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The Legal Center For People with Disabilities and Older People and the law firm of Fox & Robertson, PC File Groundbreaking Class Action Law Suit.

DENVER -- On Monday, July 10, 2006, The Legal Center For People with Disabilities and Older People and the law firm of Fox & Robertson, PC filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of three plaintiffs and other similarly situated individuals with developmental disabilities whose eligibility for Medicaid services was denied or terminated without being afforded notice and an opportunity to appeal the adverse decisions through a state-level hearing. The suit brings claims on behalf of all individuals with developmental disabilities who applied for Medicaid-funded developmental disabilities services and were found ineligible and those who were eligible for Medicaid services and subsequently had their eligibility terminated by the state system in place to provide developmental disabilities services.

Initially, The Legal Center filed its complaint on behalf of Ann Rossart, a fifty year old woman with developmental disabilities whose application for Medicaid services was denied by Developmental Pathways, Inc., the Community Centered Board responsible for determining eligibility, and administering Medicaid programs in the city of Aurora as well as Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. Upon denial of Ms. Rossart's application she should have been given notice that she had the right to appeal to a state-level evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge. As stated in the lawsuit, Ms. Rossart was only offered a dispute resolution conference with Developmental Pathways and a paper appeal to Marva Livingston Hammons, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Human Services.

According to The Legal Center, a close look at the process itself reveals the problem. "It isn't hard to understand why leaving the appeal process in the hands of the same agency and/or decision-makers who initially denied or terminated the services in the first place is an unfair appeals process that violates due process," stated Plaintiff's attorney Andrea Faley. Plaintiffs Robert Swift and Matthew Rice were also denied a state-level fair hearing when their Medicaid eligibility for developmental disabilities services was terminated by Defendants. Upon further investigation and past experience with Colorado's system for providing services for individuals with developmental disabilities, Andrea Faley estimates there are hundreds of people with developmental disabilities who find themselves in the same shoes as Ms. Rossart and Mssrs Swift and Rice.

Plaintiff's attorney Mark Ivandick stated: "The current dispute resolution process offered by Defendants promotes arbitrariness in the provision of public benefits rather than fairness. These Plaintiffs and others similarly situated have a constitutional right to due process, which Defendants have not been willing to recognize or provide."

Understanding the magnitude of this case, The Legal Center teamed up with nationally recognized disability rights attorney Timothy Fox, with the firm Fox and Robertson. Timothy Fox and his partner Amy Robertson have been successfully trying disability cases for many years. Tim Fox agreed to join the effort out of his personal commitment to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded their constitutional protections.

Defendants in this case are: John Meeker, Executive Director for Developmental Pathways, and Developmental Pathways, Inc., a community centered board charged with providing services and support to persons with developmental disabilities; Marva Livingston Hammons, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services; Stephen Tool, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. Defendants are all responsible for the administration and operation of the Medicaid programs for Colorado.

Medicaid law mandates that individuals whose eligibility for certain Medicaid programs is denied or terminated must be afforded notice and the opportunity to appeal through a state-level evidentiary hearing. "Defendants violated both federal and state law by creating and utilizing a system that fails to provide the due process requirements of both our state and federal constitution," said Plaintiff's Attorney Elizabeth Fuselier.

The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People is a nonprofit organization established in 1976. The Legal Center uses the legal system to protect and promote the rights of individuals with disabilities and older people through direct legal representation, protection and advocacy, education and legislative analysis.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 12, 2006
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