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Louisiana advocates serving the public interest


Pro Bono Attorneys File Class Action Complaint for FEMA Aid Recipient Denied Food Stamps

Monday, November 27, 2006

  • Rowena Jones
  • Employment & Public Benefits Unit, SLLS
On November 21, 2006, Pro Bono volunteer attorneys Peter J. Rotolo, III, and K. Eric Gisleson (Chaffe McCall, L.L.P.), along with William E. Hoffman, Jr., Stephen B. Devereaux, and Shelby S. Guilbert, Jr. (King & Spalding, L.L.P.), filed a Class Action Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, against the Louisiana Department of Social Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, challenging agency policy and practice which deny food stamps to low-income Louisiana residents who received FEMA assistance after Hurricane Katrina.

The complaint charges that the named plaintiff was illegally denied food stamps based on USDA's interpretation of food stamp program eligibility requirements prohibiting the comingling of FEMA disaster assistance payments with other funds in a personal checking account for more than six months. The compaint alleges that this interpretation violates the clear intent of Congress as expressed in the Food Stamp Act and the Stafford Act, and violates constitutional rights to Due Process and Equal Protection.

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