No. CV05-4219-PHX-NVW (D.Ariz.), filed December 22, 2005
Updated: April 5, 2007
Issue: Whether regulations issued by CMS on March 8, 2005, which, inter alia, establish a new cadre of ALJs to handle only Medicare claims and which make it virtually impossible to have an in-person hearing close to the claimant's residence (relying on telephone or videoteleconferencing hearings instead) violate the Medicare statute, (especially the Medicare Modernization Act), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the Due Process Clause.
Relief sought: A nationwide class is alleged. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to bring the new ALJ system into compliance with the statutes, the APA, and the guarantees of due process, including, inter alia, that claimants have fair and reasonable access to in-person hearings near their place of residence.
Status: The complaint was filed on December 22, 2005. Plaintiffs later filed an amended complaint, adding several new plaintiffs. The defendants moved to dismiss on several grounds, including lack of standing and failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
On September 26, 2006, the court issued an order in which it granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss. Upon both sides filing motions for reconsideration, the judge, on February 8, 2007, ruled in the Secretary's favor and dismissed the complaint. He held that plaintiff Webber's claim was moot and that the venue portion of 42 U.S.C. section 405(g) required that at least one named plaintiff have the proper venue. Since plaintiff Webber was the only Arizona plaintiff, and her claim had been dismissed, the case should be dismissed, as the only remaining plaintiff with standing was not an Arizona resident. Plaintiffs are not appealing.