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NEVILLS v. STATE OF ILLINOIS

October 31, 1974

OCIE NEVILLS AND CHARLES TYLER, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

  ORDER

Plaintiffs have filed this action seeking to enjoin enforcement of certain sections of the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Act.

In Count I, plaintiffs claim that the one (1) week waiting period prescribed by S.H.A. Ch. 48, § 420(D) is in violation of Sec. 303(a)(1) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 503(a)(1).

In Count II, plaintiffs claim that they have a right to unemployment compensation benefits and that S.H.A., Ch. 48, § 420(D), in its complete and total disqualification for benefits for one week, deprives them of property without Due Process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In Count III, plaintiffs claim that the processing of intra-state claims for unemployment compensation is arbitrary, unreasonable, and unduly time-consuming. As a result, plaintiffs' right to receive unemployment compensation when due, as provided in 42 U.S.C. § 503(a)(1), is being violated.

In Count IV, plaintiffs again allege long delays in receiving benefits and contend that such delays are in violation of § 706 of the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Act. Plaintiffs ask that the Court invoke its pendent jurisdiction to decide Count IV.

In Count V plaintiffs allege the same delays and claim that such delays constitute a deprivation of property without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Plaintiffs also request that a three-judge court be convened, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2281. They concede, however, that only the second count's allegation that S.H.A., Ch. 48, § 420(D) is violative of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution could compel the convening of the three-judge court. They do seek to have all the issues decided by a three-judge court contending that if it is found appropriate to convene a three-judge court, then all of the questions could be considered by the court, and a decision made on any or all of the issues.

Before a three-judge court may be convened, the constitutional questions raised must be substantial. California Water Service Co. v. City of Redding, 304 U.S. 252, 58 S.Ct. 865, 82 L.Ed. 1323 (1938); German v. South Carolina State Ports Authority, 295 F.2d 491 (4th Cir. 1961). If the constitutional claim is wholly insubstantial, the district judge need not convene a three-judge court. Bailey v. Patterson, 369 U.S. 31, 82 S.Ct. 549, 7 L.Ed.2d 512 (1962); Powell v. Workmen's Compensation Board of New York, 327 F.2d 131 (2d Cir. 1964). For the reasons noted more fully herein, the Court determines that the claims of this second count are not sufficiently substantial to warrant the convening of a three-judge court and, accordingly, plaintiffs' motion to convene a three-judge court is hereby denied.

The Court next considers the defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. In considering a Motion to Dismiss, the allegations of the Complaint must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, and all facts well pleaded must be admitted and accepted as true. California Motor Transport v. Trucking, Unlimited, 404 U.S. 508, 92 S.Ct. 609, 30 L.Ed.2d 642 (1972); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); Sinclair v. Atkinson, 290 F.2d 312 (7th Cir. 1961). Accordingly, the facts as alleged in the complaint follow.

Plaintiff Nevills was last employed by the Kas Potato Chip Company of Centralia, Illinois. On or about December 17, 1973 he went into the district unemployment compensation office in East St. Louis, Illinois to register for work and apply for unemployment benefits from the Illinois Division of Unemployment Compensation. Pursuant to S.H.A., Ch. 48, § 420(D), Plaintiff Nevills had to serve a one (1) week waiting period for the week ending December 21, 1973, which is a week for which Plaintiff Nevills will never receive unemployment compensation. At the time of his application, Plaintiff Nevills was not subject to any disqualification period under the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Act and he was so informed by the district office. On February 8, 1974, Plaintiff Nevills finally received his first unemployment check. This check arrived over seven (7) weeks after the date on which his claim for benefits was filed. At no time during this period were there any questions as to his eligibility to receive benefits.

Plaintiff Tyler was last employed by General Motors Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri. On or about February 4, 1974 he went into his district unemployment compensation office in Belleville, Illinois to register for work and apply for unemployment benefits from the Illinois Division of Unemployment Compensation. Pursuant to S.H.A., Ch. 48, § 420(D), Plaintiff Tyler had to serve a one (1) week waiting period for the week ending February 8, 1974, which is a week for which he will never receive unemployment compensation. On February 11, 1974 Plaintiff Tyler received a written notice from the Illinois Bureau of Employment Security stating that he had been found ineligible for benefit payments. Upon receiving this notice he immediately contacted his local office and was told by an employee of Defendants that a clerical error had been made and would be corrected. He was again told that there was no question as to his eligibility. Over three months after the filing of his claim, Plaintiff Tyler had not received any benefit checks.

Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss the instant Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

The Illinois unemployment compensation program, like those in the other 50 states, is a joint federal-state co-operative effort financed in part by grants from the federal government pursuant to the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 501 et seq. Funds are raised by a tax imposed upon employers under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, 26 U.S.C. § 3301 et seq., and that Act provides that a credit of up to 90% can be given to an employer who pays taxes under state laws. The Secretary of Labor must find that the state program conforms to various federal requirements before any federal grants are made to the state ...


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