Hundreds of disabled Vietnamese refugees claim in a federal class action that the Social Security Commissioner wrongfully suspended the only fluent Vietnamese-speaking attorney in San Diego, to retaliate for a previous class action that claimed a Social Security judge was biased.
Lead plaintiff Truyen Gia Phan sued Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin in a federal class action, on behalf of a class of more than 1,000.
Truyen, his 25 named co-plaintiffs and the class all are "poor, disabled and non-English speaking Vietnamese former prisoner[s] of war and refugees in the United States" who have applied or will apply for Social Security benefits. All of them have been or will be represented by attorney Alexandra Nga Tran Manbeck.
Manbeck has been "providing indispensable representation to the Vietnamese plaintiffs who would otherwise be shut out of court by virtue of her fluency in the Vietnamese language and her ability to advise the plaintiffs in Vietnamese, since plaintiffs did not speak English and had no understanding of administrative and judicial proceedings," Truyen says in the complaint.
On March 12 this year, the Social Security Administration suspended Manbeck from the practice of Social Security law, the complaint states.
The class claims Manbeck was suspended to retaliate for her filing of a class action on behalf of Nazdar Alzayadi and Nora Donate in 2011, alleging bias from Administrative Law Judge Eve Godfrey. That case was dismissed, according to the new complaint. ...
The class claims the Social Security Administration suspended Manbeck for two classes of alleged violations: "filing of Request for Reconsideration and Request for Review in paper forms instead of being filed in electronic forms, and (2) the plaintiff's signing of boilerplate forms allowing the plaintiffs to ask the Commissioner to send payment checks to the plaintiffs' representative to pay outstanding costs."