Case: Fowlkes v. Adamec

9:02-cv-00468 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

Filed Date: April 1, 2002

Closed Date: May 18, 2006

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

A pro se plaintiff commenced an action on April 1, 2002, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants, two employees of the Social Security Administration ("SSA"), violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights when they improperly suspended his Social Security benefits upon a determination that he was a fleeing felon. The plaintiff sought injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The matter was r…

A pro se plaintiff commenced an action on April 1, 2002, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants, two employees of the Social Security Administration ("SSA"), violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights when they improperly suspended his Social Security benefits upon a determination that he was a fleeing felon. The plaintiff sought injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The matter was referred to Magistrate Judge David R. Homer to consider a defense motion to dismiss.

In a March 5, 2003, ruling, Magistrate Judge Homer observed that plaintiff had been receiving social security benefits for about two years in New York when the benefits were suspended and a portion of the benefits already paid were regarded by the SSA as overpayment because, according to SSA officials, plaintiff had two felony warrants pending against him in Virginia. He had requested and received a review of the suspension decision and administratively appealed the adverse result of that review, presenting documents intended to show that the Virginia warrants were not pending and that Virginia was not seeking to extradite him. The SSA decision was administratively upheld, however, prompting the filing of plaintiff's pro se court case. Since the plaintiff's complaint established that he had received all the procedural process to which he was due and that his actual dissatisfaction was with the result of that process, Magistrate Judge Homer ruled against the plaintiff's due process claim and recommended dismissal of the case against the two SSA employees. The magistrate judge noted, however, that the plaintiff's pro se pleading should be re-characterized as an appeal of an adverse social security decision, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), in which the Commissioner of the SSA should be substituted as the defendant. Reviewing the administrative record in that context, Magistrate Judge Homer found that no substantial evidence existed to support the administrative finding that plaintiff was a "fleeing" felon prior to the time he learned of the warrants' existence. Rather, the record showed that well after plaintiff had been residing in New York, he learned of recent indictments against him in Virginia. Failing to return to Virginia to answer the charges that he previously had not known of did not equate to evidence of intentionally "fleeing" the warrants, in the magistrate judge's view. Accordingly, the court recommended, in an unpublished decision, returning the matter to the administrative process for reinstatement of benefits for the period prior to plaintiff's learning of the warrants.

Despite the somewhat favorable ruling, the plaintiff objected to the magistrate judge's recommendation. In an unpublished ruling on the plaintiff's objections on March 31, 2003, District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy adopted, in part, the magistrate judge's report and recommendation. Judge McAvoy dismissed the due process-based case against the two SSA defendants for plaintiff's failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, but declined to adopt that part of the recommendation which would have returned the dispute to the SSA. The judge said he took that action that since a redetermination by the agency was not the relief plaintiff wanted.

The plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On appeal, he was represented by counsel from the National Senior Citizens Law Center and supported by amicus curiae briefs filed by attorneys representing the AARP Foundation Litigation and the Greater Upstate Law Project, Inc. On December 6, 2005, Circuit Judge Chester J. Straub's written opinion announced the appellate panel's decision to reverse the district court. Oteze Fowlkes v. Adamec, 432 F.3d 90 (2d Cir. 2005). Judge Straub agreed with the district court's decision to dismiss the due process claim and to regard the case as one seeking judicial review of a decision of the SSA Commissioner. The appellate court determined, however, that the statute and regulation limiting SSA benefits payments to "fleeing" felons had been misinterpreted by the SSA in its operations manual, the latter of which allowed the agency to terminate benefits for merely "wanted" felons. Unlike the operations manual, the statute and regulation call for suspension of benefits only as of the date of a warrant or order issued by a court or other authorized tribunal on the basis of a finding that an individual had intentionally fled or was fleeing from justice. The court remanded the case to the district court with instructions (1) to treat the plaintiff's complaint as one seeking review of the SSA Commissioner's suspension of plaintiff's benefits and (2) to remand the case to the Commissioner for further proceedings consistent with the court's opinion.

On May 18, 2006, District Judge McAvoy remanded the case to the SSA Commissioner. We have no information about further action, if any, in the case.

Summary Authors

Mike Fagan (6/4/2008)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5395020/parties/fowlkes-v-adamec/


Judge(s)

Homer, David R. (New York)

McAvoy, Thomas James (New York)

Raggi, Reena (New York)

Rakoff, Jed Saul (New York)

Straub, Chester J. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

McIntyre, Gerald Andrew (California)

Mueller, Roberta L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Canning, Dennis J. (New York)

De Soto, Lisa (New York)

Pavone, Joseph A. (New York)

Judge(s)

Homer, David R. (New York)

McAvoy, Thomas James (New York)

Raggi, Reena (New York)

Rakoff, Jed Saul (New York)

Straub, Chester J. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

McIntyre, Gerald Andrew (California)

Mueller, Roberta L. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Canning, Dennis J. (New York)

De Soto, Lisa (New York)

Pavone, Joseph A. (New York)

Pease, William H. (New York)

Spivak, Barbara L. (New York)

Suddaby, Glenn T. (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Bass, Greg (Connecticut)

Bobroff, Rochelle (District of Columbia)

Callery, Catherine M. (New York)

Cohen, Stuart (District of Columbia)

Fischman, Charlotte (New York)

Leinhard, William (New York)

Lewis, Joanne (Connecticut)

Samuels, Barbara (New York)

Schuster, Michael Robert (District of Columbia)

Tarantino, Louise M. (New York)

White, Shelley (Connecticut)

Zavez, Maryann (Vermont)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

9:02-cv-00468

Docket [PACER]

May 18, 2006

May 18, 2006

Docket
20

9:02-cv-00468

Decision & Order

2003 WL 24241828, 2003 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 26888

March 31, 2003

March 31, 2003

Order/Opinion

03-06095

Appellate Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

432 F.3d 90

Dec. 6, 2005

Dec. 6, 2005

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5395020/fowlkes-v-adamec/

Last updated Aug. 2, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT filed; ; (tlp) (Entered: 04/01/2002)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

2

In Forma Pauperis Application filed by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes (tlp) (Entered: 04/01/2002)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

3

Executed Inmate Authorization Form for In Forma Pauperis (Incremental filing fee payments) for − Felipe Oteze Fowlkes (tlp) (Entered: 04/01/2002)

April 1, 2002

April 1, 2002

4

ORDER that Joseph F. Gibbons is dismissed as a party to this action; Ordered that plaintiff's in forma pauperis application is granted; Clerk shall issue summones and forward them with the complaint to the U.S. Marshals for service; Ordered that the Clerk provide the Superintendent of plaintiff's current location facility with notice of instant action and the inmate authorization form with a copy of same to be provided to the Financial Deputy, Utica, NY. ( signed by Judge Thomas J. McAvoy ) Date Entered:

April 19, 2002

April 19, 2002

SUMMONS(ES) issued for John Adamec, Paul Thomas (nas) (Entered: 04/19/2002)

April 19, 2002

April 19, 2002

Provided Superintendent of Riverview Correctional Facility with notice of instant action and copy of inmate authorization form; same provided to Financial Deputy, Utica, NY (nas) (Entered: 04/19/2002)

April 19, 2002

April 19, 2002

5

Change of Address received. Effective date: 4/22/02 from/for plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes New Address: Schenectady City Mission Old Address: Riverview Corr. Facility (tlp) (Entered: 04/22/2002)

April 22, 2002

April 22, 2002

6

Mail returned undeliverable. Sent to plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes [4−1] order RE: Doc. #: [4−1] Address sent to: Riverview Corr. Facility (tlp) (Entered: 04/25/2002)

April 25, 2002

April 25, 2002

7

NOTICE to pltf. from the USM. Pltf. failed to provide USM−285 forms. The USM enclosed forms w/ notice. (tlp) (Entered: 05/07/2002)

May 7, 2002

May 7, 2002

8

Change of Address received. Effective date: 5/14/02 from/for plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes New Address: Governors Motor Inn Old Address: Schenectady City Mission (tlp) (Entered: 05/17/2002)

May 17, 2002

May 17, 2002

9

ORDER REJECTING Pltf's Motion for preliminary injunction for failure to include a supporting memorandum of law. See Local Rule 7.1. (signed by Magistrate Judge Gustave J. DiBianco) Date Entered: 5/21/02 (tlp) (Entered: 05/21/2002)

May 21, 2002

May 21, 2002

10

Change of Address received. Effective date: 5/28/02 from/for plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes New Address: General Delivery Post Office, Albany, NY 12201; Old Address: Governors Motor Inn #61, 2505 Western Ave, Guilderland, NY 12084. (fce) (Entered: 05/28/2002)

May 28, 2002

May 28, 2002

11

Mail returned undeliverable. Sent to plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes [9−1] order RE: Doc. #: [9−1] Address sent to: Governors Motor Inn (tlp) (Entered: 06/03/2002)

June 3, 2002

June 3, 2002

12

ANSWER to Complaint by John Adamec, Paul Thomas (Attorney William H. Pease), (tlp) (Entered: 06/21/2002)

June 21, 2002

June 21, 2002

13

Administrative Transcript in support of Answer. (tlp) (Entered: 06/21/2002)

June 21, 2002

June 21, 2002

14

MOTION w/ supporting memorandum of law by John Adamec, Paul Thomas to Dismiss captioned action and substitution of party defendant , Hearing set for 9/19/02 , Response Deadline 9/5/02 Motion returnable before Judge/Mag. Judge: Homer (tlp) (Entered: 07/29/2002)

July 29, 2002

July 29, 2002

Motion(s) referred: [14−1] motion to Dismiss captioned action and substitution of party defendant referred to Magistrate Judge David R. Homer (tlp) (Entered: 08/22/2002)

Aug. 22, 2002

Aug. 22, 2002

15

ORDER pltf. is granted until October 21, 2002 to file and serve any opposition to defts. motion. (signed by Magistrate Judge David R. Homer) Date Entered: 9/19/02 (tlp) (Entered: 09/19/2002)

Sept. 19, 2002

Sept. 19, 2002

Deadline updated; Response to Motion reset to 10/21/02 for [14−1] motion to Dismiss captioned action and substitution of party defendant (tlp) (Entered: 09/19/2002)

Sept. 19, 2002

Sept. 19, 2002

16

RESPONSE by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes to [14−1] motion to Dismiss captioned action and substitution of party defendant. (postmark was 10/21/02, the response deadline.) (tlp) (Entered: 10/23/2002)

Oct. 23, 2002

Oct. 23, 2002

17

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS of Magistrate Judge David R. Homer Service Date: 3/5/03 Recommended that [14−1] motion to Dismiss be granted as to defts. Adamec and Thomas; that Fowlkes complaint be converted to an appeal pursuant to 42:405(g); the Commissioner of Soc. Security be substituted as a party defendant; and that the decision of the Commissioner be reversed and remanded for recalculation of the benefits from 9/99 − 3/00. (Objection to R and R due by 3/25/03 for Joseph F. Gibbons, for Paul Thomas, for John Adamec, for Felipe Oteze Fowlkes ) ; Motion(s)

March 5, 2003

March 5, 2003

18

OBJECTION by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes to [17−1] report and recommendations (tlp) (Entered: 03/12/2003)

March 12, 2003

March 12, 2003

19

ORDER REJECTING pltf's change of address for failure to follow Local Rule 10.1(a). **address changed in system** Pursuant to Local Rule 10.1(a) all pleadings, motions and other documents presented for filing should be on 81/2 X 11 inch paper of good quality. (signed by Magistrate Judge Gustave J. DiBianco) Date Entered: 3/20/03 (tlp) (Entered: 03/20/2003)

March 20, 2003

March 20, 2003

20

DECISION AND ORDER; the Court adopts Mag/Judge Homer's Report Recommendation; Ordered that Defts [14−1] motion to Dismiss the action is GRANTED. The action is dismissed and the Clerk of the Court shall close the file. ( signed by Judge Thomas J. McAvoy ) Date Entered: 3/31/03 (pta) (Entered: 03/31/2003)

March 31, 2003

March 31, 2003

21

JUDGMENT adopting Mag/Judge Homer's Report Recommendation. It is Ordered that Defts Motion to Dismiss is granted and the file is closed. Date Served: 3/31/03 Date Entered: 3/31/03 (pta) (Entered: 03/31/2003)

March 31, 2003

March 31, 2003

Case closed (pta) (Entered: 03/31/2003)

March 31, 2003

March 31, 2003

22

Change of Address received. Effective date: 4/14/03 from/for plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes New Address: Arthur Kill Corr. Facility Old Address: Downstate Corr. Facility (tlp) (Entered: 04/16/2003)

April 16, 2003

April 16, 2003

23

NOTICE OF APPEAL by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes appealing [20−1] Order entered on 3/31/03. (IFP granted − dkt. #4) Appeal record due on 5/16/03 (dmf) (Entered: 04/29/2003)

April 16, 2003

April 16, 2003

Notice of appeal and certified copy of docket to USCA re: [23−1] appeal by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes (parties noticed). (dmf) (Entered: 04/29/2003)

April 29, 2003

April 29, 2003

Certified and transmitted index to the record on appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals: [23−1] appeal by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes (note: sent electronically) (dmf) (Entered: 04/29/2003)

April 29, 2003

April 29, 2003

24

ORDER REJECTING pltf's letter explaining that he filed an appeal in this case. Plaintiff is advised that he filed an appeal in this case on 4/16/03. Therefore, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over this action. (signed by Magistrate Judge Gustave J. DiBianco) Date Entered: 5/23/03 (tlp) (Entered: 05/23/2003)

May 23, 2003

May 23, 2003

25

Mail returned undeliverable. Sent to plaintiff Felipe Oteze Fowlkes [24−1] order RE: Doc. #: [24−1] Address sent to: Arthur Kill Corr. Facility (tlp) Additional attachment(s) added on 12/5/2007 (rjb, ). (Entered: 06/02/2003)

June 2, 2003

June 2, 2003

USCA Case Number 03−6095−cv for 23 Notice of Appeal filed by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes. (cbm, ) Modified on 7/27/2004 to add "cv" designation (cbm, ). (Entered: 07/26/2004)

July 26, 2004

July 26, 2004

Certified and Transmitted Index to Record on Appeal to US Court of Appeals re 23 Notice of Appeal, Attn: Erin, USCA Agency Team (dmf) (Entered: 09/21/2004)

Sept. 21, 2004

Sept. 21, 2004

26

NOTICE of Docketing Record on Appeal from USCA re 23 Notice of Appeal filed by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes. USCA Case Number 03−6095−cv (dmf) (Entered: 10/26/2004)

Oct. 25, 2004

Oct. 25, 2004

27

MANDATE of USCA as to 23 Notice of Appeal filed by Felipe Oteze Fowlkes, (Affirmed in part and Remanded in part) (tab) (Entered: 05/09/2006)

May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

28

ORDER Pltf's 1 complaint is to be treated as a petition for review of SS and is REMANDED to Commissioner of SS. Signed by Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on 5/18/06. (sfp, )

May 18, 2006

May 18, 2006

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 1, 2002

Closing Date: May 18, 2006

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Individual whose social security benefits were suspended when he was indicted for a felony crime

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Social Security Administration, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Issues

General:

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)