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HARRINGTON v. BLUM

January 17, 1980

Caroline HARRINGTON et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Barbara BLUM, Individually, and as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MOTLEY

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Case History

 This case was initiated in December, 1977, on behalf of public assistance applicants whose income and resources were so low that they were entitled to obtain food stamps at no cost and on an expedited basis. The complaint against officials of the City and State of New York alleged that the New York City Department of Social Services had no procedure for determining the eligibility for, and issuance of, expedited food stamp benefits to persons and households applying for public assistance.

 Judge Frankel, initially assigned to this case, granted a temporary restraining order directing that the requested benefits be issued to the named plaintiffs. On December 22, 1977, the City defendants announced an Interim Plan for the provision of expedited food stamp benefits to public assistance applicants. On January 23, 1978, Judge Frankel denied plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and plaintiffs' motion for class certification.

 Thereafter, on February 27, 1978, the City defendants implemented what shall be referred to as a "Permanent Plan" for providing expedited issuance of food stamp benefits to public assistance applicants. In July of that year, the City defendants filed a motion for summary judgment; the plaintiffs moved for leave to file a supplemental complaint adding several named plaintiffs and moved for class certification and partial summary judgment with respect to the "Permanent Plan."

 After this case was transferred to the undersigned judge, the plaintiffs' motion to permit the filing of a supplemental complaint was granted, to the extent that the complaint was to be designated as an intervenors' complaint. The court also determined that class certification was appropriate and certified the following two classes:

 
CLASS A: All persons who applied for public assistance in New York City between April 1, 1977 to December 22, 1977 and who were eligible for emergency food stamp benefits.
 
CLASS B: All persons who applied for public assistance in New York City between February 28, 1978 and August 15, 1978 and who were accepted for public assistance and who were denied emergency food stamp benefits as a result of more restrictive eligibility criteria applied to them by the defendant than was permitted by State and federal law.

 In a memorandum opinion filed October 17, 1979, the court denied the motion of the City defendants for summary judgment and granted plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment, to the extent that the court found that certain of defendants' policies and procedures violated federal law and regulations or state law with respect to the "Permanent Plan" which affected Class B. In a memorandum endorsement dated November 15, 1979, the court granted: 1) the parties' request for leave until November 27, 1979, to submit summary judgment papers regarding Class A, and 2) a request for postponement of consideration of Class B relief until disposition of the Class A summary judgment motion.

 Motion before the Court

 On December 7, 1979, plaintiffs moved for an order granting partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

 There is no genuine issue as to the following material facts:

 1) The State defendants promulgated the New York State Food Stamp Certification Manual by 77 ADM 7, dated March 3, 1977. Said manual was effective on April 1, 1977 in all local social services districts in the State of New York.

 2) Sections 2313 and 2314 of the New York State Certification Manual provided that all households at the zero purchase level for food stamps should be expeditiously issued food stamp benefits pursuant ...


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