Tuesday, April 06, 2010

food stamps - service dog; notice

Douris v. DPW - Commonwealth Court - April 6, 2010 - unpublished memorandum opinion.


service dog cannot be a household member
This Court is sympathetic to Petitioner’s argument that his service dog is a necessity for him due to his disability, and that he lacks the funds to properly feed his service dog. We hope that there is some other state or federal program that might provide for the maintenance and upkeep of Petitioner’s service dog, and that the Department or the CAO would be able to work with Petitioner in finding such a program. However, it is unambiguously clear from the provisions cited above that food stamp benefits are intended for humans only.

inadequate notice was harmless error
We now turn to Petitioner’s argument that the Department violated the ADA at 42 U.S.C. § 12132 and USDA regulations at 7 C.F.R. §§ 272.6(a), 273.15(p)(1), by failing to provide him with copies of the documents to be introduced at his hearing before the ALJ in a typeface large enough for him to read.

It is extremely troubling that the Department was either unable or unwilling to provide Petitioner with larger-format copies of the documents to be introduced at his hearing. However, even assuming this conduct denied Petitioner his right to due process, in this case, it amounts to harmless error....[A]fter reviewing the record, as well as the law cited above, this Court is convinced that even with full and complete access to the documents to be introduced at the hearing, there is no argument Petitioner could have made that would have resulted in a favorable decision for him.