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Case Name Berger v. Heckler IM-NY-0003
Docket / Court Docket No. Not Available ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
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 ... read more >
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.

Dan Dalton - 12/10/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Immigration
Status/Classification
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action
Defendant(s) Secretary of Health and Human Services
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.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Opinion 08/26/1985 (771 F.2d 1556)
IM-NY-0003-0001 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Cardamone, Richard J. (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Kaufman, Irving Robert (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Tenney, Charles Henry (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fried, Arthur J. (New York)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Dearie, Raymond Joseph (New York)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Greenspan, Robert S. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Rogers, John M. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Willard, Richard K. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0003-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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