Amicus Briefs

Amicus Briefs

Ron M. Landsman has been active in representing the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Special Needs Alliance, his primary professional affiliations, as friend of the court in a variety of cases raising important questions under Medicaid law and the use of special needs trusts, among other issues. In reverse chronological order, these include:

  • Zahner v. Secretary, Pennsylvania Dept. of Human Services, 802 F.3d 497 (3rd Cir. 2015), U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. Filed brief on behalf of NAELA supporting two elderly Medicaid applicants challenging the Pennsylvania Medicaid agency claim that one-year spousal annuities were “too short” to be actuarially sound. Pending.
  • Draper v. Colvin in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Filed brief as counsel for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Special Needs Alliance are Amicus Curiae. The issue in Draper is whether SSI can deny benefits to someone, otherwise qualified, because the parents who created a special needs trust to hold the child’s personal injury recovery also had authority to act for the child in other regards. (If the parents created the trust as the child’s agents, then SSI would be correct that the trust was not valid under federal law.) Although SSI claimed to decide based on state (South Dakota) law, South Dakota law is to the opposite of what SSI claimed on every aspect of the decision.
  • Saccone v. Board of Trustees, Police and Firefighters Retirement System in the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Filed brief as counsel for the Special Needs Alliance are Amicus Curiae.The issue in Saccone is whether the New Jersey police and firefighters’ benefit for disabled children can be directed by the retired worker to a special needs trust for the disabled child. The brief for SNT focused on the apparent confusion of the lower court on the rules respecting special needs trusts and federal public benefits and sought to provide a clear taxonomy of such trusts and how each functioned respecting income and assets. The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that the disabled child of a retired member of the PFRS may have his or her survivors’ benefits paid into a first party SNT created for him or her under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1396p(d)(4)(A).
  • Lewis v. Alexander, 685 F.3d 325 (3rd Cir., 2012), cert. denied, 184 L.Ed.2d 724 (2013). Filed brief as counsel for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and Special Needs Alliance are Amicus Curiae.The Third Circuit held that Congress established the rules that control pooled special needs trusts for SSI and Medicaid purposes and the states can neither add or detract from those requirements, although they can supevise pooled special needs trusts the way they supervise private trust arrangements generally.
  • Hobbs v. Dept. of Human Services – Filed brief on behalf of SNA supporting family of disabled child challenging New Mexico’s ad hoc, case-by-case limitations on the use of special needs trusts in the face of probate court approval. Plaintiff Medicaid beneficiary lost.
  • Timm v. Dept. of Public Health and Human Services, 343 Mont. 11, 184 P.3d 994 (2008), Of Counsel for National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys as Amicus curiae. The Montana Supreme Court held that its state Medicaid program was required to allow a “PEME” deduction, rejecting the state Medicaid department’s interpretation of Federal law.
  • Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene V. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 542 F.3d 424 (4th Cir. 2008), affirming, In re. Maryland State Plan Amendment 05-06 (CMS decision, March 30, 2007).Filed brief as counsel for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys as Amicus Curiae. The Fourth Circuit upheld the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determination, against a challenge by the Maryland Medicaid program, that the Federal statute required “PEME” deductions for expenses incurred in no less than the three months prior to the month of initial eligibility.
  • DHMH v. Brown - Filed brief on behalf of Maryland-DC Chapter of NAELA supporting Medicaid waiver care applicant who challenged Maryland Medicaid definition of “nursing home level” of care as overly strict. Plaintiff Medicaid applicant prevailed.