CINCINNATI, Ohio (LEX 18) — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit has ruled against the Social Security Administration for its hearings that stripped benefits from former clients of disgraced ex-attorney Eric C. Conn.
Conn spent six months on the run after pleading guilty to bribing judges and doctors in a $500 million Social Security fraud scheme, involving Administrative Law Judge David Daughtry and Dr. Bradley Adkins.
After the law caught up with Conn, the SSA decided to subject hundreds of Conn’s former clients to a redetermination process.
Each of the ex-clients involved in the opinions had previously been denied benefits but were awarded them after hiring Conn and reapplying. As part of the redetermination hearings, the administrators tossed out medical records previously used, calling them fraudulent.
As part of its decision Wednesday, written by Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore, the 6th Circuit found that not allowing the clients to challenge that determination about the medical records violated the clients’ Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process.’
“Plaintiffs had no opportunity to rebut the agency’s assertion of fraud as to this medical evidence,” the court ruling reads. “Ultimately, all plaintiffs were deemed ineligible for SSDI and SSI benefits as of the date of their original applications, and their benefits were terminated.”
In the wake of the Conn scandal, two former clients committed suicide.
Attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who spearheaded the movement to represent Conn’s former clients in the hearings is expected to hold a press conference on the event on Friday.