AHF filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County and several County health officials Thursday, July 30th in Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles alleging retaliation and disparate treatment related to contracts awarded to AHF to provide medical care and services to HIV-infected individuals in the County.
In the course of legal discovery related to outstanding legal actions pending between AHF and Los Angeles County, AHF discovered an ongoing pattern and practice of what appears to be markedly disparate treatment of AHF by County officials with regard to fiscal compliance audits and reporting standards; over the past three years, AHF has been held to vastly different—and more stringent—standards than other similar medical providers.
LOS ANGELES (July 31, 2015) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California yesterday against the County of Los Angeles as well as Mario Perez, the Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs, seeking damages and declaratory and injunctive relief based on “…retaliatory conduct, and violations of constitutional rights…” against AHF over AHF’s years-long advocacy and criticism of the County, its Public Health Department and several key health and elected officials.
AHF’s lawsuit, which was filed in Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles Thursday, July 30th, [case # TBD] alleges that, “…The County’s retaliatory conduct against Plaintiffs (AHF) took (and still takes) the form of: (1) disproportionately burdensome program and fiscal compliance reviews, with findings from such reviews used as pretext to reduce funding to AHF; (2) reduction or cancellation of contracting services; (3) imposing tax assessments that are not applicable to a non-profit organization such as AHF; (4) disparaging Plaintiffs at public forums; and (5) excluding AHF from being able to bid for County contracts.”
“In the course of legal discovery related to outstanding legal actions pending between AHF and Los Angeles County, AHF discovered an ongoing pattern and practice of what appears to be markedly disparate treatment of AHF by County officials with regard to fiscal compliance reviews and reporting standards on County contracts for medical care provided by AHF,” said Arti Bhimani, Assistant General Counsel for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “Over the past three years, AHF has been held to vastly different—and far more stringent—standards than other similar situated medical providers with contracts with the County and the only basis for this disparate treatment appears to be retaliatory.”
“The improper and illegal governmental activity by Los Angeles County officials laid out in this lawsuit are unconscionable, and we are grateful for the process of discovery which allowed this us to bring this wrongdoing to light,” said Michael Weinstein, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President. “Through all these punitive and retaliatory actions by the County, we have continued to focus on bringing the highest quality of care and services to the patients we serve in the County, a commitment to patients that we will continue to honor as this legal action unfolds.”