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Judicial Appeals for SNAP Charges Against Grocers

March 21, 2024 Uncategorized

If it so happens that you find yourself needing to defend your business against accusations of SNAP  law breaches, this means your are now, by default, in jeopardy of seeing your privileges to take EBT card payments from your customers permanently suspended. Such an event can spell disaster for your grocery store. Thank goodness for due process! Take advantage of your legal right to get a judge to take another look at the government’s decision to revoke your SNAP retailer license. 7 U.S. Code § 2023 (a)(13) furnishes business owners with a right to a judicial review of an administrative action brought on by an SNAP violation charge.

At What Point Can I Have a Judicial Review?

In the wake of an administrative review, you will be able to apply for a Judicial Review. You as the business owner reserve the right and responsibility to conclude whether to file the judicial action. Should you choose to do so, you have just thirty short days to get the court action filed once the administrative reviewer delivers their verdict. If, by happenstance, you cannot get this court action filed in the allotted time frame, then you automatically  lose your right to bring a case.

How Does One File for a Judicial Review?

Step one is to submit your case file to the relevant U.S. District Court. Citizens who opt to come against an administrative decision have to file their own review case in the court, naming the USA as the opposing party. The attorneys representing for the defendant (United States) need to receive service in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for the U.S. District Courts.

What To Expect from the Judicial Review Procedure?

Judicial appeals move very much like other court cases. It is also customarily known as a “de novo” hearing. A judge hands down a decision in a de novo hearing from scratch without perusing the body of paperwork to investigate what went on during the administrative review. Indeed, it is seriously critical that you do thorough and in-depth preparation for your matter, complete with admissible evidence. It will benefit you to put together your evidence to present to the judge under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

At times, you are permitted a period for discovery by the district court. Discovery is a period of time during which you are given a chance to discover any witnesses that the government may bring to testify at trial. Further, you could even get a chance to ask the government’s witnesses strategic questions so that you can have an idea up front of what they are going to say. This can be a huge help in preparing for an effective examination in the courtroom.

In general, the opposing parties are afforded the opportunity to file court motions in the weeks before the trial date. Filings may consist of documents that request the court permission or refusal to admit certain evidence at the hearing. You need to respond to a motion from the government’s lawyers asking for a dismissal. Both sides would be able to request the awarding summary disposition. This award can occur when the parties mutually conclude that sufficient facts are present to allow the judge to make a decision without hearing anything more.

The period before trial can also be ripe for settlement negotiations. A keen counselor can be an asset in conversations with the government’s counsel to mastermind a way to come to some middle ground. Indeed, you could successfully reach an agreement that provides for the dismissal of the case and makes it possible for you to go back to running your business as normal.

Where no resolution can be reached, the matter proceeds to trial. You may be asked to testify in court. The judge will hear all of the evidence and then hand down a decision.  For SNAP judicial appeal, no right to a jury trial exists. The judge is the one person presiding over the case and he or she has the final say.

What is happening in my case while I wait?

Grocers in court sometimes get anxious about the possibility that the reviewer’s decision may be submitted while you await your trial date. If this happens, and you need to stop the reviewer’s decision to take effect, you must be prompt about requesting that the court issue a stay. For a judge to grant you a stay, you must demonstrate to the court that your chances of winning your case based upon the merits of your position are on the high side. The burden is also on you to show them that irreparable damage is a likely outcome if the administrative verdict goes into effect before the court has an opportunity to hear your review case and make a decision.

Do I get reimbursed for my  losses?

Regardless of whether the court denies you an administrative stay, you might still succeed in your case and be handed a verdict in your favor. Nevertheless, even if that should happens, you do not have a right to claim financial recompense from the US government for the business you missed out on while the administrative decision was in effect. This is an important consideration as you make choices as to whether to negotiate an agreement with the defense before the case goes to trial.

What outcomes can I expect?

Under some circumstances, the court may opt to uphold the reviewer’s verdict.  Other times, they may opt to vacate it. There is also a third course of action they could take. It is key that you communicate to the court in no uncertain terms exactly what you’re asking of them when you bring your matter before them.

What Happens if the Outcome is Against Me?

Grocers who are unhappy with the U.S. District Court decision have the right to appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court. In this appeal, the circuit court judges peruse the record from the district court. In fact, you could presumably take your case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if you don’t get the outcome you want in the lower courts. For such a case to reach that far is a rarity.  Nonetheless our well versed legal counsel can assist you in making the best possible choices. Bottom line, if you actually sold things like – whiskey, you shouldn’t even bother. 

How Will I Benefit from Having a Specialist SNAP Lawyer on My Side?

At our firm, we employ talented SNAP violation judicial appeals attorneys who boast a wealth of education and experience.  They can be very helpful to you in preparing and presenting a solid case and filing it in a professional manner. Regardless of what point you are at in the process, we will give you highly professional legal services that successfully battle for you to the fullest extent of the law. We will put in hard work for you, reviewing the facts and the law and putting together your case.

From the very start, we will fully review the current position of your matter. If you are past the stage of administrative review, we sort through to see what worked in well and what was not successful.  We can then come to decisions as to  how to manage things differently to win better results in the U.S. District Court. To get ready for trial, we painstakingly assemble your case with keen eye on the Rules of Evidence. We are diligent about putting together a cohesive package of admissible evidence that will effectively present your side of the story.

Your family and employees are relying upon you, as are your customers and your community. We make it our main goal to stand with you until you lock down a resolution to your matter.  The sooner you get there, the sooner you can get back to business at your store. Our job is to be your partner and advocate. Years of training and experience that our attorneys have under their belts are at your service, to help push your case in the right direction and move towards a positive outcome. If you’re a grocer who is facing allegations of a SNAP violation, please reach out to one of our lawyers today.

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