Contempt Motion Responds to Suffolk County’s Failure to Provide Promised Food and Medical Assistance Promptly
NCLEJ and the Empire Justice Center achieved a revised settlement in July 2014 in a United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York case challenging Suffolk County’s unlawful practice of delaying food stamp and Medicaid applications, including food stamp and Medicaid applications that are in combination with an application for cash public assistance (“combined applications”). Under the terms of the original settlement in Maryann C. v. DeMarzo, approved by the Court on June 8, 2009, Suffolk County must abide by federal and state deadlines for processing food stamp and Medicaid applications. Additionally, Suffolk County must provide certain information and services to individuals in immediate need. Finally, counsel for individuals experiencing food stamp and Medicaid application delays are able to use an out-of-court relief mechanism to resolve their application delays. Under the original settlement, the Court retained jurisdiction over the case for three years, with a process for extending jurisdiction if defendant fails to comply with the terms of the settlement.
Over the last five years NCLEJ and EJC have actively enforced the Order to improve the County’s performance. In 2012, NCLEJ and EJC returned to Court and filed a Motion for Contempt based on Suffolk County’s continued failure to process food stamp and combined applications in the time required by law.
- Groups Push Suffolk on Services (Newsday, February 15, 2012) (pdf)
- Contempt Order Sought Against Suffolk County for Failure to Provide County’s Neediest with Food and Medical Assistance (press release, February 2012) (pdf)
After completing discovery and extensive negotiations, in July 2014, the court signed the revised settlement. The settlement recognizes that the County’s timely processing performance has significantly improved since the filing of the Motion for Contempt with respect to food stamp and Medicaid stand-alone applications. The revised settlement requires the County to make further improvements and meet strict compliance requirements with respect to food stamp and Medicaid applications that are in combination with cash assistance applications. The settlement also provides for extensive sampling and that the Court retain jurisdiction for thirteen months, with a process for extending jurisdiction if the defendant fails to comply with the terms of the settlement.
For further information contact Marc Cohan (cohan(at)nclej.org), Tedde Tasheff (tasheff(at)nclej.org), or Laura Redman (redman(at)nclej.org). Co-counsel are Linda Hassberg (lhassberg(at)empirejustice.org) and Bryan Hetherington (bhetherington(at)empirejustice.org) of the Empire Justice Center in Central Islip, New York, and Rochester, New York respectively.