Amicus Brief for Autism Speaks Helps Persuade 11th Circuit to Rule Medicaid Must Cover Treatment

Kaye Scholer wrote amicus brief for pro bono client and won court permission to file

September 23, 2013

Kaye Scholer received a positive result in the 11th Circuit when it filed an amicus brief on behalf of pro bono client Autism Speaks, the world’s leading non-profit advocate for autistic children and their parents, and other autism and children's rights organizations. Legal Services of Greater Miami (LSGMI) filed suit after the Florida Medicaid Agency refused to provide coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), the one evidence-based proven and effective treatment for autism, for the three plaintiffs, all children with autism disorders.

Contending that the effectiveness of ABA was not at issue on the appeal, the state of Florida opposed Kaye Scholer’s filing of the amicus brief, forcing the firm to file an application to the 11th Circuit for leave to do so. The court granted permission, though it frequently declines such requests.

“The 11th Circuit ruling essentially requires the state Medicaid agency to provide the one effective treatment for autism disorders to all Medicaid-eligible children in Florida who might benefit from it—something that most states mandate private insurers must cover, but which most state Medicaid agencies have declined to do in the past.  The tireless efforts of Legal Services of Greater Miami and Florida Legal Services have justly leveled the playing field for autistic children, regardless of their financial situation,” said Kaye Scholer New York Litigation Partner Gregory J. Wallance, who drafted the amici brief.

Kaye Scholer Associates Candace A. Andalia, Darya Pollak Laufer, Susan Rhee, Hillary Warren, and West Palm Beach Counsel Manuel Kushner, who served as local counsel, also advised Autism Speaks on this matter.

Kaye Scholer is a charter member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, which requires that at least three percent of our overall legal practice must consist of pro bono work. We meet or exceed this challenge each year by providing quality legal assistance to a diverse range of clients in need.

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