B.K. v. McKay

B.K. v. McKay, now B.K. v. Snyder, is a class action suit brought by Children’s Rights and the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest on behalf of children in the custody of Arizona’s foster-care system, claiming that the state’s mismanagement of foster care services exposed plaintiffs to a substantial risk of harm. The class was certified on September 30, 2017, and Defendants appealed class certification. Juvenile Law Center, joined by twenty other advocacy organizations, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit opposing Defendants’ effort to reverse the order certifying the class of children in B.K. and overturn the Ninth Circuit’s prior decision in Parsons v. Ryan.

Our brief argues that overruling Parsons and decertifying the class in B.K. would have a serious, adverse effect on class action impact litigation, and that it would have an especially negative impact on access to the courts and appropriate relief for system-involved children who are subjected to constitutional wrongs. We argue that the Supreme Court’s decision in Wal-Mart v. Dukes does not foreclose class certification when class members are exposed to the same harmful conduct or policy. Our brief highlights the barriers faced by youth who are system involved to achieving a remedy in individual actions, emphasizing that Defendants’ interpretation of Wal-Mart v. Dukes would leave children in state custody, as well as other vulnerable populations, without any meaningful remedy for constitutional wrongs.

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s class certification order as to the General Class and the Non-Kinship Subclass, but vacated the Medicaid Subclass.