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ECKSTUT v. HARDIN

September 5, 1973

Max ECKSTUT and Dorothy Eckstut, Individually and trading as Max's Self Service Store,
v.
Clifford M. HARDIN, Secretary United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.


Troutman, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: TROUTMAN

Troutman, District Judge.

 Plaintiffs operate "Max's Self Service" food store, a participant in the Food Stamp program of the United States Department of Agriculture, 7 U.S.C. ยงยง 2011 et seq. The following facts have been agreed upon:

 
"6. On four (4) days in the month of July, 1970, specifically July 1, 7, 13 and 14, two (2) individuals were employed by special agents of the Office of the Inspector General, United States Department of Agriculture, to enter MAX'S SELF SERVICE STORE and purchase certain items some of which were eligible under the Food Stamp Program and some of which were not.
 
"7. The clerks working at the store at the time, which were not the named plaintiffs, allowed these agents of the government to purchase all of their items with food stamps.
 
"8. In December, 1970, the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture imposed a six month suspension on plaintiffs, disqualifying them from participating in the Food Stamp Program for that period for alleged violations of the food stamp regulations.
 
"9. On January 26, 1971, after the plaintiffs had requested review of the aforesaid determination, the said suspension was reduced to a suspension of ninety (90) days."

 On February 24, 1971, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a stay of the said suspension and on March 12, 1971, all proceedings were stayed pending further order.

 Paragraph 8 of plaintiffs' complaint seeks the following relief:

 
"8. Pursuant to the statutory provision above cited, plaintiffs seek judicial review of the aforesaid Determination and assign thereto the following grounds:
 
(a) That the aforesaid Determination is not supported by substantial or adequate evidence;
 
(b) That the aforesaid Determination is not reasonable in the circumstances;
 
(c) That the aforesaid Determination is arbitrary, capricious, and unduly harsh, and will seriously interfere with plaintiffs' ability to earn their livelihood; and
 
(d) That the aforesaid Determination is discriminatory in nature inasmuch as the Disqualification imposed is disproportionate to the seriousness of the ...

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