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Press Release

Parties Announce Proposed Settlement to Dismiss Pioneer Homes Lawsuit

May 6, 2020

(Anchorage, AK) – Today, Attorney General Kevin G. Clarkson announced that the Department of Law and attorneys for the class action plaintiffs have reached a settlement in the case challenging the 2019 increase in Pioneer Homes and Veterans’ Home rates. With the recent enactment of a new law by the legislature and Governor Dunleavy setting Pioneer Home rates at a lower level, all parties agree to dismiss this lawsuit.

On April 29, 2020 Governor Dunleavy signed House Bill 96 into law, which sets Pioneer Home rates by statute effective on July 1, 2020. It also limits future increases in Pioneer Home rates. This new law largely resolves the claims made in the class action case of Rider v. Dunleavy, and the parties propose to resolve that case by dismissal. Each side will bear its own costs and attorneys’ fees, and the case will be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning that it cannot be refiled.

Attorney General Clarkson states, “The plaintiffs and the State have asked the court to approve this resolution calling for dismissal of the lawsuit. The parties agree that there is no benefit to continuing expensive and time-consuming litigation over rates that will no longer be in effect after July 1 of this year.” Clinton Lasley, Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Health & Social Services adds, “We are looking forward to resolving this case amicably, and continuing to provide Alaskan elders quality care at each of our six Alaskan Pioneer Homes.”

Plaintiffs’ co-counsel, Vance A. Sanders, states, “The new statutory rates will provide Alaskans with the predictability they and their families need in planning for care at Pioneers’ Homes or Veterans’ Home. That is the outcome we sought in this lawsuit, and are very pleased Alaskans will get that predictability, and fair treatment, through HB 96.”

Any person who was a resident of an Alaska Pioneer Home or the Alaska Veterans’ Home prior to August 30, 2019, and was affected by the monthly rate increase, will be bound by this resolution of the case and has the opportunity to object. Objections must be in writing and delivered to Law Office of Vance A. Sanders LLC, 636 Harris Street, Juneau, AK 99801 by June 6, 2020. The Court will consider objections when deciding whether to approve the proposed settlement agreement.

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Department Media Contact: Assistant Attorney General Maria Bahr at (907) 269-5285 or maria.bahr@alaska.gov.