Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JEFFRIES v. SWANK

December 30, 1971

VIRGINIA JEFFRIES ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
HAROLD O. SWANK ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Austin, District Judge.

  MEMORANDUM OPINION

This is an action brought under the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on behalf of a class seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Jurisdiction is conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 1343(3) and (4) and 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and 2202. The class consists of recipients and applicants for public assistance under the Social Security Act who have not or will not receive final decisions on administrative hearings by the Illinois Department of Public Aid within 60 days of the date of their request for a hearing. On April 9, this court granted plaintiffs leave to proceed as a class pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court is presented here with three motions; 1. Defendants' Motion to Strike and Dismiss, 2. Defendants' Motion to Stay, and 3. Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment on Count I. The court will also consider the propriety of a three-judge court under 28 U.S.C. § 2281 in this case.

Under the public assistance program of the Illinois Department of Public Aid, financial aid is distributed by the Department to needy persons who are eligible for assistance under one of the categorical assistance programs authorized by the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq (hereinafter aid under the public assistance programs authorized by the Social Security Act: Aid to the Aged, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq., Aid to Families with Dependent Children, 42 U.S.C. § 601 et seq., Aid to the Blind, 42 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq., and Aid to the Disabled, 42 U.S.C. § 1351 et seq., will be termed "categorical assistance"). The categorical assistance programs are administered by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (hereinafter referred to as HEW) and jointly financed by the Federal and State governments. Those persons who meet the statutory criteria for assistance receive financial aid as a matter of statutory entitlement.

As a condition for receiving financial assistance from the Federal government for the categorical assistance programs, the appropriate state agency is required to comply with the provisions of the Social Security Act governing the categorical assistance programs, 42 U.S.C. § 301 et seq., 601 et seq., 1201 et seq. and 1351 et seq., and the regulations issued thereunder. The Federal statutes establishing and regulating all categorical assistance programs require that the state agency:

  ". . . provide for granting an opportunity for a
  fair hearing before the State agency to any
  individual whose claim for aid [or assistance] . . .
  is denied or is not acted upon with reasonable
  promptness." 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 302(a)(4), 602(a)(4)
  and 1352(a)(4).

In the exercise of its duties under the Social Security Act, HEW has issued a regulation pursuant to the above statutory provisions, 42 U.S.C. § 302(a)(4), 602(a)(4), 1202(a)(4) and 1352(a)(4), requiring that:

  "(a) State plan requirements. A State plan . . . must
       provide for a system of fair hearings under
       which: . . . (11) Prompt, definitive and final
       administrative action will be taken within 60
       days from the date of the request for a fair
       hearing, except where the claimant requests a
       delay in the hearing." 45 C.F.R. § 205.10(a) (11),
       36 F.R. 3034-35, February 13, 1971.
  "A decision on appeal shall be given to the
  interested parties within 60 days from the date of
  the filing of the appeal, unless additional time is
  required for a proper disposition of the appeal." 23
  Ill.Rev.Stat. § 11-8.6 (1969 ed.) (emphasis added).

The Illinois regulation implementing the Illinois statute states:

  "Final administrative action will be taken by the
  Department within 60 days of the request for a fair
  hearing, except in instances where the appellant
  requests a delay in the hearing in order to prepare
  his case or the hearing is postponed or continued or
  for other reasons adjudged valid by the Hearing
  Officer." Illinois Department of Public Aid
  Categorical Assistance Manual, Section 6001.3.

The second amended complaint consists of three Counts. In Count I, the plaintiff class alleges that the state statute, and state administrative regulation, quoted above, and the practice of the Illinois Department of Public Aid are in violation of the sections of the Social Security Act and the implementing federal regulation quoted above and the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. Count II alleges that the practice of failing to render final judgments on categorical assistance appeals within a reasonable time from the date of request for a hearing violates the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Count III alleges that there is a practice of scheduling hearing dates and issuing final decisions without rational standards which violates the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief.

Defendants' Motion to Strike and Dismiss

Defendants' argument that the plaintiff class fails to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is without merit. All well pleaded allegations of the complaint must be taken by the court as true in a motion to dismiss. Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corp., 382 U.S. 172, 86 S.Ct. 347, 15 L.Ed.2d 247 (1965). There can be no doubt that the Illinois Department of Public Aid acts under color of state law. In Count I, plaintiffs allege that their rights under the Supremacy Clause are being violated. The Social Security Act requires a hearing, and the federal regulation implementing the statute requires a hearing within 60 days. These requirements are binding on a state receiving federal funds ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.