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Case Name Clayworth v. Bonta PB-CA-0012
Docket / Court 2:03-cv-02110 ( E.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 03-CV-2336  [ 03-2336 ]
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Olmstead Cases
Case Summary
Clayworth Healthcare Pharmacy (a Medicaid service provider) and two Medicaid recipients filed a civil suit challenging California's then-pending 5% reduction in the reimbursement rate paid to Medicaid providers. The suit was filed on March 19, 2003 in the United States District Court for the ... read more >
Clayworth Healthcare Pharmacy (a Medicaid service provider) and two Medicaid recipients filed a civil suit challenging California's then-pending 5% reduction in the reimbursement rate paid to Medicaid providers. The suit was filed on March 19, 2003 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, against Diana M. Bonta, the Director of the Department of Health Services of the State of California (DHS), in her official capacity, and against the DHS.

On November 07, 2003, another suit raising substantially similar issues was filed by the California Medical Association and thirteen other groups representing Medicaid providers, together with the Disabled Rights Union, a non-profit association of disabled persons. The suit was brought against Ms. Bonta in her official capacity. The Court determined on November 19, 2003, that the two cases were sufficiently related that they should be heard before the same judge and magistrate, but declined to officially consolidate them as a single case with a shared docket. All the substantive orders and opinions subsequently issued by the Court decided issues relating to both cases. Both are included here.

The Plaintiffs alleged that the 5% reduction in the reimbursement rate violated the quality of care and equal access provisions of the Medicaid statute. They also argued that the reduction was a de facto amendment to California's federally approved Medicaid plan, and that all such amendments required Federal approval. They sought a preliminary injunction preventing the DHS from implementing the reduction while the issue was in court, and a permanent injunction to enjoin California from reducing the rates paid to providers for services and to require the State to rely on cost studies to ensure rates were reasonably related to the cost to the providers of providing services to Medicaid recipients. They also sought a declaration from the Court that the 5% reduction was unlawful, and to recover reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.

The Court (Judge David F. Levi) granted the motions of the Plaintiffs in both cases for preliminary injunctions in an Order and Opinion dated December 23, 2003. He held that a cause of action existed under 42 U.S.C § 1983 allowing private plaintiffs to sue states for denying Medicaid beneficiaries their federally guaranteed right to equal access to quality medical services. He held that California had approved the reduction in provider costs without considering the impact the reduction would have on such access, and that therefore the pending rate reduction was arbitrary and unlawful. In the same decision, he dismissed the claims against the DHS itself, but not those against Ms. Bonta, as barred under the Eleventh Amendment. Clayworth v. Bonta, 295 F.Supp.2d 1110 (C.D. Cal. 2003).

On January 8, 2004, the remaining Defendant filed an interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. On August 2, 2005, the three-judge panel unanimously reversed the decision of the of the lower court, holding that no cause of action existed under § 1983 that would allow Medicaid providers or recipients to challenge the State's level of compliance with the equal access and quality of care provisions of Medicaid, citing the decision in Sanchez v. Johnson (416 F.3d 1051), which was issued by the same three-judge panel on the same day as this opinion (see related cases). Clayworth v. Bonta, 140 Fed.Appx. 677 (9th Cir. 2005).

In light of the decision from the Appellate Court, the District Court dismissed both cases, Cal. Med. Assoc. on November 1, 2006, and Clayworth on December 1, 2006.

Alex Colbert-Taylor - 07/02/2013

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Benefit Source
Constitutional Clause
Supremacy Clause
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Hospital/Health Department
disability, unspecified
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Medical/Mental Health
Medical care, general
Medical care, unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Medicaid, 42 U.S.C §1396 (Title XIX of the Social Security Act)
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Health Services
Plaintiff Description Medical professionals that provided care to Medicaid recipients, and two such recipients.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief None
Filed 2003
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-CA-0011 : Sanchez v. Johnson (N.D. Cal.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
03-cv-02336 (E.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0012-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/01/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:03−cv−02110 (E.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0012-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/01/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Related Case Order [ECF# 6] (E.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0012-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/18/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief (2003 WL 24891765)
PB-CA-0012-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/19/2003
Source: Westlaw
Memorandum of Opinion and Order [Issuing Injunction] [ECF# 46] (295 F.Supp.2d 1110) (E.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0012-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/23/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Opinion and [Denying Motion for Reconsideration] [ECF# 70] (E.D. Cal.)
PB-CA-0012-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/10/2004
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Memorandum Reversing District's Court Ruling] (140 Fed.Appx. 677)
PB-CA-0012-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/02/2005
Source: Westlaw
Stipulation for Dismissal [ECF# 114]
PB-CA-0012-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/30/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Bea, Carlos T. (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Brennan, Edmund F. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Cowen, Robert E. (D.N.J., Third Circuit) show/hide docs
Levi, David F. (E.D. Cal.) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0012-0002 | PB-CA-0012-0003 | PB-CA-0012-0006 | PB-CA-0012-9000
O'Scannlain, Diarmuid Fionntain (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cannizzo, Craig J. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0012-0001 | PB-CA-0012-9001
Carman, Lynn S. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0012-0005 | PB-CA-0012-9000
Grigg, Lisa A (California) show/hide docs
Gross, Byron J. (California) show/hide docs
Defendant's Lawyers Tamura, Irene K. (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0012-9000 | PB-CA-0012-9001
Weng-Gutierrez, Julie (California) show/hide docs
PB-CA-0012-0005 | PB-CA-0012-9000 | PB-CA-0012-9001

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