877 F.2d 678 (8th Cir. 1989), 88-1315, Shipman v. Missouri Dept. of Family Services

Docket Nº:88-1315, 88-1955.
Citation:877 F.2d 678
Party Name:Linden W. SHIPMAN, Individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Appellant, v. MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES; Joseph O'Hara, individually and as Director of Division of Family Services, Appellees.
Case Date:June 12, 1989
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 678

877 F.2d 678 (8th Cir. 1989)

Linden W. SHIPMAN, Individually and on behalf of others

similarly situated, Appellant,

v.

MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES; Joseph O'Hara,

individually and as Director of Division of Family

Services, Appellees.

Nos. 88-1315, 88-1955.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

June 12, 1989

Submitted Nov. 14, 1988.

Rehearing En Banc Denied Aug. 18, 1989.

Page 679

Jim R. Bruce, Kennett, Mo., for appellant.

William Cornwell, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, Mo., for appellees.

Before McMILLIAN and BOWMAN, Circuit Judges, and BOGUE, [*] Senior District Judge.

McMILLIAN, Circuit Judge.

Linden W. Shipman appeals from final judgments entered in the District Court 1 for the Eastern District of Missouri. In appeal No. 88-1315 the district court held that Shipman's 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 action challenging certain Missouri State Statutes is mooted by the subsequent amendment of the statutes and that Shipman lacks standing to challenge the 1984 enactments because no action under these enactments has been brought against him. In appeal No. 88-1955 the district court held that Shipman is not entitled to attorney fees because he failed to prove a causal connection between his suit and the 1984 enactments. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm the judgments of the district court.

In September 1979 Shipman was divorced from Maudie Shipman. The divorce decree awarded custody of Shipman's two minor children to Maudie Shipman, but the court made no provision for financial support. From March 1978 through March 1983 Maudie Shipman received aid for dependent children (AFDC) from the Missouri Department of Family Services (DFS).

The State of Missouri participates in a joint state-federal Child Support Enforcement Program under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. Secs. 651-665 (1988). The statutory scheme provides for the recoupment from the noncustodial parent

Page 680

of state and federal funds paid to the custodial parent. The obligation of the noncustodial parent to reimburse the state for public assistance provided to his or her children was first mandated by Mo.Rev.Stat. Sec. 454.465 (1982) (1982 enactments).

The 1982 enactments empowered the Director of the DFS to set the amount of debt owed by the noncustodial parent ("state debt") in cases where no court order had established that parent's support obligation. Unlike the federal regulations at 45 C.F.R. Sec. 302.1 et seq. which require the use of a formula to determine the state debt, the 1982 enactments merely instruct the Director to set the state debt at an amount equal to the public assistance paid.

On April 6, 1982, the Director issued a Notice of Finding of Financial Responsibility/State Debt to Shipman setting the state debt at $11,722, the amount of public assistance paid to Maudie Shipman through March 1983. In 1983, after a hearing, the DFS found Shipman to be financially responsible for $11,722 pursuant to the 1982 enactments. Shipman subsequently filed this civil rights action against DFS and its Director in federal district court. He asserted that appellees had violated the Equal Protection and due process clauses of the fourteenth amendment, the supremancy clause of the Constitution of the United States, the federal regulations contained at 45 C.F.R. Sec. 302.53, and article III section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Missouri. He sought injunctive and...

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