If you filed for Social Security disability and appeared at a hearing in the Queens Office of Disability Adjudication and Review before any of the following Administrative Law Judges – Michael D. Cofresi, Seymour Fier, Marilyn P. Hoppenfeld, David Z. Nisnewitz, and Hazel C. Strauss, you may soon be entitled to a new hearing before a different Administrative Law Judge. You may soon receive, or have already received, a “Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement and Fairness Hearing” from Social Security.
This notice concerns a lawsuit, Padro, et al. v. Astrue, brought against the Social Security Administration by the law firm of Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher and the Empire Justice Center. The lawsuit was filed to address allegations of “general bias” against disability claimants by the five judges named above. In settling the lawsuit, the Social Security Administration is not admitting any wrongdoing by any of the judges.
Under the terms of the proposed settlement, any individual who received an unfavorable or partially favorable decision from one of these judges dated after January 1, 2008, is eligible to have a new hearing. The hearing will be conducted by a different judge than the judge who issued their first decision. However, if an individual filed a lawsuit in District Court and the judge’s decision was upheld by the court, that individual will not be entitled to a new hearing in front of a different judge.
The proposed settlement has not been finalized and the terms are subject to change. There is a hearing scheduled to finalize the settlement on July 24, 2013. Once the settlement is finalized, all affected individuals will receive another notice from Social Security advising them of their right to a new hearing. If you receive such a notice, you will have sixty (60) days to notify Social Security that you wish to have a new hearing. If you believe that you might be entitled to a new hearing, but have not received a notice, you should contact your local Social Security office as soon as possible.
If you are interested in having our office represent you at your hearing, please contact our office as soon as possible so that you can schedule a free initial consultation with our staff.
Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.