15 May 20

SNAP Disqualification Judicial Appeal Process

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Last Updated on: 4th August 2023, 02:02 pm

SNAP Disqualification Judicial Appeal Process

In the event that you were disqualified from the USDA SNAP program, your filing of a Judicial Appeal is your final option defense in the wake of the disabling of your EBT machine.  If you have reached this point, it means you already received and responded to a SNAP Violation Letter and undergone the administrative appeal process at the USDA’s Division of Administrative Review.  All that said, this could indeed be your best chance to reverse some of the damage that has already happened to your business because of the allegations that were charged against you, and get back your EBT customers.

Why Retain Our Firm to Get Involved in Your USDA SNAP Case?

We have witnessed in our many years of practice so many grocery store owners who opt to go with local attorneys to handle their USDA SNAP Violation problems.  Granted, community attorneys are genuinely interested in helping their local grocers, but the USDA SNAP administrative program is a very specialized, unique and complex segment of the law.  Legal counsel who does not have depth of experience in this area may unwittingly make fundamental missteps in your snap matter without understanding how they messed up and without your knowledge. 

Counsel at our firm has toiled for years.  From the time the United States Congress reauthorized the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2014 to be intimately acquainted with this new legislation so we are able to address all your legal concerns with expertise.  Our team of seasoned lawyers have grappled with many federal appeals of USDA SNAP disqualifications and are able to recognize the customary positions and strategies that the USDA uses in court.  In addition, our grocery store clients benefit from our impressive track record of accurately anticipating the Department’s techniques and stock arguments, and determining ahead of time where the USDA’s case against them may have a hole in it.

Only a very small group of law firms in the United States are as adept as ours is in navigating USDA SNAP legislation, and of these firms (whose contact information can be easily obtained) our attorneys have the most experience and place the greatest amount of resources into retailer representation  by a long stretch.

An Explanation of a USDA SNAP Judicial Appeal

A USDA SNAP Judicial Appeal is a lawsuit that you have the right to file on behalf of your business against the United States Department of Agriculture under 7 CFR §279 and 7 USC §2023 to appeal the Final Determination of the Administrative Review Division that your grocery store should be permanently disqualified from SNAP (most frequently due to trafficking charges).  Judicial Appeals operate exactly like other forms of civil litigation.  The only differences is the additional complication of having the United States of America as the defendant.

The judicial appeal occurs in three steps:

  1. Pleading:  First, we file the complaint in the district court against the United States in the state where your grocery store trades. After that, we receive the United States’ response to our allegations (this takes sixty days) in the form of an Answer or a Motion to Dismiss, depending upon the details of our case.  Most commonly, this part of the process takes around eighty days altogether, including time for service of process and usual procedural delays.
  2. Discovery/Motions:  All of the relevant evidence is collected and used to build the motions that we must use to proceed with your case or maybe (in some cases) have it be resolved in a shorter period of time.  Some motions we use include:
    1. a Motion to Abate Disqualification – This is an attempt to reverse your suspension during the litigation period and 
    2. a Motion for Summary Judgment – In this motion, we ask that the Court consider the undisputed evidence and enter an order in our favor on the basis of the pleadings (This can help get a speedy conclusion to the case).
  3. Trial: In this phase, we bring together all of the work done since the day you got the SNAP Violation letter in the mail.  Although the trial is not before a jury (this is not allowed for these trials under the United States Code), a judge will hear your case in the same manner and procedure in which all normal trials occur.  All the particulars of your business and the allegations charged by the USDA are weighed by the judge to help them reach a determination as to whether or not the USDA successfully demonstrated that you violated SNAP rules at your store.

What’s Next? 

In the event that the judicial appeal delivers us an unfavorable verdict, a grocery store owner can appeal the verdict to the circuit court of appeals where appellate judges can review the evidence, the decision entered by the judge on the Judicial Appeal and the process through which your EBT privileges were taken away.  If the circuit court of appeals disagrees with our position, or if the appellate court chooses to uphold the entire disqualification or suspension, then we can approach the United States Supreme Court for a final stand.

The majority of cases never go even so far as the circuit court of appeals.  Nevertheless, our firm aims to properly advise you of all your options throughout our representation in a meaningful and complete way.

How to Hire Us for your snap Judicial Appeal

You should move quickly before your options run out!  A matter of days could be all you have until your appeal deadline expires, so hurry up and  contact us to set up a consultation at your earliest convenience.