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Hyzy v. Baker

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

June 24, 2019

MARK HYZY, Plaintiff,
v.
TRACY BAKER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN ROBERT BLAKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         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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