Judicial Appeals for SNAP Violations
If you get hit with allegations that your business is violating SNAP regulations, you run the risk of your store losing the privilege of accepting SNAP payments. Such a loss can place your entire business in jeopardy. Gladly, you as the business owner retain the right to get a court to review the government’s choice to suspend your business’ ability to participate in the SNAP program. 7 U.S. Code § 2023 (a)(13) gives you the right to a judicial review of an administrative action caused by an alleged SNAP violation.
At what point does a judicial review occur?
A judicial review can take place after an administrative review. The responsibility of deciding whether to file a judicial action belongs to the business owner. The proprietor only has thirty days to file the court action after the administrative reviewer issues their decision. In the event that the business owner doesn’t get their court action filed on time, they lose their right to bring the case.
What steps do I take to file for a judicial review?
Your judicial review will begin by filing a case in the appropriate U.S. District Court. The person who wants to challenge the administrative decision must be the one to file their case in court. The opposing party is the United States. The other side needs to receive service in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for U.S. District Courts.
How does this work?
A judicial appeal moves much like any other court case. It is referred to as a “de novo” hearing. In a de novo hearing, the judge makes their decision from scratch without considering what took place during the administrative review. In light of this fact, you have to do conscientious preparation of your case with admissible evidence. You will need to gather evidence to be presented in court under the Federal Rules of Evidence.
The district court may allow a period for discovery. It is so called because the process allows you to discover the witnesses that the government may call at trial. Indeed, you may even be able to take the opportunity to conduct depositions of the government’s witnesses in order to find out what they plan to say. This can help you improve the effectiveness of your questioning in the courtroom.
Customarily, the parties have an opportunity to file court motions ahead of the trial. Filings might encompass documents to ask the court to allow or refuse to allow certain evidence at the hearing. You may be required to respond to a motion from the government’s attorney asking them to dismiss the case. Either side may ask the court to award summary disposition. Summary disposition happens when the parties concur that there are enough facts to facilitate court in making a decision without hearing anything else.
The time frame before the trial may also include settlement negotiations. A good attorney can assist you in discussing the case with the government’s counsel to determine if you can meet somewhere in the middle. You might successfully arrive at an agreement that dismisses the case and allows you to get back to work.
When no resolution is reached, your case then proceeds to trial. You may be required to testify in court. The judge hears all of the evidence and then renders a decision. You have no right to a jury trial for a SNAP judicial appeal. The judge is the individual who presides over the case and he or she has the final say.
What happens while I wait?
Some people wonder if the reviewer’s decision goes into place while you wait for your trial. When you do not wish for the reviewer’s decision to go into effect, you will need to ask the court to issue what’s called a stay. To get a judge to grant a stay, you must be able to demonstrate that you’re likely to win your case on the basis of the merits of your position. The burden on you is also to show that irreparable harm is likely to result if the administrative decision goes into effect before the court can hear the case and make a decision.
Is the government required to reimburse me?
In the event that the court denies you the administrative stay, you may still win your case and end up with a favorable decision. Even if that happens, you are not entitled to any compensation from the government for lost sales while the administrative decision is in effect. This is important to bear in mind when you’re considering whether to hammer out an agreement with the government before the case goes to trial.
What are the potential outcomes?
In some cases, the court exercises the option to uphold the reviewer’s decision or they opt to vacate it. They may also decide to take another course of action. It’s imperative that you clearly relate to the court exactly what you’re asking them to do when you present your case.
And in case I don’t like the verdict?
If you are displeased with the decision of the U.S. District Court, you have the right to appeal the decision to the U.S. Circuit Court. In an appeal, the circuit court judges review the record form the district court. You could take your case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if you need to. While it’s unusual for a case to go that far, our experienced legal counsel can assist you in making the best possible choices in your case.
How can an attorney be of value?
Our team of SNAP violation judicial appeals attorneys boasts a wealth of education and experience that can help you prepare a strong case and file it properly. Regardless of what point you’re at in the process, we offer professional legal services that successfully advocate for you to the fullest extent of the law. We toil tirelessly to review the facts and the law and assemble your case.
At the outset, we look at the current status of the case. If you have already had an administrative review, we will then look at what went well and what was unsuccessful. We determine what we may be able to do differently in order to win a better outcome in U.S. District Court. To get ready for trial, we meticulously build your case with an eye towards the Rules of Evidence. We do our best to gather admissible evidence that effectively recounts your side of the story.
Your loved ones are counting on you. Your customers and your community are also invested in your success. Our goal is to work with you to get a resolution to your case and get back to business as quickly as possible. We perceive our role as your teammate and advocate. Our training and experience are at your disposal to help you pursue your case and work towards a positive resolution. If you’re a business owner facing a SNAP violation, please reach out to us today.
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