Articles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., alleging that LINA violated the disability insurance policy's terms and ERISA requirements - in part because LINA ignored the SSA process and the information it generated. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of LINA. Because LINA did not have the evidence presented to the SSA when it denied her last appeal - and in fact could not have had that evidence when it initially denied her claim - the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded the case with instructions to remand plaintiff's claims to LINA for its consideration of the evidence presented to the SSA. View "Melech v. Life Ins. Co. of North America, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, on behalf of their daughter, filed suit challenging the district's implementation of a new individualized education program (IEP) for their daughter under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. Determining that the daughter's case was not moot, the court concluded that the court need not decide whether the various notice requirements were satisfied because whatever notice deficiencies there could have been in this case, they did not warrant relief; there was no error in requiring the parents to present a complaint and demand a due process hearing because they disagreed with the IEP team's decision; the district court correctly stated the Loren F. ex. rel. Fisher v. Atlanta Independent School System standard, fully reviewed the administrative record, and independently analyzed each of the parents' claims; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it issued the parents' proposed order and then decided the case on summary judgment; and the court held that 42 U.S.C. 1983 actions for denial of rights conferred by the IDEA were barred because the IDEA's comprehensive enforcement scheme provided the sole remedy for statutory violations and, therefore, the district court did not err in dismissing the parents' section 1983 claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "K.A. v. Fulton County Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendant, in her official capacity as Interim Secretary for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), alleging that defendant violated the Medicaid Act, 42 U.S.C. 1396 et seq., by denying Medicaid coverage of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) to treat plaintiffs' autism spectrum disorders. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a permanent injunction that overruled AHCA's determination that ABA was experimental and required Medicaid coverage of this treatment. However, because the language in the injunction's final sections was out of step with the district court's analysis and what was actually decided, the court vacated the injunction in part and remanded to the district court to modify Paragraphs 2 and 6. View "Garrido, et al. v. Interim Secretary, FL Agency for Health Care Admin." on Justia Law

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The State appealed from the district court's order enjoining it from requiring plaintiff to submit to a suspicionless drug test pursuant to Section 414.0652 of the Florida Statutes, as a condition for receipt of government-provided monetary assistance for which he was otherwise qualified. Plaintiff applied for financial assistance benefits for himself and his son through Florida's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction enjoining the State from enforcing the statute because the court concluded that the State had failed to establish a substantial special need to support its mandatory suspicionless drug testing of TANF recipients. View "Lebron v. Secretary, FL Dept. of Children and Families" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-Appellant Valinda Kornhauser filed suit to challenge the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security that denied her claim for disability benefits. The District Court referred the case to a Magistrate Judge for a report and recommendation ("R&R"). After receiving and considering memoranda on the matter, the Magistrate Judge issued an R&R recommending that the District Court vacate the Commissioner's decision and remand the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings. In his R&R, the Magistrate Judge, in addition to explaining why Plaintiff was entitled to a vacatur, observed that the memorandum her attorney had submitted failed to comply with Middle District of Florida Local Rule 1.05(a). The non-compliance, according to the Magistrate Judge, consisted of "smaller margins than authorized" by the rule and "footnotes . . . smaller than ten-point type." In a footnote to this observation, he stated: "These intentional violations would justify striking the memorandum. However, this sanction would unfairly punish the plaintiff. Consequently, I propose that, when plaintiff's counsel seeks attorney's fees, that the typical request for a cost-of-living increase be denied." Following the entry of judgment, Plaintiff petitioned the District Court for an award of attorney's fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"). The parties stipulated to the amount of attorney fees, but after its consideration of the petition, the Magistrate Judge issue an R&R recommending that the district court award a lower amount in fees as have been stipulated because of Plaintiff's brief being submitted with small margins and unacceptable font sizing. Plaintiff's attorney filed an objection to the R&R, asking the district court not to adopt it because she did not intend to violate the local rule. Finding that the sanction was a reasonable exercise of the Magistrate Judge's disciplinary authority, the district court adopted the R&R with the sanction. Plaintiff appealed the imposition of the sanction. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the sanction, finding "no procedural rule that sanctions the conduct involved" in this case. View "Kornhauser v. Comm'r of Social Security" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed from the district court's dismissal of their amended complaint against Florida government defendants, SBHD, AHCA, and DCF. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants' billing practice violated both 42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(25)(C), the "balance billing" provision of the federal Medicaid Act, and a similar Florida statute. The court concluded that section 1396a(a)(25)(C) did not confer upon plaintiffs a federal right enforceable under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and therefore, affirmed the district court's decision to dismiss the amended complaint. View "Martes, et al. v. CEO of South Broward Hospital Dist., et al." on Justia Law

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Alabama sued CMS claiming that it violated the federal Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500-596, 701-706, by issuing - without notice and an opportunity for public comment - an October 28, 2008 letter to state health officials (SHO letter). The district court held that the SHO letter constituted a substantive administrative rule issued without the notice-and-comment procedures mandated by the APA. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying injunctive relief in addition to vacating the SHO letter, and because Alabama's remaining claims were unripe, the district court's judgment was affirmed. View "State of Alabama v. Centers For Medicare And Medicaid, et al." on Justia Law

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Appellants are the parents of G.J., a child with autism and brain injuries. At issue was whether the ALJ and the district court properly evaluated appellants' claims that the MCSD did not comply with certain provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., with respect to services it was to provide to G.J. The court held that the district court did not err in setting forth reasonable conditions for G.J.'s reevaluation and in determining that appellants were not entitled to either a private or publicly funded independent educational evaluation. The court also held that there was no basis for making a determination that any procedural failures with regard to the August 2008 and 2009 IEP meetings impacted the education received by G.J. to any substantive degree. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "G. J., et al. v. Muscogee Co. Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, visually or manually impaired Florida citizens who were registered to vote in Duval County, Florida and were represented by the American Association of People with Disabilities, filed a putative class action against defendants, alleging that defendants violated federal statutory and state constitutional provisions by failing to provide handicapped-accessible voting machines to visually or manually impaired Florida voters after the 2000 general election. The court vacated its prior opinion and in its revised opinion, held that the district court erroneously granted plaintiffs' requested declaratory judgment and injunction against purported violations of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213, and the regulations promulgated thereunder. The opinion, however, based that outcome exclusively on the ground that voting machines were not "facilities" under 28 C.F.R. 35.151(b).

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Plaintiffs, visually or manually impaired Florida citizens who were registered to vote in Duval County, Florida and were represented by the American Association of People with Disabilities, filed a putative class action against defendants, alleging that defendants violated federal statutory and state constitutional provisions by failing to provide handicapped-accessible voting machines to visually or manually impaired Florida voters after the 2000 general election. The court vacated its prior opinion and in its revised opinion, held that the district court erroneously granted plaintiffs' requested declaratory judgment and injunction against purported violations of the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213, and the regulations promulgated thereunder. The opinion, however, based that outcome exclusively on the ground that voting machines were not "facilities" under 28 C.F.R. 35.151(b).