News and Case Updates

September 10, 2014 Case Update

September 10, 2014 Case Update

On Friday, September 5, 2014, the case returned from the state supreme court back to Thurston County Superior Court where Judge Erik Price made his first rulings in the case.  Judge Price signed an order entering a judgment, officially titled the Second Amended Judgment, against State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services in the amount of $57,123,794.50, with post-judgment interest accruing at 12% from the date of the entry of the verdict on December 20, 2010.

Gilardi & Co., LLC, a San Francisco-based claims administration company, has been appointed by the Court to handle the notice and distribution of funds for class members.  Class Counsel will now work with Gilardi & Co., LLC to develop the comprehensive plan to notify over 20,000 individual providers that wages have been recovered for them and to alert them to the process under which the money will be distributed.  This plan will be presented to the Court for its approval soon.

Many providers have asked when the State DSHS will be paying the judgment.  The best answer at this point is that it is unclear but the State has indicated it intends to wait until July 2015 to pay the judgment.  Class Counsel will continue efforts to obtain payment on the judgment sooner because we know how important it is to everyone.

If you have any questions regarding the case, please do not hesitate to email or telephone us.

Second Amended Final Judgment on Jury Verdict GRANTED (PDF, 381KB)
First Amended Supplemental Judgment and Order for Attorney Fees and Costs Following Mandate (PDF, 376KB)

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Appeals over; Payment Expected Summer 2015

Appeals over; Payment Expected Summer 2015

We met with the State’s lawyers recently to discuss the status of the case.  The State’s lawyers indicated that they will no longer pursue any other avenues of appeal but plan on waiting to pay the judgment until July 2015, after the next budget is passed by the legislature.  This is quite a remarkable position to take since it means the State will incur about $9 million in interest over the next year.  It’s a good investment for the class but we know it is causing a tremendous hardship to many individuals.  We will continue pressing the State to make good on its debts now.  We will keep you updated.

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Supreme Court Issues Mandate

The Washington Supreme Court issued its Mandate today for the class action lawsuit Rekhter v Department of Social and Health Services, which officially ends review in the Supreme Court and now allows the case to return to the Thurston County Superior Court where final work can now move forward towards obtaining the nearly $90 million from the State of Washington to satisfy the judgment and towards developing the procedures for notifying class members of the manner in which claims will be paid.
2014-06-09 Supreme Court Mandate re Case

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WA Supreme Court DENIES State’s Motion for Reconsideration

WA Supreme Court DENIES State’s Motion for Reconsideration

The Washington Supreme Court today denied the State of Washington’s motion to reconsider its ruling in favor of the Class Plaintiffs on their $57 million jury verdict with post-judgment interest. The judgment of roughly $90 million will stand.

Once finalized, the case will be returned to Thurston County Superior Court for final work to be completed on payment and the payment process that will be ordered by the court. The Court will determine the most appropriate way to make sure that the Class Members know about the result and the manner in which money will be distributed to the Class Members.

Please check in frequently here on the website for updated details as we move towards completion of this process.

Read the order from the Supreme Court here

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State files for reconsideration with Supreme Court

On April 23, 2014, the State filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Supreme Court, asking the Court to reverse its recent decision that upheld a $57M jury verdict and allowed for $23M in post-judgment interest.  There are no published rules or timelines for the Court’s procedure to consider this new motion but it seems likely that we will not hear back about this motion for several months.  To read the State’s new motion, please click on the link below.

Appellants’ Mot for Reconsideration

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Supreme Court Ruling is in – $57M Verdict Upheld

Supreme Court Ruling is in – $57M Verdict Upheld

The Washington Supreme Court today upheld a $57 million dollar jury verdict for 22,000in-home care providers against the State’s Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). With the interest since the trial, the State will pay nearly $80 million dollars in total.  In April 2003, DSHS began cutting 15% of paid care hours for all disabled people with care givers who lived in the same home, under a policy called the Shared Living Rule. Under this ruleDSHS would pay 100% of benefits to disabled people who chose providers who lived out of the home, but only 85% for disabled people with live-in providers.

DSHS continued to eliminate these benefits despite a superior court ruling in 2005 that invalidated the Shared Living Rule on the basis that DSHS violated Federal Medicaid law requiring DSHS to treat groups of disabled people similarly.

In December 2010, a Thurston County jury determined that DSHS breached the contracts with the care providers by using the Shared Living Rule, awarding $57 million in damages.  The State chose to appeal the verdict, and oral arguments were back in May, 2013.  The Supreme Court’s decision preserved the jury verdict in its entirety, eliminated pre-judgment interest but upheld the award of post-judgment interest.

Read the Supreme Court’s Opinion HERE

Many of you are wondering “When will we receive a check?”  Here are the deadlines you will want to track.

The State of Washington may decide to ask the state supreme court to reconsider its decision.  The State has 30 days to file a motion for reconsideration.  The Court may quickly reject the motion or call for further briefing from us.  If there is a motion for reconsideration, we should expect three months to pass before that matter is resolved.

The State may also consider filing a petition to the United States Supreme Court to hear the case though the decision is based on a state law breach of contract claim and wildly unlikely to garner any interest from the US Supreme Court.  It’s doubtful the State bothers with this effort.

We then have to wait for the “remand” of the case, which means the official end of the appeal and release back to the trial court.  The trial court still has to make final arrangements for the company that will be hired to administer the funds and finalize the distribution plans for the money.  We will be making every effort the Court allows to ensure as many class members as possible get direct notice of the judgment amounts.  The Court will then require the State to pay and we can proceed to distribution.

It is wise to assume checks to individuals will not flow out until early 2015 though it is possible it all gets done much quicker and we make it by Christmas of this year.  We certainly hope we can help make that happen.

Supreme Court Decision News Coverage

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Supreme Court Hearing Set for May 14, 2013

Supreme Court Hearing Set for May 14, 2013

Rekhter v. DSHS lawsuit has been scheduled for a Washington State Supreme Court hearing, set for May 14, 2013.  This will be the final chance for the State to try and reverse the $95,000,000+ judgment.  You’ll be able to watch the arguments live when they happen by logging on to www.tvw.org.  As we get closer to the date, we’ll send out a reminder email and post a link to TVW.  Comments will also be posted while it happens, on PCVA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pcvalaw).

2013 Washington Supreme Court Justices

This is the first and only time we’ll be arguing at the Washington State Supreme Court in this case. If you’re watching live, you’ll hear a lot about precedents (opinions heard in older cases that have similar issues to this case) and how they relate to this case. The overall procedure is:

- Nine Supreme Court Justices will hear arguments from each side.
– 20-30 minutes is given each side to present and rebut their case.
– The Justices will ask questions of the lawyers during the arguments.
– Rulings occur six to eighteen months after the hearing.

Be sure to set TVW as a favorite in your web browser so you can tune in and watch the arguments live on May 14.

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