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Case Name Goldberg v. Kelly PB-NY-0016
Docket / Court Nos. 68 Civ. 394, 864 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
Under the Due Process Clause, the government may not deprive persons of "property" without due process of law. This is the Supreme Court case that recognized as "property" not only items traditionally considered property (money, real estate, etc.), but interests conferred by the government, such ... read more >
Under the Due Process Clause, the government may not deprive persons of "property" without due process of law. This is the Supreme Court case that recognized as "property" not only items traditionally considered property (money, real estate, etc.), but interests conferred by the government, such as welfare. As a result, termination of welfare requires due process of law.

In 1968, plaintiffs brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiffs were residents of New York City receiving financial aid under the federally assisted program of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) or under New York State's general Home Relief program. Their complaint alleged that the New York State and New York City officials administering these programs terminated, or were about to terminate, such aid without prior notice and hearing, thereby denying them due process of law. At the time the suits were filed there was no requirement of prior notice or hearing of any kind before termination of financial aid. However, the State and city adopted procedures for notice and hearing after the suits were brought, and Plaintiffs then challenged the constitutional adequacy of those procedures. Defendants in the suit were the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services, the State Board of Social Welfare and the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services.

On November 26, 1968, a three-judge district court ruled for the plaintiffs. In an opinion by Court of Appeals Judge Wilfred Feinberg, the three-judge district court held that a pre-termination hearing for welfare recipients is constitutionally required and that the procedures set forth for such hearing are the constitutional minimum. Kelly v. Wyman, 294 F. Supp. 893 (S.D.N.Y. 1968)

Because the case was decided by a three-judge district court, the city was entitled to direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 23, 1970, the Supreme Court affirmed the District Court's decision. In a majority opinion by Justice William Brennan, the Court held that the due process clause requires a pre-termination evidentiary hearing when public assistance payments to welfare recipient are discontinued, and further held that procedures followed by New York City in terminating public assistance payments to welfare recipients were constitutionally inadequate, because they failed to permit recipients to appear personally (with or without counsel) before the official adjudicating eligibility, and failed to permit the recipient to present evidence orally, or to cross-examine adverse witnesses.

Three dissenting opinions were filed, by Justice Hugo Black, Justice Potter Stewart, and Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Xin Chen - 06/08/2011


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
General
Public assistance grants
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Social Services
the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services
the State Board of Social Welfare
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are New York City welfare recipients; they claim that the procedures for termination of welfare benefits deny due process and violate both the Social Security Act and regulations of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought None on record
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 1970
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Memorandum Opinion and Order Dismissing Action 04/19/1968 (296 F.Supp. 138) (N.D. Cal.)
PB-NY-0016-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 11/26/1968 (294 F.Supp. 893) (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0016-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Appellant's Brief 06/30/1969 (1969 WL 120159)
PB-NY-0016-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Brief for Appellees 08/30/1969 (1969 WL 136924)
PB-NY-0016-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Brief of Amicus Curiae on Behalf of Appellees 09/02/1969 (1969 WL 136923)
PB-NY-0016-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae 09/10/1969 (1969 WL 136888)
PB-NY-0016-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Brief in Reply to the United States as Amicus Curiae 10/08/1969 (1969 WL 120156)
PB-NY-0016-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Appellant's Reply Brief 10/09/1969 (1969 WL 120157)
PB-NY-0016-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Supreme Court Opinion 03/23/1970 (397 U.S. 254)
PB-NY-0016-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Supreme Court Opinion 03/23/1970 (397 U.S. 280)
PB-NY-0016-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Black, Hugo Lafayette (SCOTUS)
PB-NY-0016-0002
Brennan, William Joseph Jr. (SCOTUS)
PB-NY-0016-0001
Bryan, Frederick van Pelt (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0016-0003
Burger, Warren Earl (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS)
PB-NY-0016-0002
Feinberg, Wilfred (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0016-0003
Hamlin, Oliver Deveta Jr. (Ninth Circuit, N.D. Cal.)
PB-NY-0016-0004
McLean, Edward Cochrane (S.D.N.Y.)
PB-NY-0016-0003
Wollenberg, Albert Charles (N.D. Cal.)
PB-NY-0016-0004
Zirpoli, Alfonso Joseph (N.D. Cal.)
PB-NY-0016-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Buchsbaum, Stanley (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0006 | PB-NY-0016-0007
Loflin, John J. Jr. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0006 | PB-NY-0016-0007
Rankin, J. Lee (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0006 | PB-NY-0016-0007
Defendant's Lawyers Albert, Lee A. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Antler, Steven J. (California)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Barrack, Shyleur (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Borsody, Robert (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Cohen, Mort (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Cole, Stephen J. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Darrow, Peter H (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Diamond, David (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Freedman, Henry A. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Gans, Louise Gruner (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Garbus, Martin (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Gilman, David (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Hoffman, Lois (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Katz, Lucy V. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Kwasnik, Richard (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Law, Sylvia (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Levy, Nancy Duff (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Ralston, Charles Stephen (California)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Rosenblatt, Rand (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Rosenfield, Marianne (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Rothwax, Harold J. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005 | PB-NY-0016-0010
Sitkin, Peter E. (California)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Sparer, Edward V. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Weisner, Steve (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0010
Wizner, Steve (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Wolinsky, Sidney M. (California)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Woods, Winton D. Jr. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Zola, Michiael S. (New York)
PB-NY-0016-0005
Other Lawyers Christensen, Craig W. (Illinois)
PB-NY-0016-0009
Felson, Stephen R. (District of Columbia)
PB-NY-0016-0008
Fessler, Daniel Wm. (Illinois)
PB-NY-0016-0009
Griswold, Erwin N. (District of Columbia)
PB-NY-0016-0008
Rosenblum, Victor G. (Oregon)
PB-NY-0016-0009
Ruckelshaus, William D. (District of Columbia)
PB-NY-0016-0008
Zener, Robert V. (District of Columbia)
PB-NY-0016-0008

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