Settlement Reached in Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Bias Class Action Lawsuit
The settlement in the case of Padro v. Astrue, a class action lawsuit in which 5 administrative law judges (ALJs) in a Queens, New York hearing office were accused of generalized bias, has been granted final approval.
The terms of the settlement provide new hearings for about 4000 claimants who received unfavorable or partially favorable decisions from the 5 ALJs named in the lawsuit. The settlement also stipulates a 30-month monitoring period during which all unfavorable and partially favorable decisions by the 5 named ALJs will be reviewed by a special unit in the Appeals Council. Claimants whose claims are denied and remanded during this 30-month period will receive readjudications by ALJs other than those named in the lawsuit.
Finally, the settlement provides for additional ALJ training and new administrative decisions and documentation specifying the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) official policy and protocols for addressing bias.