip begins at 3:46 mark)
KCRW (NPR affiliate – Los Angeles)
July 13, 2017

Video: Activistas presentan demanda contra California por no proveer salud adecuadamente a millones de hispanos
KMEX (Univision affiliate – Los Angeles)
July 12, 2017

Medi-Cal patients sue state, claiming widespread discrimination
Los Angeles Times (story also posted in San Diego Union-Tribune)
July 12, 2017

Lawsuit claims discrimination against millions of Medi-Cal patients, especially Latinos
Los Angeles Daily News
July 12, 2017

Acusan a Medi-Cal por ser discriminatorio y ofrecer “atención médica de segunda clase”
La Opinion
July 12, 2017

California violates civil rights of Latinos on Medi-Cal, suit says
KPCC (NPR affiliate – Los Angeles)
July 12, 2017

 

BAY AREA

歧視?陳煥瑛領頭告加州醫療
World Journal
July 13, 2017

Suit alleges unequal health care for Latinos
SFBay.com
July 13, 2017

Latino Patients Sue State Over “Separate and Unequal” Health Care
KQED (NPR affiliate – San Francisco)
July 13, 2017

Video: Demandan al Departamento de Salud de California
KSTS (Telemundo affiliate – San Francisco)
July 12, 2017

Audio: Healthcare advocates file lawsuit against State of California (clip begins at 42:18 mark)
KPFA (Pacifica affiliate – San Francisco)
July 12, 2017

Civil rights suit alleges discrimination in Medi-Cal
San Francisco Chronicle
July 12, 2017

Lawsuit: Medi-Cal problems amount to ‘separate and unequal’ health care system
Mercury News (story also posted in East Bay Times)
July 12, 2017

Latino Patients Sue State Over ‘Separate and Unequal’ Health Care
KQED (NPR affiliate – San Francisco)
July 12, 2017

Lawsuit Claims Medi-Cal Discriminates Against Low-Income Californians
KCBS (740 AM – San Francisco)
July 12, 2017 

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Civil Rights Complaint Filed Challenging Medi-Cal’s Violations of Latinos’ Rights to Access to Healthcare

On behalf of multiple individual Medi-Cal beneficiaries, SEIU-UHW, St. John’s Well Child & Family Clinic and NDLON, Feinberg, Jackson, Worthman & Wasow attorneys are proud to have joined MALDEF, Bill Lann Lee of CREEC, Ana de Alba of Lang Richert & Patch, & Noah Phillips in filing a complaint Wednesday in California Superior Court for the County of Alameda alleging that Medi-Cal violates the civil rights of Latino enrollees by effectively denying them access to Medi-Cal’s full benefits. The complaint documents how Medi-Cal’s low reimbursement rates for doctors, various administrative burdens for doctors and patients in the program, and the State’s failure to adequately monitor access to Medi-Cal result in violations of the civil rights of Latinos who rely on Medi-Cal for healthcare.

The attorneys seek to represent a class of 13.5 million Medi-Cal participants who have suffered as a result of the State’s disinvestment from the program.

The groups have set up a hotline in Spanish and English for Medi-Cal patients who have experienced the same difficulty finding healthcare: (855) 228-1463. A copy of the complaint is available here. For additional information, please contact Catha Worthman or Darin Ranahan.

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Court Grants Final Approval of Lindell v. Synthes USA, et al. Settlement

On January 9, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California granted final approval of a $5 million, non-reversionary settlement in Lindell v. Synthes USA, et al., a class action alleging that Defendants failed to compensate certain California-based commission-only sales consultants for expenses and took unlawful deductions from pay for sales consultants, both commission-only and salaried, in California.

The two classes—one for expenses, one for deductions—had previously been certified in 2014, but the class definitions have been amended to include an end date of July 14, 2016. Sales consultants who worked for Synthes in California between December 13, 2007 and July 14, 2016 may be eligible for a distribution under the settlement. For more information, or to provide updated contact information, please contact Darin Ranahan or Catha Worthman. To view the court decision, as well as related settlement documents, please visit our settlements page.

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Wawa ESOP Case News – Order Denying Wawa’s Motion for Reconsideration

On January 11, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Defendants’ Motion for Reconsideration or, in the Alternative, Interlocutory Appeal, in Pfeifer v. Wawa, Inc., No. 16-497-PD. Plaintiffs Greg Pfeifer and Andy Dorley allege that Wawa Defendants violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by liquidating the Wawa stock held in the ESOP accounts of former Wawa employees in September 2015.

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