Dunn v. Hosfeditu et al

Filing 42

ORDER DISMISSING CASE AS MOOT Re Docket No. 30 . Signed by Judge Haywood S. Gilliam, Jr. on 2/13/2017. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate/Proof of Service)(ndrS, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 2/13/2017)

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1 2 3 4 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 5 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 6 MICHAEL DUNN, 7 Plaintiff, 8 ORDER DISMISSING CASE AS MOOT v. 9 Re: Dkt. No. 30 MARGRET HOSFEDITU, et al., 10 Defendants. 11 United States District Court Northern District of California Case No.16-cv-01562-HSG Pending before the Court is the motion for judgment on the pleadings, filed by Defendants 12 13 Margaret Hoffeditz, Kennalee Gable,1 employees of California’s Department of Health Care 14 Services (“DHCS”), and Edmund G. Brown, Jr., in his official capacity as the Governor of the 15 State of California (“Defendants”). Dkt. No. 30. Because of a recent change in the applicable 16 law, the Court finds that the action is moot and that the Court accordingly lacks jurisdiction. 17 I. BACKGROUND 18 On March 29, 2016, pro se plaintiff Michael Dunn (“Plaintiff”) brought this action to 19 prevent Defendants from using the Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Program once he died to recover 20 from his estate the cost of Medi-Cal services that he received since age 55. Plaintiff had been 21 enrolled in Medi-Cal for a brief period after his application was approved in February 2011. Dkt. 22 No. 1 & Ex. 1 at 1. During that time, Plaintiff received Medi-Cal payments for: (1) Fee for 23 Service Claims; (2) Medicare Part B Premiums; (3) Partnership Health Plan of California; and (4) 24 Denti-Cal Premiums. Dkt. No. 1, Ex. 1 at 17. In their motion for judgment on the pleadings, however, Defendants concede that the 25 26 Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Program has changed significantly since Plaintiff filed this action. The 27 28 1 The complaint misspells Ms. Hoffeditz and Mr. Gable’s names. Dkt. No. 1. 1 California Legislature passed Senate Bill 833 in 2016, which limited the Medi-Cal Estate 2 Recovery Program for members who die after January 1, 2017. See 2015 Cal. S.B. No. 833, § 22, 3 Cal. 2015–2016 Regular Session (enacted). For those members, DHCS may now only recover 4 from their estate “for those services required to be collected under federal law.” Cal. Welf. & 5 Inst. Code § 14009.5(a)(1), (b) (emphasis added). Federal law, in turn, only requires the state to 6 recover payments made for members 55 years of age or older for limited services, including 7 “nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and 8 prescription drug services.” 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(b)(1)(A), (B)(i). 9 Defendants acknowledge that in light of the amendments to Welfare & Institutions Code § 14009.5, they cannot recover any of the Medi-Cal costs at issue in this action. During a 11 United States District Court Northern District of California 10 telephonic status conference on January 19, 2016, Defendants agreed to send Plaintiff a letter 12 explaining the change in the law and its effect on his case. See Dkt. No. 40. Defendants sent 13 Plaintiff this letter on January 23, 2017. See Dkt. No. 41. 14 II. LEGAL STANDARD 15 Article III of the United States Constitution limits federal jurisdiction to “actual, ongoing 16 cases or controversies.” Wolfson v. Brammer, 616 F.3d 1045, 1053 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Lewis 17 v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990)). To sustain jurisdiction, “[a] case or 18 controversy must exist at all stages of review, not just at the time the action is filed.” Id. “A case 19 may become moot . . . when the issues presented are no longer ‘live’ or the parties lack a legally 20 cognizable interest in the outcome.” Id. This Court is “without power to decide questions that 21 cannot affect the rights of litigants in the case before [it].” Oregon v. F.E.R.C., 636 F.3d 1203, 22 1206 (9th Cir. 2011). 23 III. DISCUSSION 24 Here, the California Legislature changed the law for Estate Recovery Programs shortly 25 after Plaintiff filed his complaint. As of January 1, 2017, Defendants cannot recover from 26 Plaintiff’s estate any of the Medi-Cal costs that Plaintiff identifies: Plaintiff does not allege, and 27 the records do not show, that any of the Medi-Cal services he received since age 55 constitute 28 “nursing facility services, home and community-based services, and related hospital and 2 1 prescription drug services.” See 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(b)(1)(A), (B)(i). Consequently, there is no 2 longer a live case or controversy and this action is moot. 3 IV. 4 For the foregoing reasons, the case is DISMISSED as moot. The clerk is directed to close 5 6 7 CONCLUSION the case. IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated: 2/13/2017 8 9 HAYWOOD S. GILLIAM, JR. United States District Judge 10 United States District Court Northern District of California 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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