Westside Mothers v. Olszewski

Decision Date22 April 2005
Docket NumberNo. 99-CV-73442-DT.,99-CV-73442-DT.
PartiesWESTSIDE MOTHERS, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Janet OLSZEWSKI, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan

Jennifer R. Clarke, Robin P. Sumner, Philadelphia, PA, Marilyn T. Mullane, Susan K. McParland-Nash, Detroit, MI, for Plaintiffs.

Morris J. Klau, Detroit, MI, for Defendant.


CLELAND, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Defendants' November 29, 2004 "Motion to Dismiss and/or [for] Summary Judgment." This is Defendants' second motion to dismiss the case. On March 26, 2001, this court issued a detailed written order granting Defendants' original motion to dismiss based on a lack of jurisdiction and want of a cause of action. Westside Mothers v. Haveman, 133 F.Supp.2d 549 (E.D.Mich.2001). Plaintiffs appealed and, in an opinion dated May 15, 2002, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. Westside Mothers v. Haveman, 289 F.3d 852 (6th Cir.2002).

The court of appeals, after revoking its first mandate, issued an amended mandate on August 31, 2004. This court re-opened the case on its docket and, on October 4, 2004, conducted an in-person scheduling/status conference with the attorneys remaining in the case. During the October 2, 2004 conference, counsel for Defendants expressed a desire to file a motion to dismiss based in large part on the United States Supreme Court's intervening decision in Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 122 S.Ct. 2268, 153 L.Ed.2d 309 (2002). Plaintiffs' counsel also indicated a desire to file an amended complaint. The court subsequently permitted Plaintiffs to file their "First Amended Complaint" on October 18, 2004 and stayed discovery in this case pending review of Defendants' anticipated and potentially dispositive motion to dismiss.

Defendants' motion has been fully briefed and the court held oral argument on the motion February 2, 2005. For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion.


This is a civil rights case brought against Michigan state officials for their alleged failure to provide eligible Michigan children with medical, dental, developmental, and mental health services under the federal Medicaid statute. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants are denying Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment ("EPSDT") services to eligible Medicaid recipients under age 21.

Plaintiffs bring this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Janet Olszewski in her official capacity as Director of the State of Michigan Department of Community Health and Paul Reinhart in his official capacity as Deputy Director of the State of Michigan Medical Services Administration. Plaintiffs Westside Mothers, Families on the Move, Inc., the Michigan Chapters of the American Association of Pediatrics and of Pediatric Dentists, along with five named individual Plaintiffs allege violations of their federal statutory rights secured under the federal Medicaid statute 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396a(a)(8), (a)(10), (a)(30)(A), and (a)(43) as defined by 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396d(a) & (r) and 1396u-2(b)(5). (See Pl.'s First Amend. Compl. at ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs also have filed a motion for class certification pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief asking the court to find unlawful Defendants' policy and practice of denying Plaintiffs (and the asserted class) health services to which they are entitled under the statute. (Id. at 26.) Plaintiffs also ask the court to appoint a Special Master to oversee an injunction requiring Defendants to remedy their past statutory violations. (Id. at 25-26.)

There is no dispute that the Medicaid statute at issue is spending clause legislation. "Medicaid is a cooperative federal-state program through which the Federal Government provides financial assistance to States so that they may furnish medical care to needy individuals." Wilder v. Virginia Hosp. Ass'n, 496 U.S. 498, 502, 110 S.Ct. 2510, 110 L.Ed.2d 455 (1990). The Medicaid program, Title XIX of the Social Security Act, was created in 1965 and "provides a federal subsidy to states that choose to reimburse poor individuals for certain medical care." Westside Mothers, 289 F.3d at 855. "Although participation in the program is voluntary, participating states must comply with certain requirements imposed by the Act and regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services." Wilder, 496 U.S. at 502, 110 S.Ct. 2510. States participate in the program through "State plans for medical assistance" that are submitted to and approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. 42 U.S.C. § 1396; see also 42 C.F.R. § 430.10. A state that fails to comply with its approved medical assistance plan and certain federal requirements runs the risk of having the Secretary revoke its funding. 42 U.S.C. § 1396c.

Michigan has elected to participate in the Medicaid program. It operates under a waiver from the Health Care Finance Administration, providing eligible individuals Medicaid services by requiring them to enroll in Health Maintenance Organizations ("HMOs"), also known as managed care entities ("MCEs"). See 42 U.S.C § 1396u-2(a)(1)(A)(i) (states may "require an individual who is eligible for Medicaid under the state plan ... to enroll with a managed care entity [`MCE'] as a condition of receiving such assistance"). A medicaid managed care entity "provides or arranges for services for enrollees under a contract ... pursuant to [42 U.S.C. § 1396b(m)]." 42 U.S.C. § 1396u-2(a)(1)(B)(i). All of the individually named Plaintiffs are enrolled in a MCE.

Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint comprises three counts. Count I is titled "Failure to Provide Healthcare to all Eligible Children," alleging a breach of 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(8) and (a)(10) as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 1396d(a) & (r). Count II is titled "Failure to Deliver Access to the Children's Healthcare Services Required by Title XIX," alleging a breach of rights created under 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(30)(A), as defined by § 1396u-2(b)(5). Count III is titled "Denial of Basic Child Healthcare Outreach and Information" and alleges a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(43)(A) as defined by § 1396d(a) and (r). All of these counts are brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Defendants argue that Count I should be dismissed because: (1) the statutory provisions relied on by Plaintiffs do not create individual federal rights enforceable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Blessing v. Freestone, 520 U.S. 329, 117 S.Ct. 1353, 137 L.Ed.2d 569 (1997); Gonzaga University v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 283, 122 S.Ct. 2268, 153 L.Ed.2d 309 (2002); (2) 42 U.S.C. §§ 1396a(a)(8) and (a)(10) do not create an obligation for the State to provide actual medical services and therefore forecloses the remedy sought by Plaintiffs; (3) Plaintiffs have no individual federal enforceable right to ensure full or substantial compliance with the Secretary's participation goal established pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1396d(r); (4) there is no genuine issue of material fact that Michigan's Medicaid program, policies, and procedures provide for all EPSDT screening services as required by federal law; and (5) because a claim that a Medicaid provider failed to provide covered services completely or adequately does not state a claim against the state officials under § 1983.

Defendants argue that Count II should be dismissed because neither 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(30)(A) nor § 1396u-2(b)(5) create enforceable rights under § 1983.

Lastly, Defendants argue that Count III should be dismissed because no Plaintiff has alleged that he lacked information about the availability of EPSDT services and that there is no genuine issue of fact on this claim because Defendants do provide for informing all eligible Medicaid recipients under age 21 of the availability of EPSDT services as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(43) and described in § 1396d(r). In short, Defendants argue that Plaintiffs fail to state a claim because none of them have alleged that they had been determined eligible but were denied notice. Defendants further argue that Plaintiffs' complaint erroneously relies on an "effectiveness" requirement not contained within § 1396a(a)(43).

A. Rule 12(b)(6)

When considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all the factual allegations as true, and determine whether the plaintiff undoubtedly can prove no set of facts in support of his claims that would entitle him to relief. Sistrunk v. City of Strongsville, 99 F.3d 194, 197 (6th Cir.1996); Cline v. Rogers, 87 F.3d 176, 179 (6th Cir.1996); Wright v. MetroHealth Med Ctr., 58 F.3d 1130, 1138 (6th Cir.1995). A motion to dismiss may be granted "only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Pratt v. Ventas, Inc., 365 F.3d 514, 519 (6th Cir.2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). When an allegation is capable of more than one inference, it must be construed in the plaintiff's favor. Columbia Natural Res., Inc. v. Tatum, 58 F.3d 1101, 1109 (6th Cir.1995); In re DeLorean Motor Co., 991 F.2d 1236, 1240 (6th Cir.1993); Mayer v. Mylod, 988 F.2d 635, 638 (6th Cir.1993). Hence, a judge may not grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion based on a disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations. Wright, 58 F.3d at 1138; Columbia Natural Resources, Inc., 58 F.3d at 1109.

Though decidedly liberal, this standard of review does require more than the bare assertion of legal conclusions. Lillard v. Shelby County Bd. of Educ., 76 F.3d 716, 726 (6th Cir.1996); LRL Properties v. Portage Metro Hous. Auth., 55 F.3d 1097,...

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  • Barry v. Corrigan
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • January 9, 2015
    ...eligible individuals ...” 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(a)(8). That provision was held enforceable by private action in Westside Mothers v. Olszewski, 368 F.Supp.2d 740, 761–62 (E.D.Mich.2005). Section 2014(a) of the SNAP Act states in similar language that “Assistance under this program shall be furni......
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    ...565, 572 (6th Cir.2004); Hughlett v. Romer-Sensky, 98 Fed.Appx. 360, 365 n. 3 (6th Cir.2004) (unpublished); Westside Mothers v. Olszewski, 368 F.Supp.2d 740, 746-49 (E.D.Mich.2005); L.B. III v. Hous. Auth. of Louisville, 345 F.Supp.2d 725, 727 (W.D.Ky.2004); Bosscher v. Twp. of Algoma, 246 ......
  • John B. v. Goetz
    • United States
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    ...to dismiss in that action asserting ESPDT claims, contending that Gonzaga required dismissal of that action. Westside Mothers v. Olszewski, 368 F.Supp.2d 740, 742 (E.D.Mich.2005). Thus, in 2004, other similarly situated defense counsel recognized that Gonzaga raised the issue of whether cla......
  • Unan v. Lyon
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • January 11, 2016
    ...criteria of the Blessing test and therefore confer a privately enforceable right of action under § 1983. Westside Mothers v. Olszewski, 368 F. Supp. 2d 740, 762 (E.D. Mich. 2005). On appeal, the Sixth Circuit did not challenge this finding, instead addressing the scope of those rights. West......

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