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Hyzy v. Baker

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 24, 2019

MARK HYZY, Plaintiff,
TRACY BAKER, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Mark Hyzy, proceeding pro se, sues Defendant Tracy Baker, a Senior Rehabilitation Counselor at the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), alleging that she: (1) falsified a report explaining why she denied him home services; and (2) delayed producing his case file when he appealed the denial. Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's claims, [17], but fails to advise this Court as to the specific basis, under Fed R. Civ. P. 12, for her motion. See generally [17] [18] [30].

         Because Defendant argues that Plaintiff fails to “state[ ] a claim, ” and suffered no “legally-cognizable injury, ” this Court infers that Defendant's moves pursuant to both Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). See, e.g., [18] at 1, 6, 9. Further, a motion challenging subject-matter jurisdiction may be made at any time, even on a court's own motion. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3); Jakupovic v. Curran, 850 F.3d 898, 902 (7th Cir. 2017). For the reasons explained below, this Court grants Defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and declines to consider the merits of Defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) arguments.

         I. The Complaint's Allegations[1]

         A. DORS Program Generally

         The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) within DHS administers the Home Services Program (HSP). [9] ¶ 11. HSP serves as a Medicaid Waiver Program designed to “prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of individuals who may instead be satisfactorily maintained at home at a lesser cost to the State.” Id.; see also 20 ILCS 2405/3; 89 Ill. Admin. Code § 676.10. Individuals may appeal eligibility determinations. [9] ¶ 12; 89 Ill. Admin. Code § 510.20(c).

         If an individual chooses to appeal, he or she maintains the right to request and review the relevant case file prior to the hearing. [9] ¶ 16; 89 Ill. Admin. Code § 510.40(e)(1). Further, at least three business days prior to the hearing, the appealing individual and the DHS-DORS staff person who took the appealed action “must provide each other and the Impartial Hearing Officer with a list of witnesses, copies of documents not in the possession of the other party, and a summary of the evidence that they plan to present at the hearing.” [9] ¶ 17; 89 Ill. Admin. Code § 510.105(d). The appeal hearing then proceeds similar to a court trial, with opening statements, presentation of evidence and cross-examination, and closing arguments. [9] ¶ 19; 89 Ill. Admin. Code § 510.105(g).

         B. Plaintiff's DORS Application

         Plaintiff submitted a pre-application for HSP to DORS on October 22, 2014. [9] ¶ 21. On October 31, 2014, Plaintiff received a telephone call from DORS employee Latoya Warren-Barlow, requesting a copy of his driver's license as part of the application process. Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiff does not state whether he ever complied with this request. See generally [9].

         Two years later, on October 31, 2016, Plaintiff received a notice signed by Defendant denying his HSP eligibility because he could not be reached to continue the application process. Id. ¶ 24. According to Plaintiff, aside from Warren-Barlow's 2014 telephone call, he received no other telephone calls or letters from DORS regarding his application until October 31, 2016. Id. ¶ 23. On November 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed an appeal of the HSP eligibility denial with the DHS Bureau of Hearings, via e-mail. Id. ¶ 25.

         C. Plaintiff's Appeal Process

          i. Plaintiff's Case File

         On November 2, 2016, Plaintiff mailed Defendant a letter requesting a copy of his DORS HSP case file. Id. ¶ 26. Two days later, on November 4, Defendant telephoned Plaintiff's home and left a voicemail stating that: (1) she received Plaintiff's file request; (2) the case file contained only what Plaintiff had previously mailed to DORS; and (3) she wanted to schedule an in-home-assessment to determine HSP eligibility. Id. ¶ 28. On November 7, 2016, Plaintiff called Defendant and left a voicemail “advising [Defendant] in summary that he was declining his HSP in-home interview, but that he still needed a copy of his case file.” Id. ¶ 29.

         Plaintiff subsequently continued his appeal. On November 10, 2016, Defendant called Plaintiff to advise him that he would have to file a release form to receive a copy of his case record; Defendant e-mailed Plaintiff the form later that day. Id. ¶ 31. Plaintiff's hearing took place on December 15, 2016. Id. ¶ 33. Four days after the hearing-on December 19-Defendant e-mailed Plaintiff his authorization form back, requesting that he complete the “Dates of Service” fields on Page 2 of the authorization form so that she could release the documents to ...

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