United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ARRM, a Minnesota non-profit association incorporated under the laws of Minnesota, on behalf of itself and its members; Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation MOHR, a Minnesota nonprofit association incorporated under the laws of Minnesota, on behalf of itself and its members; and Karla Dee Marder, by her guardian Judy Marder; Robert Clapper, by his guardian James Clapper; Kathryn Smith, by her guardian Gerald Smith; and Cara Pedrille, by her guardian Nino Pedrille, on behalf of other waiver recipients similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
Emily Johnson Piper, in her Official Capacity as Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS' MOTION FOR TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
WILHELMINA M. WRIGHT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for a
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. (Dkt.
6.) Plaintiffs seek to enjoin Defendant Emily Johnson Piper,
in her official capacity as Commissioner of the Minnesota
Department of Human Services (DHS), from taking any action
that reverses, circumvents, ignores, violates, avoids, or
bypasses certain payment rate increases provided for under
Minnesota law. For the reasons addressed below, the Court
denies the motion.
case involves anticipated funding reductions to
Minnesota's “waiver services” payment rates.
Waiver services are services for which the federal government
agrees, in limited circumstances, to waive certain statutory
and regulatory requirements that ordinarily would govern
Medicaid assistance funding. See 42 C.F.R.
§§ 430.25, 441.300. The state agency that
administers a state's Medicaid program may apply to the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for
authorization to establish home and community-based waiver
services, which are designed to enhance the ability of
persons with disabilities to live in the community rather
than in an institutional setting. Waiver services are
administered by states but jointly funded by state and
Minnesota, DHS is the state agency responsible for licensing,
certifying, and enrolling providers of waiver services.
Acting through the Commissioner, DHS also computes and
approves waiver service payment rates according to Minnesota
law. The Minnesota Disability Waiver Rate System (DWRS)
provides a mathematical framework for establishing provider
payment rates for approved waiver services. See
Minn. Stat. § 256B.4914. Enacted by the Minnesota
Legislature, DWRS went into effect on January 1, 2014.
Pursuant to DWRS, waiver service payment rates adjust
automatically every five years to account for inflation. The
first automatic inflationary adjustment occurred on July 1,
addition to the DWRS automatic inflationary adjustments, the
Minnesota Legislature separately enacted three session laws
that increased waiver service payment rates, with effective
dates in 2014 and 2015. See 2014 Minn. Laws, Ch.
312, Art. 27, § 75; 2013 Minn. Laws, Ch. 108, Art. 7,
§§ 34, 60. These session laws, which cumulatively
increased waiver service payment rates by 7%, affected all
payment rates for Minnesota waiver service recipients without
regard for the type of waiver services received or whether
the payment rates had been set by DWRS.
the 2018 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature
passed an omnibus bill that, as relevant here, would have
repealed the cumulative 7% waiver service payment rate
increase and replaced it with different appropriations.
However, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed that omnibus
bill in May 2018. Consequently, the three session laws that
provide for the 7% waiver service payment rate increases
remain in effect. Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner
announced that DHS nonetheless intends to eliminate the 7%
waiver service payment rate increase. The elimination of this
rate increase will occur in multiple stages, with the first
funding reduction scheduled to occur on July 1, 2018, and the
final funding reduction scheduled to occur December 31, 2019.
ARRM and Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and
Rehabilitation (MOHR) (collectively, “Organizational
Plaintiffs”) are nonprofit associations incorporated
under Minnesota law. ARRM advances Minnesota's home and
community-based service programs that support people living
with disabilities, and its members include more than 200
service providers, businesses, and stakeholders, including
nonprofit and for-profit entities that are certified to
provide such services. MOHR is an association with more than
100 members that provide services to persons with
disabilities. Plaintiffs Karla Dee Marder, Robert Clapper,
Kathryn Smith, and Cara Pedrille, through their respective
guardians (collectively, “Individual
Plaintiffs”), receive waiver services subject to DWRS.
Plaintiffs commenced this action to enjoin the Commissioner
from implementing the anticipated 7% funding reduction to
Minnesota's waiver service payment rates.
now seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction. The Commissioner opposes Plaintiffs' motion,
arguing that the Individual Plaintiffs lack standing and that
Plaintiffs have not established that they are entitled to
preliminary injunctive relief.
Commissioner argues that the Individual Plaintiffs lack
standing to seek injunctive relief because they have not
alleged an imminent injury in fact. The Court addresses this
issue first because questions of standing implicate the
Court's subject-matter jurisdiction. Faibisch v.
Univ. of Minn., 304 F.3d 797, 801 (8th Cir. 2002).
jurisdiction of federal courts extends only to actual cases
or controversies. U.S. Const. art. III, § 2, cl. 1;
accord Neighborhood Transp. Network, Inc. v. Pena,
42 F.3d 1169, 1172 (8th Cir. 1994). To satisfy the
case-or-controversy requirement of Article III of the United
States Constitution, a plaintiff must establish standing as
an “indispensable part of the plaintiff's
case.” Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S.
555, 561 (1992); accord Hargis v. Access Capital Funding,
LLC, 674 F.3d 783, 790 (8th Cir. 2012). To meet this
standing requirement, the plaintiff must (1) have suffered an
injury in fact, (2) establish a causal relationship between
the contested conduct and the alleged injury, and (3) show
that a favorable decision would redress the injury.
Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560-61; accord Hargis,
674 F.3d at 790. Only the injury-in-fact requirement is at
allege an “injury in fact” that confers standing
to seek injunctive relief, a plaintiff must face a threat of
ongoing or future harm. Park v. Forest Serv. of the
U.S., 205 F.3d 1034, 1037 (8th Cir. 2000). An injury in
fact “must be concrete, particularized, and actual or
imminent.” Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA,
568 U.S. 398, 409 (2013) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The purpose of the imminence requirement “is to ensure
that the alleged injury is not too speculative for Article
III purposes-that the injury is ce ...