Judges Accused of Bias

Reported today by Reuters: A federal judge in Brooklyn on Friday gave preliminary approval to a proposed settlement in a lawsuit that alleges five administrative law judges displayed hostility and bias toward disability benefit claimants.

U.S. District Judge Carol Amon also conditionally certified a class of potentially thousands of individuals whose Social Security disability insurance claims were fully or partially rejected by one of the five administrative law judges named in the 2011 lawsuit.

A fairness hearing on the settlement has been set in Brooklyn federal court for July 24.

The complaint was brought in 2001 against Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue by eight disabled individuals whose disability benefit claims were rejected by one of the five ALJs – David Nisnewitz, Marilyn Hoppenfeld, Seymour Fier, Michael Cofresi and Hazel Strauss. They were all in the Queens Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, which is part of the Social Security Administration.

The complaint said that the ALJs created a “brick wall of bias” and accused them of systematically ignoring medical evidence, failing to adhere to legal standards and depriving claimants of fair hearings. See full story: