FLOYD COUNTY, KY (Lex 18) – Hundreds of Eric Conn’s former clients are one step closer to having their disability benefits restored after nearly four years of uncertainty and ongoing legal battles.
On Sunday, attorneys filed a pleading in Federal Court seeking class action relief for the more than 800 former clients who lost their Social Security benefits as a result of the largest fraud case in the history of the agency.
The move comes after the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the agency’s request for a rehearing of a November decision.
That decision found the Social Security Administration’s actions were unconstitutional when it tossed all medical records from four doctors associated with Conn’s scheme. As a result, hundreds of former clients lost their benefits.
“We’re hoping that, as of Friday, the Social Security Administration will acknowledge these hearings were unconstitutional and restore the benefits of 800 to 900 people up here,” said Ned Pillersdorf, an attorney who has represented former clients of Conn’s.
In 2018, Eric 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.
According to Pillersdorf, the long period of uncertainty since the very beginning of the case has taken a toll on a number of Conn’s former clients.
“We’ve had suicides, attempted suicides, people are homeless,” said Pillersdorf. “It’s been a real humanitarian crisis for really the least among us in one of the most impoverished areas of our nation.”
Pillersdorf said the Friday ruling came as good news, but the fight to restore benefits is far from over. The Social Security Administration could appeal the decision.
“Their only chance now to undo the rulings would be to go to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Pillersdorf said. “The chances of that happening is a true hail mary.”
On Tuesday, Pillersdorf will hold a meeting to update Conn’s former clients on the case. It will be at 4 PM inside the Old Floyd County Courthouse.
“We want to let people know there’s real hope and I think there’s a real opportunity for these people to get their benefits back sooner rather than later,” Pillersdorf said.