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Court rules FSSA notices are unconstitutional

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The Indiana Supreme Court has held that the notices sent by the state Family and Social Services Administration to inform applicants they were denied Medicaid, food stamps, or family assistance benefits are unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s due process clause because they do not sufficiently explain the reasons for being denied.

In Sheila Perdue, et al. v. Michael A. Gargano, et al., No. 49S02-1107-PL-437, the justices partially reversed and affirmed the Marion Superior Court on a challenge to the state agency’s automated system of processing claims for benefits.

Plaintiffs brought a class action against the FSSA seeking declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the administration of Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Sheila Perdue also brought an individual disability discrimination claim.

The trial court granted summary judgment to FSSA on plaintiffs’ claim that their procedural due process rights were violated, but it granted summary judgment to Perdue individually and to the class of SNAP applicants/recipients whose benefits were denied or terminated for failure to cooperate. On cross-appeals, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment as to Perdue and as to those whose SNAP benefits were denied or terminated for failure to cooperate, and it reversed the award of summary judgment to FSSA, holding the procedures at issue did not afford plaintiffs due process.

Accepting the case, the Indiana justices held that the FSSA’s denial notices are insufficiently explanatory but that the agency may deny an application when that person fails to cooperate in the eligibility determination process. On that issue, this case is remanded to the trial court to adjudicate the plaintiffs' related claims for relief.

The justices agreed with the trial court’s grant of Perdue’s summary judgment motion on the grounds that she is entitled to reasonable accommodation in applying for benefits. But that accommodation doesn’t require the FSSA to provide a caseworker or case management services.




 

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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