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Hicks v. Commissioner of Social Security

909 F.3d 786 (2018)

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Hicks v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

909 F.3d 786 (2018)

Facts

Eric Conn was an attorney who represented clients in Social Security disability cases. To win his clients’ cases, Conn created a fraudulent scheme in which he paid doctors to create false reports that supported his clients’ disability claims. Conn also paid an administrative-law judge to find in his clients’ favor. After discovering the fraud, the Social Security Administration (SSA) (defendant) redetermined the benefits of Conn’s clients. During the redeterminations, the SSA disregarded all evidence submitted by doctors implicated in the fraud. For several of Conn’s clients, those medical reports were the only evidence supporting their disability claims. Amy Jo Hicks and other former clients of Conn (collectively, the claimants) (plaintiffs) lost their disability benefits after the SSA found upon redetermination that they were not disabled. After losing their benefits, the claimants experienced financial hardship. The claimants were also ordered to repay the benefits that they had erroneously received prior to the redetermination. The claimants challenged the SSA’s exclusion of the medical reports prepared by the doctors implicated in the scheme. The claimants argued that to satisfy due process, the SSA was required to allow the claimants to rebut the SSA’s assumption that the medical reports were inadmissible.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moore, J.)

Dissent (Rogers, J.)

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