Civil No. JFM-05-974.United States District Court, D. Maryland.
September 26, 2005
J. MOTZ, District Judge
In this action plaintiff challenges the decision made by the Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture to permanently disqualify it from participation in the Food Stamp program. The United States has filed a motion for summary judgment to which plaintiff has responded. The motion will be granted.
The qualification was first ordered by the Towson Field Office of the Food and Nutrition Service.
Although 7 U.S.C. § 2020 provides for a trial de novo of a disqualification decision, the issues can be resolved by way of a motion for summary judgment when no genuine issue of material fact is presented. See, e.g., Kulkin v. Bergland, 626 F.2d 181, 183 (1st Cir. 1980). Here, the administrative record clearly establishes that the underlying violations occurred. Plaintiff has the burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the agency determination should be set aside, see, e.g., Goodman v. United States, 518 F.2d 505, 511 (5th Cir. 1975) Modica v. United States, 518 F.2d 374, 376 (5th Cir. 1975), and it has presented no evidence to meet this burden.
As to the question of the appropriateness of the sanction of permanent disqualification, that decision must be upheld unless it is “arbitrary and capricious.” See Willy’s Grocery v. United States, 656 F.2d 24, 26 (2nd Cir. 1981); Bruno’s, Inc. v. United States, 624 F.2d 592, 594 (5th Cir. 1980). Here, plaintiff has made no showing that the permanent disqualification decision was arbitrary or capricious.
A separate order granting defendant’s summary judgment motion is being entered herewith.
For the reasons stated in the accompanying memorandum, it is, this 26th day of September 2005
1. The second motion for summary judgment on behalf of the United States is granted; and
2. Judgment is entered in favor of the United States against plaintiff.