March 3, 2011
Retired Administrative Law Judge Stuart Foss visited the College of Law on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 to preside over a moot hearing to assist two HeLP Clinic students. Sarah Adams, a third-year law student, and Paetria Hampton, a second-year law student, are preparing a case they will present to a Social Security Administration Administrative Law Judge in March.
HeLP Clinic students, as well as Morehouse medical student Paul Mello, observed the proceedings. The case involves an appeal of a denial of SSI benefits for a child who has suffered multiple illnesses for the last five years, including a seizure disorder, asthma, and persistent failure to thrive. A favorable decision could result in an award of future benefits as well as benefits going back to the original date of filing, and would also qualify the child for Medicaid.
Judge Foss, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, was invited by Randall Hughes, Faculty Fellow, who was a classmate of Foss in law school. "Having Judge Foss preside over the role play of the hearing was the best possible way to simulate the actual hearing experience, and for students to practice the presentation of their case," said Professor Lisa Bliss, who supervises the students.
"Judge Foss took the time to educate the students on how he as a judge viewed the evidence presented and the laws he must follow in rendering a decision of the case. He also offered useful suggestions for presenting their evidence," said Bliss.
Sarah Adams observed, "Hearing Judge Foss’ analysis of our evidence has enabled us to refine our presentation. More importantly, I feel ready to present this case on behalf of our client."
The case the students presented has been pending since 2006 and was successfully appealed by the HeLP Clinic to the Social Security Appeals Council and remanded for rehearing and examination of further evidence. Judge Foss has agreed to return to the College of Law in March to preside over another moot administrative hearing for the HeLP Clinic.