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Case TitleConsumers Council of Missouri v. Department of Health and Human Services
DistrictEastern District of Missouri
CitySt. Louis
Case Number4:2014cv01682
Date Filed2014-09-30
Date Closed2015-04-23
JudgeDistrict Judge Jean C. Hamilton
PlaintiffConsumers Council of Missouri
Case DescriptionThe Consumers Council of Missouri submitted a FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records concerning the companies offering insurance in Missouri under the Affordable Care Act, the rates charged, and any non-exempt information filed by the insurers. The Council also requested expedited processing and a fee waiver. After hearing nothing further from the agency, the Council filed suit.
Complaint issues: Failure to respond within statutory time limit, Public Interest Fee Waiver, Litigation - Attorney's fees

DefendantDepartment of Health and Human Services Mary Mayhew Commissioner of DHHS
AppealEighth Circuit 15-3595
Documents
Docket
Complaint
Complaint attachment 1
Complaint attachment 2
Complaint attachment 3
Complaint attachment 4
Complaint attachment 5
Complaint attachment 6
Opinion/Order [25]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Missouri has ruled that Consumers Council of Missouri's FOIA request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for records pertaining to the names of insurers offering health insurance in Missouri in 2015, their 2015 rates, and non-commercial information provided in their Rate Filing Justifications is moot because the agency ultimately furnished the agency website address where such information could be located. Consumers Council argued the request was not moot because it was capable of repetition, yet evading review. The court noted that "in this case it is plausible, if not likely, that Plaintiff will request similar information in future years. There nevertheless does not exist a reasonable expectation that Plaintiff will be subjected to the same delayed response, however [because] CMS will not have to go through the time-consuming pre-disclosure notification process. . .that it engaged in this time, prior to posting the information to its website in future years" and because HHS is adopting new regulations beginning in plan year 2016. As a result, the court observed that "in light of these prospects for change with respect to the release of information for plan years 2016 and beyond, the Court agrees with HHS that at this point, Plaintiff has not basis to contend it will be subject to the same alleged injury."
Issues: Litigation - Jurisdiction - Moot
Opinion/Order [40]
FOIA Project Annotation: A federal court in Missouri has ruled that the Consumers Council of Missouri did not substantially prevail in its suit against the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is not entitled to attorney's fees. Consumers Council requested the 2015 insurers' filing rates for Missouri in August 2014. The agency told Consumers Council that it was working on the request but could not respond within 20 days. Consumer Council filed suit in September 2014. The agency disclosed some of the records responsive to Consumers Council's request on its website in November 2014. Consumers Council then filed its motion for summary judgment asking the court to order the agency to disclose the remainder of the records immediately. CMS disclosed the rest of the records responsive to Consumer Council's request in March 2015. The court then denied Consumers Council's motion for summary judgment as moot. Consumers Council filed a motion for attorney's fees, asking for $139,852. Denying the motion, the court noted that "the record reveals Defendant did not voluntarily or unilaterally change its position in response to this lawsuit. Instead, CMS initiated its pre-disclosure notification process for information in Part I of the 2015 [rate filings] and simultaneously began developing a new website to publicly post the information in Parts I and II that were determined to be made public, in May, 2014"months before Plaintiff submitted its FOIA request. While CMS did not initiate the pre-disclosure notification process with respect to Part III information until November 7, 2014, there is no indication that it did so in response to Plaintiff's lawsuit, rather than as part of its consistent action to comply with its own regulations." Consumers Council contended that the agency had changed its position by agreeing to post all non-confidential rate filings by the tenth business day after May 15. But the court pointed out that "Defendant presents evidence, however, that CMS set the uniform [rate filing] submission and public posting deadlines for policy reasons unrelated to this litigation."
Issues: Litigation - Attorney's fees - Prevailing party
User-contributed Documents
 
Docket Events (Hide)
Date FiledDoc #Docket Text

2014-09-301COMPLAINT against defendant All Defendants with receipt number 0865-4517128, in the amount of $400 Non-Jury Demand,, filed by Consumers Council of Missouri. (Attachments: # 1 Original Filing Form, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet, # 3 Form Corporate Disclosure Form, # 4 Summons Agency, # 5 Summons U.S. Attorney, # 6 Summons U.S. Attorney General)(Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 09/30/2014)
2014-09-302MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Jay Angoff. The Certificate of Good Standing was attached.(Filing fee $100 receipt number 0865-4517192) by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Attachments: # 1 Certificate of Good Standing)(Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 09/30/2014)
2014-10-013DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATION INTERESTS CERTIFICATE by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri.. (DLT) (Entered: 10/01/2014)
2014-10-01Case Opening Notification: 3 Summons(es) issued. The summons was emailed to jay.angoff@findjustice.com. Judge Assigned: U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton. (DLT) (Entered: 10/01/2014)
2014-10-244Docket Text ORDER: Re: 2 MOTION for Leave to Appear Pro Hac Vice Jay Angoff. ; ORDERED : SO ORDERED. Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 10/24/14. (CEL) (Entered: 10/24/2014)
2014-11-065MOTION for Extension of: Time to File Responsive Pleading by Defendant Department of Health and Human Services. (Llewellyn, Nicholas) (Entered: 11/06/2014)
2014-11-066Docket Text ORDER: Re: 5 MOTION for Extension of: Time to File Responsive Pleading filed by Department of Health and Human Services; GRANTED - SO ORDERED ( Response to Court due by 11/14/2014.) Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 11/6/14. (KJS) (Entered: 11/06/2014)
2014-11-147ANSWER to 1 Complaint, by Department of Health and Human Services.(Llewellyn, Nicholas) (Entered: 11/14/2014)
2014-11-198ORDER SETTING RULE 16 TELEPHONE CONFERENCE This case is assigned to Track: 2 Joint Scheduling Plan due by 12/7/2014. Rule 16 Conference set for 12/17/2014 10:30 AM in Telephone before District Judge Jean C. Hamilton, with the Plaintiff initiating the call. The phone number for Judge Hamilton's chambers is (314) 244-7600. Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 11/19/2014. (CLK) (Entered: 11/19/2014)
2014-12-039JOINT SCHEDULING PLAN by Defendant Department of Health and Human Services. . (Llewellyn, Nicholas) (Entered: 12/03/2014)
2014-12-1710Minute Entry for proceedings held before District Judge Jean C. Hamilton: Rule 16 Conference held on 12/17/2014. Conference held by phone. CMO to issue. (KJS) (Entered: 12/17/2014)
2014-12-1711CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER This case is assigned to Track: 2-Standard Dispositive Motions due by 1/30/2015.Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 12/17/14. (KJS) (Entered: 12/17/2014)
2015-01-3012MOTION for Summary Judgment by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment Statement of Uncontroverted Facts, # 2 Attachment Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, # 3 Exhibit Exhibit 1, # 4 Exhibit Exhibit 2, # 5 Exhibit Exhibit 3, # 6 Exhibit Exhibit 4)(Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 01/30/2015)
2015-02-2513MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment by Defendant Department of Health and Human Services. (Llewellyn, Nicholas) (Entered: 02/25/2015)
2015-02-2514Docket Text ORDER: Re: 13 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply filed by Department of Health and Human Services; GRANTED - SO ORDERED ( Response to Court due by 3/9/2015.) Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 2/25/15. (KJS) (Entered: 02/25/2015)
2015-03-0915MEMORANDUM in Opposition re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Department of Health and Human Services. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment Defendant's Response to Plaintiff Statement of Facts, # 2 Exhibit A - Declaration of Hugh Gilmore, # 3 Exhibit A1, # 4 Attachment Defendant's Statement of Facts, # 5 Exhibit B - Declaration of Julie McCune, # 6 Exhibit B1, # 7 Exhibit B2, # 8 Exhibit B3, # 9 Exhibit B4)(Llewellyn, Nicholas) (Entered: 03/09/2015)
2015-03-1016MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 03/10/2015)
2015-03-1117Docket Text ORDER: Re: 16 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply filed by Consumers Council of Missouri; GRANTED - SO ORDERED. ( Response to Court due by 3/19/2015.) Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 3/11/15. (KJS) (Entered: 03/11/2015)
2015-03-1718MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply Memorandum by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 03/17/2015)
2015-03-1719Docket Text ORDER: Re: 18 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply Memorandum by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Angoff, Jay); ORDERED GRANTED JCH, ( Response to Court due by 3/24/2015.). Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 03/17/2015. (CLK) (Entered: 03/17/2015)
2015-03-2420MEMORANDUM in Support of Motion re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3)(Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 03/24/2015)
2015-03-3021MOTION for Leave to File Limited Sur-Reply in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Department of Health and Human Services. (Attachments: # 1 Attachment Sur-Reply in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, # 2 Exhibit C)(Llewellyn, Nicholas) (Entered: 03/30/2015)
2015-03-3022Docket Text ORDER: Re: 21 MOTION for Leave to File Limited Sur-Reply in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Department of Health and Human Services; GRANTED - SO ORDERED. Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 3/30/15. (KJS) (Entered: 03/30/2015)
2015-03-3023SURREPLY to Motion re 12 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Department of Health and Human Services. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(KJS) (Entered: 03/30/2015)
2015-04-0124MOTION For Oral Argument by Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouri. (Angoff, Jay) (Entered: 04/01/2015)
2015-04-2325MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiff Consumers Council of Missouris Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 12) is DENIED, and Plaintiffs Complaint (ECF No. 1) is DISMISSED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs Motion for Oral Argument (ECF No. 24) is DENIED. 12 24 Signed by District Judge Jean C. Hamilton on 4/23/15. (CLA) (Entered: 04/23/2015)
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by FOIA Project Staff
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