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Special Master Appointed to Speed Application Processing in Nassau County

NCLEJ and the Empire Justice Center achieved a revised settlement in January 2015 in a case before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging Nassau County’s unlawful practice of delaying food stamp, Medicaid, and cash assistance applications. Under the terms of the original settlement in Dowdell v. Imhof, approved by the Court in March 2011, Nassau County must meet federal and state deadlines for processing applications, with plaintiffs retaining the right to enforce compliance for at least 24 months.

When monitoring data demonstrated the County remained out of compliance, plaintiffs returned to court for relief in February 2013, including an extension of jurisdiction and appointment of a Special Master. In July 2013, the Court appointed a Special Master, whose duties included oversight of the formulation of a corrective action plan. In December 2013, the Court also granted plaintiffs’ motion for an extension of jurisdiction to enable the work of the Special Master to continue.

The revised settlement continues to require the County to meet the timely processing requirements, imposes revised obligations to produce monitoring data and updates on corrective actions, and grants plaintiffs the right to continue to enforce the County’s timely processing and other obligations under the agreement.

For further information, contact Marc Cohan ( or Tedde Tasheff ( Co-counsel are Linda Hassberg ( and Bryan Hetherington ( of the Empire Justice Center in Central Islip, New York, and Rochester, New York, respectively.