Arkansas Plaintiffs Move To Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Health Care Reform Act

Arkansas Plaintiffs Move To Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Health Care Reform Act

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - (Mealey's) Arkansas residents challenging the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA) on Sept. 8 in Arkansas federal court moved to dismiss their class action complaint without prejudice (Jeannie Burlsworth, et al. v. Eric Holder, in his official capacity as Attorney General of the United States, et al., No. 10-0258, E.D. Ark.).

In their motion to dismiss, plaintiffs Jeannie Burlsworth and Todd Sharp say that good cause exists to dismiss their case challenging the PPACA and that opposing counsel do not object.

Burlsworth and Sharp filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against Eric H. Holder Jr., in his official capacity as attorney general of the United States; Kathleen Sebelius, in her official capacity as secretary of Health and Human Services; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the U.S. Department of the Treasury; Timothy F. Geithner, in his official capacity as the secretary of the Treasury; the U.S. Department of Labor; and Hilda L. Solis, in her official capacity of the secretary of Labor.

Burlsworth is chairman and Sharp is director of Secure Arkansas, a grassroots organization with a "mission to lobby for the taxpayers of the state of Arkansas to preserve their individual rights as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Arkansas State Constitution."  The two sued in their individual capacity and not as members of Secure Arkansas.

Burlsworth and Sharp brought their lawsuit pursuant to 28 U.S. Code Sections 2201-2201 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 57 and for review of an agency action pursuant to 5 U.S. Code Sections 701-706.  The lawsuit seeks a determination that the PPACA violates the U.S. Constitution by mandating that American citizens purchase health insurance.

On Aug. 3, the defendants moved to dismiss the case, saying the plaintiffs have asked the District Court to step beyond its limited role to enjoin a provision - the minimum coverage provision - before the provision takes effect.

The plaintiffs in this case have no standing to sue, and their predictions of injury when the provision goes into effect are merely speculative, the defendants said.

The plaintiffs say that no discovery has commenced in the case and that the defendants can point to no prejudice to them in dismissing the case.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the Sept. 15 issue of Mealey's Managed Care Liability Report.  In the meantime, the motion is available at www.mealeysonline.com or by calling the Customer Support Department at 1-800-833-9844.  Document #31-100915-007M.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit .]www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys

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For more information, e-mail editor Cheryl Keely at Cheryl.keely@lexisnexis.com.