SSA has recently begun issuing the first set of what are estimated to be 2,000 new redetermination notices in cases involving master fraudster Eric C. Conn, the Kentucky Attorney recently convicted of bribing an administrative law judge in the Huntington ODAR from 2007-2010. It appears that the scope of the redeterminations may be expanding to every case Conn presented to all ALJs during that period. Thanks in great part to the pro bono services of NOSSCR attorneys, around half of those originally redetermined, were able to retain benefits despite daunting obstacles SSA has placed in the way of these poor souls caught up in the Conn mess. This round table discussion will review for new volunteers how Kentucky legal aid organizations can partner with volunteers; how the 3-way video hearing process operates that allows attorneys to appear in these cases at their local OHO; how you can participate in the mentor program that pairs NOSSCR attorneys with Kentucky volunteers; and the status of federal court appeals challenging SSA’s redetermination process. Please consider participating in NOSSCR’s pro bono effort.
Ann Atkinson, Attorney, Atkinson Legal
Ann Atkinson - is a solo practitioner in Parker, Colorado. She has represented claimants in Social Security disability claims since 1986. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech from Northwestern University, and earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Denver College of Law. She is the past representative from the Tenth Circuit to the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the NOSSCR-PAC. She was selected as a Top Lawyer by 5280 Magazine for 2015, 2016, and 2017. Her current volunteer work includes representing claimants’ pro bono in the “Conn” redetermination hearings in Eastern Kentucky, and raising a puppy for Paw Pals Assistance Dogs.
John Goss, Attorney, Goss and Fentress
John Goss – has been practicing law since 1977 and started his practice Goss & Fentress in 1982. His area of specialty is Social Security Disability Law and has successfully represented thousands of disability claimants throughout his career. Mr. Goss responded to NOSSCR’s 2015 call for attorneys to represent disability claimants being subject to redetermination in Eastern KY and WV. To date he has represented over 50 of these claimants and has been active in training volunteer attorneys in KY. He is one of six recipients of the 2016 ABA Pro Bono Award. Mr. Goss earned his J.D. from Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William & Mary.
Robert Johns, Executive Director/Attorney, AppalReD Legal Aid
Robert Johns - has been the executive director of the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund of Kentucky, Inc. (AppalReD Legal Aid) since January 2015. Prior to that, he worked as a staff attorney and managing attorney with Southeastern Ohio Legal Services in Steubenville, Ohio for 20 years. He started his legal career as an AmeriCorps attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Findlay, Ohio. He is a graduate of the George Washington University Law School and the University of Notre Dame.
Evan Smith, Attorney, Appalachian Law Center
Evan Smith - is with the Appalachian Law Center. Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. He is formerly a law clerk for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and is co-counsel with Arpit Garg (WilmerHale) on the case pending at the Sixth Circuit being argued the first week of March. Evan has a number of individual cases in the district court as well, and was lead counsel at the district court level in the Hicks class action that is the lead case in the Sixth Circuit.