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Constitutional Law II
University of Maine School of Law
Howard, H. Cabanne

Con Law II
 
1/22/08
Class 1
 
Opening Case
–         Remember that the constitution only limits the government and NOT private parties.
 
 
American Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Sullivan
Facts
Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation Act (Act) provides that once an employer’s liability for an employee’s injury has been established, then either the self-insured employer or insurer (collectively insurers) is responsible for paying for the employee’s “reasonable” and “necessary” medical treatment. In 1993, this system was amended to allow insurers to withhold payment for disputed treatments, pending the outcome of an independent utilization review. Ten employees and two organizations representing employees that had received benefits under the Act filed suit against state officials, the self-insured school district of Philadelphia, and a number of private insurance companies. Their complaint alleged that the state and private defendants, acting under color of state law, had deprived them of property in violation of due process.
Question
1) Can the private insurers’ decision to withhold payment for disputed medical treatment be considered state action, so as to bring them within the reach of the Fourteenth Amendment? (2) Do workers have a constitutionally protected property interest in continuing payment of disputed medical treatment before such treatment is determined to be reasonable and necessary?
Conclusion
No to both. A finding of state action requires both that the deprivation be caused by actions taken under state law and that the deprivation be fairly attributable to the state. While the alleged deprivation in this case was clearly taken pursuant to state law, the decision of private insurers to withhold medical payments for disputed treatment is not fairly attributable to the state. Mere creation of a new dispute resolution mechanism by the state does not constitute state encouragement or authorization. Nor has Pennsylvania delegated to private insurers powers that were exclusively those of the state, as Pennsylvania has simply authorized insurers to do what they would do in the absence of regulation: dispute payment of unreasonable and unnecessary treatment. Further, under Pennsylvania law no due process protection attaches to payment of disputed medical expenses before the reasonableness and necessity of those expenses is determined. The Act does not entitle an employee to payment of all medical treat

st Amendment. The law did not pay money to parochial schools, nor did it support them directly in anyway. It was simply a law enacted as a “general program” to assist parents of all religions with getting their children to school.
 
 
Read Hialeah, Sherbert, Yoder, Smith
 
1/28/08
Class 3
 
Levels of Scrutiny-
Strict Scrutiny (tough)- means “narrowly tailored,” object = compelling governmental interest. Law must be narrowly tailored to forward a compelling governmental interest, and the classification is necessary to serve that interest, in the least restrictive manner. (If statute directed at a particular religion). This standard usually applies
Rational Basis Scrutiny (less tough)- means “rationally related,” object = legitimate governmental interest. Law must only be rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest.
Intermediate Scrutiny- free speech, gender discrimination.
 
THE FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION
 
1) Laws Discriminating Against Religion