NEW YORK, May 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The New York Public Service Retirees Organization secured another major appeal victory on behalf of Medicare-eligible retired city workers and their dependents. The victory comes in a class action lawsuit filed last year by the organization challenging the city and EmblemHealth\’s illegal decision to levy tuition fees on aged care-enrolled retirees.

Yesterday, the First Department appeals court unanimously upheld a decision by the Manhattan Supreme Court Lyle Frank prohibiting the City and EmblemHealth from charging 183,000 seniors and disabled retirees to pay fees for medical services.

The First Department said the retirees \”have established a likelihood of success on the merits\” of their case. It further said that the retirees had demonstrated that they \”would suffer irreparable harm – delaying or forgoing medical treatment and inability to pay certain expenses, including necessities such as utilities – if they were required to continue paying copayments.\”

Justice Frank already in January it accepted the request for a preliminary injunction of the pensioners, suspending the imposition of the co-payments. Judge Frank ruled that the injunction was necessary because the retirees had a \”high probability\” of succeeding in their lawsuit and because the contributions were forcing seniors living on limited pensions to forego necessary medical care and reduce spending on other need.

This is the second time in less than two years that Justice Frank ruled in favor of retirees and the First Department unanimously affirmed. The first time came in 2022, when Justice Frank banned Council from \”passing over any costs\” of retirees\’ existing health insurance.

In response, Marianne PizzitolaPresident of the New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees, has issued the following declaration: \”Again, six out of six Supreme Court justices concluded that the City violated the rights of retirees and inflicted irreparable harm on them. It is both sad and astounding that Council is unable or unwilling to acknowledge the illegality of its conduct and the extreme suffering it causes. We are incredibly grateful to the Court for recognizing the retirees\’ worthy legal arguments and the heartbreaking harm caused by the wrongful actions of the City and EmblemHealth. In an April press conference with the PBA, the mayor said, \”There is no balancing the bills on the shoulders of those who have provided a service to the city.\” I guess you forgot about the retirees. This appeals decision serves as yet another wake-up call to the Mayor and the MLC, who appear to believe that retirees are a cash cow to fund reckless spending. If the Mayor and the MLC continue to violate retirees\’ health care rights, we will continue to take them to court. We will continue to fight for the health and well-being of those who have served this city and will ensure that the city meets its legal obligations.\”

Jacob Gardener, a partner at Walden Macht & Haran, handled the motion for a preliminary injunction. He said: \”Thanks to the First Department\’s well-reasoned decision, tens of thousands of senior and disabled first responders, especially those with serious medical conditions that require frequent medical attention, will avoid drowning in co-pays they cannot afford. We look forward to the next step in this battle, which is to ensure retirees are reimbursed for the tens of millions of dollars in compensation payments that have been improperly charged in the past.\”

Steve Coena partner of Pollock Cohen, who initiated the case, said: \”This confirms what we\’ve always said: promises made should be kept.\”

New York City Public Service Organization retirees are jointly represented by Jacob Gardener by Walden Macht & Haran and Steve Cohen, Sarah Mark, Massimo Rodriguez by Pollock Cohen LLP.

SOURCE Walden Macht and Haran



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