The Padro Class Action brought bias charges against five Administrative Law Judges (the “Queens Five”). I think that there is a fairly strong consensus that Hazel Strauss is easily the worst of the Queens Five. During the Padro litigation, one of the things that Social Security pointed to as evidence that the Queens Five had learned their lesson was that the percentage of cases that the Queens Five were approving had increased – that is, except for Strauss.
Judge Amon has held a fairness hearing in connection with the proposed settlement in Padro, and is deciding whether to approve it. The settlement essentially provides for a 36 month probationary period for the Queens Five. I have maintained that after the 36 month period, I expect the Queens Five approval rates to revert to pre-Padro levels.
Before the Padro settlement terms were proposed, the Queens Five at least had the commonsense to recognize that they had to change their conduct during the pendency of the Padro litigation. That is, all the ALJs comprising the Queens Five except for Strauss. Strauss’ approval rate has not changed, and is half that of the rest of the Queens hearing office.
That leads to today’s question, “Is Strauss serious?” Strauss wrote a letter to Judge Amon claiming that it was wrong for Plaintiff’s counsel to tell claimants, “that the ALJs had acted wrongfully, which was the reason for the Settlement Agreement.” I guess Strauss’ employer, the Social Security Administration, is requiring that thousands of disability claims be reheard for absolutely no reason at all. Obviously, the Padro allegations were not baseless. Has she actually deluded herself into believing that she is innocent of the charges? Read pages 58 through 66 of the Amended Complaint, which can be accessed on the “Padro Class Action” Tab of my webpage. Those pages summarize some of the highlights about what federal district court judges – not claimants’ attorneys – have said about Strauss.
Despite the aforementioned, Strauss has the incredible hypocrisy, the audacity, the temerity, the gall, the impudence to write a letter to Judge Amon howling that she has been vilified and the Settlement Agreement should contain “specific unequivocal language that this Settlement in no way makes any finding that there has been any wrongdoing” on her part. Strauss closed her letter with a plea for “fair and equitable treatment,” the one thing that she has so callously and repeatedly denied disability claimants.
Strauss claimed that the other ALJs share her views and make the same request. Funny thing though, none of the other ALJs signed the letter that she submitted to Judge Amon.