Michelle Reed Quoted on Equine Therapy Case Against Defense Dept.

The Dallas Morning News, for its article “Keller family sues government for coverage of girl’s horse therapy,” quoted Akin Gump litigation partner Michelle Reed on a family’s suit against the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the potential impact of the decision.

According to the article, Mark and Jennifer Samuels are seeking to require DOD’s health care provider, Tricare, to cover their daughter’s equine therapy. The Samuelses say that the physical therapy provides lifesaving benefits for their 17-year-old daughter, Kaitlyn, who was born with severe mental and physical disabilities. As a retired Navy captain, Mr. Samuels’ family is eligible for military medical benefits, but Tricare has denied their coverage because it claims equine therapy is not a proven treatment.

Reed, who represents the Samuels family pro bono, said, “We’re hopeful that the decision will have some precedential value for people who are also needing coverage for their children or themselves, who may be suffering and this is their only way of receiving physical therapy.” She added, “If it needs to go to trial, we’ll try it. We’re not afraid to take it all the way so we can help this girl and her family.”