Legal News Podcast - New Hampshire Federal Court Dismisses Challenge to Obamacare - Standing Not A Fiction

Legal News Podcast - New Hampshire Federal Court Dismisses Challenge to Obamacare - Standing Not A Fiction

A New Hampshire federal judge dismisses a challenge to the Health Care Act by a Medicare recipient, and, a $111 million interest award is issued in a Texas federal patent case. Hear these and other stories from LexisNexis® Mealey's Publications. Copyright© 2011 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. For the latest litigation news headlines, visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys or www.lexisnexis.com/community.

A New Hampshire judge overseeing what he said was possibly the first case brought by a Medicare recipient to challenge the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), dismissed the lawsuit on March 30, saying the plaintiff lacked standing to bring the suit (Harold Peterson v. Barack Obama, et al., No. 10-170, D. N.H.). Harold Peterson sued President Barack Obama, the United States of America, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, seeking declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. Peterson, a Medicare recipient, contended that the PPACA violated the Fifth, 10th and 14th Amendments and Article 1, Section 8, and Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution because the Constitution did not empower Congress to take over the health care business.

Although the PPACA and particularly the mandate raised interesting constitutional issues, Peterson did not have standing to litigate them, Judge Joseph N. Laplante said. Medicare coverage automatically satisfies the PPACA's individual mandate requirement, so Peterson wouldnot incur any financial burdens and wouldnot need to do anything to satisfy the mandate, Judge Laplante said.

The court rejected Peterson's unique arguement that standing was a 'Fiction'. "The Constitution limits the jurisdiction of federal courts to 'Cases' and 'Controversies.' Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 559, 112 S. Ct. 2130, 119 L. Ed. 2d 351 (1992) (quoting U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1). To satisfy the Constitution's 'case or controversy' requirement, a party seeking relief in federal court must show that he has suffered an actual injury, which is fairly traceable to the defendant's conduct and redressable by a favorable judicial decision. Coggeshall v. Mass. Bd. of Registration of Psychologists, 604 F.3d 658, 666 (1st Cir. 2010), citing Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61). That is commonly known as the doctrine of 'standing.' Peterson argues that 'standing is a fiction created by the courts' and that he need not satisfy any such requirement. But the Supreme Court has called the standing requirement 'essential and unchanging,' Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560, and this court must follow Supreme Court precedent."

Health Care and Medicine

Lexis.com subscribers can access the enhanced version of Peterson v. United States, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34775 (D.N.H. 2011) decision with summary, headnotes, and Shepard's.

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