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Supreme Court Denies Review Of Health Care Reform Suit

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 8 declined review of the first petition for writ of certiorari filed in a case challenging the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) (Steven Baldwin, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 10-369, U.S. Sup.). 

The court denied the petition without comment.

In the case, Steve Baldwin, a former California assemblyman, and the Pacific Justice Institute, a public interest, education and legal defense organization that provides health care insurance to its employees, sued the Department of Health and Human Services and its secretary, Kathleen Sebelius; the Department of Labor and its secretary, Hilda Solis; and the Department of Transportation and its secretary, Timothy Geithner, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, challenging the PPACA.

The plaintiffs seek, inter alia, declaratory and/or injunctive relief regarding the individual mandate provision set forth in Section 1501 of the act, which requires people to purchase health care insurance by 2014 or face a penalty. Baldwin says he objects to being compelled to maintain health care insurance, and the institute says it objects to being compelled to comply with the act because the act imposed increased costs on it by preventing it from denying health care insurance coverage to part-time employees.

On Aug. 27, Judge Dana M. Sabraw granted the federal government's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they failed to demonstrate any actual injury.

The plaintiffs appealed the dismissal to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Aug. 30.  That appeal remains pending.

The plaintiffs on Sept. 15 filed a petition for writ of certiorari before judgment with the Supreme Court, saying the case meets the requirements for granting a petition "upon a showing that the case is of such imperative public importance as to justify deviation from normal appellate practice and to require immediate determination in this Court."

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the Nov. 17 issue of Mealey's Managed Care Liability Report.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit]

For more information, e-mail editor Cheryl Keely at