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Date: 09-02-2022

Case Style:

Amanda Masters v. Ohio Department of Medicaid, et al.

Case Number: 2022-Ohio-3075

Judge: Welbaum

Court: Court of Appeals for Ohio, Second District (Franklin County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

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Defendant's Attorney: Dennis V. Yacobozzi, II

Description: Columbus, Ohio civil rights violation lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendants on a right to medicaid theory.

{¶ 1} The appellants in this case are Amanda and Bud Masters, individually and as mother and father and next friends of F.M., a minor (collectively the "Masters"). The appellees are the Ohio Department of Medicaid ("Department"), Maureen Corcoran, Director of the Department, and the Ohio Attorney General (collectively, "Appellees"). The Masters are appealing from the dismissal of their declaratory judgment acton against Appellees. The trial court dismissed the case because R.C. 5160.37 provides an administrative process for resolving the matter in question here, which involves the extent to which the Department should be reimbursed for payments it made on F.M.'s behalf under the Medicaid Program.

{¶ 2} According to the Masters, the trial court had exclusive original jurisdiction over their declaratory judgment action pursuant to R.C. 2101.24 and R.C. 2721.03. They further contend that the court erred in deciding that R.C. 5160.37 divested it of jurisdiction. They claim that another statute, R.C. 2323.44, controls over R.C. 5160.37 and allows them to bring a declaratory judgment action.

{¶ 3} The Masters also argue that R.C. 5160.37, as applied here, violates 42 U.S.C. 1396p(a)(1), which is the Federal Medicaid Anti-Lien Provision. Finally, the Masters contend that applying R.C. 5160.37 would cause a fine and forfeiture in violation Article 1, Section 21 of the Ohio Constitution, based their selection of Medicaid as their health care system.

{¶ 4} We conclude that the trial court correctly dismissed this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. R.C. 5160.37 provides an exclusive administrative remedy


for resolving disputes over amounts medical assistance recipients must pay the Department after obtaining a tort recovery from liable third parties. Under this statute, the Masters were required to ask for an administrative hearing to dispute the rebuttable presumption in R.C. 5160.37(G)(2) as to the amount the Department would receive. R.C. 5160.37(N) also allows the Masters to appeal to the common pleas court from the administrative decision, and they can raise their "as applied" constitutional challenges during that appeal.

{¶ 5} R.C. 2323.44(B) does allow declaratory actions to be brought to resolve disputes over the distribution of recoveries in tort actions, "[n]othwithstanding any contract or statutory provision to the contrary." This statute applies to certain "subrogees" who are defined under R.C. 2323.44(A)(5). However, R.C. 2323.44 does not apply to the Department, which has a right of recovery granted by R.C. 5160.37(A), rather than a traditional subrogation interest, and is not, in any event, a "subrogee" as defined by R.C. 2323.44(A)(5).

{¶ 6} Accordingly, the Masters' assignments of error will be overruled, and the judgment of the trial court will be affirmed.

Outcome: Affirmed

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