Case: Westside Mothers v. Olszewski

2:99-cv-73442 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Filed Date: July 12, 1999

Closed Date: 2007

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 12, 1999, several medical, dental, and child advocacy organizations, along with several individuals, filed this class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the directors of the Michigan Department of Health, the Medical Services Administration, the Michigan Medical Services Administration, and the Michigan Department of Community Health under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by The Public Interest Law Ce…

On July 12, 1999, several medical, dental, and child advocacy organizations, along with several individuals, filed this class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the directors of the Michigan Department of Health, the Medical Services Administration, the Michigan Medical Services Administration, and the Michigan Department of Community Health under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by The Public Interest Law Center, in collaboration with Dechert LLP, Michigan Legal Services, the National Health Law Project, and the Michigan Association for Children with Emotional Disorders, sought injunctive relief to prevent state officials from violating the Medicaid law, claiming violations of federal Medicaid laws.

The plaintiffs alleged that the state of Michigan failed to provide essential dental and medical services, known as Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Services (“EPSDT services”) required by the Medicaid program to eligible minors. The plaintiffs alleged that Michigan’s Medicaid system paid doctors and dentists too little to ensure that they would be willing to treat patients on Medicaid, such that low-income families faced a dangerous shortage of essential care for their children. The case was assigned to Judge Robert H. Cleland.

On October 14, 1999, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking class certification of children eligible for EPSDT services.

On November 9, 1999, the defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Clearinghouse does not have access to this document so it is unclear by what reasoning the defendants sought judgment.

On December 28, 1999, Judge Robert H. Cleland granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings. The Clearinghouse does not have access to this document so it is unclear which parts were granted or denied.

On March 26, 2001, Judge Cleland entered an order denying the plaintiffs’ motion to certify the class and granting the defendants’ motion to dismiss. Judge Cleland held that the substantive defendant, in this case, was the state of Michigan and that Ex parte Young was inapplicable, meaning state sovereign immunity doctrine barred this type suit against the state. While the Constitution says that federal statutes are the “supreme law of the land,” Judge Cleland ruled that because the Medicaid program was enacted under Congress’ spending power and is a consensual, contractual agreement between the states and Congress, it is not encompassed by the supremacy clause. Thus, Congress cannot compel states to participate in the program and individual state actors, indistinguishable from the state, retain “constitutional sovereignty from the suit.” 133 F.Supp.2d 549.

Judge Cleland also held that even if there were no immunity from these suits, Section 1983 did not authorize suits against states or state officials for failure to carry out the terms of a federal grant program like Medicaid. The Supreme Court has required a historical statutory construction when construing Section 1983 and Judge Cleland found “no such clear, unambiguous intent to subject States to private suit.” 133 F.Supp.2d 549.

On April 4, 2001, the plaintiffs appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit (Circuit Judges Merritt, Boggs, and Moore) delivered its opinion on May 15, 2002, in which it reversed the district court’s decision on all issues presented. The court held that conditions imposed by the federal government upon states participating in Medicaid do not arise out of a contractual agreement; they are federal laws. The court also ruled, in line with “well-established precedent,” that laws passed by Congress under its spending powers are supreme law of the land. Furthermore, while the district court ruled that Ex parte Young was unavailable to the plaintiffs, the Sixth Circuit held that because the plaintiffs sought relief from state officials for those officials’ alleged violations of federal law, this case was squarely within Ex parte Young and thus allowed to proceed. Lastly, the court held that the plaintiffs did have a cause of action under Section 1983. The case was remanded back to the district court. 289 F.3d 852.

With the case back in the district court, the plaintiffs moved for class certification on October 14, 2015, and filed an amended complaint on October 18, 2015. The Clearinghouse does not have access to these documents so it is unclear what was different in the amended complaint.

Accordingly, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment on November 29, 2004.

On April 22, 2005, Judge Cleland granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ 2004 motion to dismiss and/or for summary judgment. Judge Cleland addressed the plaintiffs’ claim that the defendants failed to provide EPSDT services to all eligible children by holding that plaintiffs stated a cause of action to the extent that they alleged that the state of Michigan has a policy or practice of not providing the EPSDT services to eligible children who have requested them. Addressing the plaintiffs’ second claim, Judge Cleland held that the plaintiffs lacked a cause of action because the Medicaid statute did not “unambiguously confer rights enforceable under Section 1983.” Finally, Judge Cleland denied the plaintiffs’ final claim that the defendants failed to adequately inform eligible individuals of programs and services available through Medicare, holding that it was not their duty to inform all potentially eligible children of EPSDT services. 368 F.Supp.2d 740.

On May 17, 2005, the district court denied the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and entered judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed this judgment the next day.

On July 7, 2006, the Sixth Circuit (again before Judges Merritt, Moore, and now Chief Judge Boggs) affirmed in part the district court’s dismissal of the claims under the Medicaid statutory provisions but reversed the holding that there was no cause of action for failing to inform all potentially eligible children of EPSDT services. The appeals court also modified the district court’s order to reflect a dismissal without prejudice, which allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint to allege that Michigan's inadequate payment system effectively denied many eligible children the right to medical assistance. The case was remanded back to the district court. 454 F.3d 532.

On October 11, 2006, the plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint in the district court. The complaint alleged that the reimbursement rates provided by the defendants were so low that an insufficient number of providers were willing to care for children who were enrolled in Medicaid. The plaintiffs further claimed that these inadequate payments effectively denied the plaintiffs and the class of minors eligible for Medicaid represented in the suit the right to medical assistance.

On August 7, 2007, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement that resulted in the case being dismissed without prejudice. The settlement preserved significant expansions of the state’s program and major increases in rates paid to doctors and dentists for treating Medicaid patients. The settlement also required the state to monitor children’s access to care, which it had never done before the settlement. Finally, the settlement provided for ongoing oversight of the state’s program by representatives of the plaintiffs.

The case is now closed.

Summary Authors

Aaron Gurley (11/17/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4738808/parties/westside-mothers-v-haveman/


Judge(s)

Cleland, Robert Hardy (Michigan)

Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berkman, Richard L. (Pennsylvania)

Clarke, Jennifer R. (Pennsylvania)

McParland, Susan (Michigan)

Mullane, Marilyn (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Cleland, Robert Hardy (Michigan)

Merritt, Gilbert Stroud Jr. (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Berkman, Richard L. (Pennsylvania)

Clarke, Jennifer R. (Pennsylvania)

McParland, Susan (Michigan)

Mullane, Marilyn (Michigan)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:99-cv-73442

Opinion and Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class, and Granting Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

Westside Mothers v. Haveman

133 F.Supp.2d 549

March 26, 2001

March 26, 2001

Order/Opinion

01-01494

Opinion

Westside Mothers v. Haveman

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

289 F.3d 852

May 15, 2002

May 15, 2002

Order/Opinion

2:99-cv-73442

Opinion and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' November 19, 2004 "Motion to Dismiss and/or [for] Summary Judgment"

368 F.Supp.2d 740

April 22, 2005

April 22, 2005

Order/Opinion

05-01669

Opinion

Mothers v. Olszewski

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

454 F.3d 532

July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006

Order/Opinion

2:99-cv-73442

Second Amended Complaint

Oct. 11, 2006

Oct. 11, 2006

Complaint

2:99-cv-73442

Settlement Agreement

Aug. 13, 2007

Aug. 13, 2007

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4738808/westside-mothers-v-haveman/

Last updated Aug. 14, 2022, 3:10 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
101

ORDER granting in part and denying in part 89 Motion to Dismiss, granting in part and denying in part 89 Motion for Summary Judgment- Signed by Honorable Robert H Cleland. (LTee, )

April 22, 2005

April 22, 2005

RECAP
120

ORDER continuing stay until 7/31/2007 and setting deadlines, answer to amended complaint due by 8/14/2007, (see order for deatils) Signed by Honorable Robert H Cleland. (LWag)

June 6, 2007

June 6, 2007

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Michigan

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 12, 1999

Closing Date: 2007

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Children eligible for Medicaid services in Michigan.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Public Interest Law Center (PILCOP)

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

Director of the State of Michigan Department of Community Health, State

Deputy Director of the Medical Services Administration , State

Defendant Type(s):

Hospital/Health Department

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Supremacy Clause

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: 250,000

Order Duration: 2006 - 2009

Content of Injunction:

Monitoring

Reporting

Training

Issues

General:

Payment for care

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)

Benefit Source:

Medicaid