Protecting the Right to “Aid-To-Continue” While Awaiting State Fair Hearing Decisions

Morel v. Giuliani, 94 Civ. 4415 (JFK) (S.D.N.Y.)

Nature of Claims: This action challenges the State and City's failure to provide aid-to-continue pending decisions after State Fair Hearings. Plaintiffs also sought to enjoin the redeployment of personnel necessary for providing aid-to-continue.

Background: On January 4, 1995, Judge Keenan (1) certified a plaintiff class; (2) denied defendants’ motions to dismiss on justiciability and mootness grounds; and (3) issued a preliminary injunction directing defendants to provide aid-to-continue to informal intervenors, to develop a plan for providing aid-to-continue to the class, and enjoining the redeployment of staff responsible for ensuring that class members receive aid-to-continue. Morel v. Giuliani, 927 F. Supp. 622 (S.D.N.Y. 1995).

On March 19, 1996, the court entered an order modifying the preliminary injunction to the extent that the stay of the defendants' redeployment and reduction of staff was vacated, and the defendants were directed to process timely fair hearing requests, direct aid continuing, and implement aid-continuing pursuant to Principles of Agreement negotiated and agreed to by the parties with the assistance of Special Master Kenneth Feinberg.

Current Status: The defendants have been enjoined to process timely fair hearing requests, direct aid continuing, and implement aid-continuing pursuant to Principles of Agreement negotiated by the parties. As a result of changes made in response to the preliminary injunction order, the defendants have generally improved the timeliness of implementing aid-to-continue. Recently, however, compliance levels have fallen as backlogs of fair hearing requests have grown. Settlement negotiations with the City and State are continuing with the assistance of Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz.

No. Persons Affected: Approximately 87,000 annually

Reported Decisions: Morel v. Giuliani, 927 F. Supp. 622 (S.D.N.Y. 1995)