Wednesday, December 8, 2021

No. 448: A Class Action Lawsuit Against Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State and Others

In 2019, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State signed into law a state program designed to address the problem of financing the long-term care exposure faced by residents of the state. The statute created a "long term service and support trust fund" referred to as "WA Care," and at the beginning of next year workers will be required to start contributing to the fund. WA Care is the nation's first state-operated long-term care insurance program.

On November 9, 2021, three entities and six individuals filed in federal court in Seattle a class action lawsuit against Governor Inslee and three others. (See Pacific Bells, LLC et al. v. Jay Inslee et al., U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, Case No. 2:21-cv-1515.) Here is the first paragraph of the introduction in the 21-page complaint:
Beginning January 1, 2022, Washington State workers will pay $0.58 per $100 (.58%) of earnings to the Long-Term Service and Support Trust Fund (the "Trust") pursuant to the Long Term Services and Support Trust Program, referred to as "WA Care" or the "Act" and codified as RCW 50B.04, et seq. This action challenges the Act and requests a declaratory judgment that the Act is unenforceable as it violates ERISA and federal and state laws governing employee benefit plans and multiple employer welfare arrangements ("MEWAs").
The Judge
The case has been assigned to Senior Judge Thomas S. Zilly. President Reagan nominated him in February 1988 and the Senate confirmed him in April 1988. He assumed senior status in January 2004.

General Observations
This interesting case is in its early stages. I plan to provide an update in due course.