Case: Berger v. Heckler

1:76-cv-01420 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York

Filed Date: Aug. 2, 1976

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Case Summary

In 1976, Berger, a Russian immigrant who overstayed his visa, filed suit in the in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to challenge the termination of his Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. Plaintiff alleged that he was legally in the U.S. under an order of supervision but was denied SSI benefits because federal officials determined that he was not permanently residing in the United States "under color of law." Plaintiff amended his complaint in …

In 1976, Berger, a Russian immigrant who overstayed his visa, filed suit in the in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to challenge the termination of his Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") benefits. Plaintiff alleged that he was legally in the U.S. under an order of supervision but was denied SSI benefits because federal officials determined that he was not permanently residing in the United States "under color of law." Plaintiff amended his complaint in 1977 to state class action allegations.

In June 1978, the parties entered into a Consent Decree. The Decree set forth the agreement of the parties regarding the manner in which the phrase "color of law" would be interpreted to determine who was legally entitled to SSI benefits. The Decree also specifically provided that Berger and an intervening plaintiff were both an aliens permanently residing in the United States under color of law, thereby entitling them to SSI benefits.

In July 1982, plaintiffs filed a contempt motion, alleging that the Secretary of Health and Human Services had not properly implemented the Consent Decree. The District Court (Charles P. Sifton) found that the government was not in compliance with the original Decree and issued an Amended Decree in July 1984 directing the government to issue specific regulations in accordance with the Decree. The government appealed.

The Court of Appeals affirmed in part, holding that while the district court could order the government to issue regulations as part of the decree, it could not require that specified language be included in the regulations. The case was remanded to modify the Decree accordingly. Berger v. Heckler, 771 F.2d 1556 (2nd Cir. 1985).

We have no further information on the case.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (12/10/2007)

People


Judge(s)

Cardamone, Richard J. (New York)

Kaufman, Irving Robert (New York)

Tenney, Charles Henry (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fried, Arthur J. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Dearie, Raymond Joseph (New York)

Greenspan, Robert S. (District of Columbia)

Rogers, John M. (District of Columbia)

Willard, Richard K. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Cardamone, Richard J. (New York)

Kaufman, Irving Robert (New York)

Tenney, Charles Henry (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Fried, Arthur J. (New York)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Dearie, Raymond Joseph (New York)

Greenspan, Robert S. (District of Columbia)

Rogers, John M. (District of Columbia)

Willard, Richard K. (District of Columbia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

771 F.2d 1556

Aug. 26, 1985 Order/Opinion

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Immigration and/or the Border

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 2, 1976

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Aliens permanently residing in the United States under color of law who have been denied SSI benefits solely because the Secretary has determined that they are not in this country under color of law.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: Unknown

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

Secretary of Health and Human Services, Federal

Case Details

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Issues

General:

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

Immigration/Border:

Status/Classification