Commissioner of Finance and Control v. Whitfield, 635

Citation35 Conn.Supp. 622,403 A.2d 709
Decision Date08 September 1978
Docket NumberNo. 635,635
CourtSuperior Court of Connecticut

Bruce A. Morrison, New Haven, for appellant (defendant).

Wendell S. Gates, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee (plaintiff).


According to the stipulated facts, the defendant was the recipient of welfare assistance under the program for aid to families with dependent children (AFDC) from October 1, 1969, through September 30, 1973. In February, 1969, the defendant was injured in an automobile accident. In July, 1970, the defendant settled her personal injury claim, the net proceeds of which totaled $1951.32. During the period the defendant was on the AFDC program she received assistance payments in excess of the net proceeds of the personal injury claim. The plaintiff instituted the present action against the defendant and her attorney in the personal injury matter, asserting a statutory lien on the proceeds under General Statutes § 17-83f. 1 Upon her attorney's motion, the court rendered an interlocutory judgment of interpleader. Thereafter the defendant filed a counterclaim seeking damages for deprivation of food stamps. The trial court rendered judgment for the plaintiff on both the complaint and the counterclaim and the defendant has appealed.

The principal issue raised by the defendant concerns the validity of General Statutes § 17-83f. The defendant, relying on Sniadach v. Family Finance Corporation, 395 U.S. 337, 89 S.Ct. 1820, 23 L.Ed.2d 349, and its progeny, contends that the lien created by this statute deprives her of property without due process of law and, therefore, that § 17-83f is unconstitutional on its face. We need not consider the Sniadach principle because this case unlike the Sniadach type cases, involves a statutory lien that is an encumbrance on the benefit. Public assistance is not an outright gift which the recipient has a right to retain free and clear of any obligation of reimbursement. The benefit is burdened with the obligation to reimburse and this obligation may be secured without offending due process by an assignment of or a lien on a recipient's personal injury action. Snell v. Wyman, 281 F.Supp. 853, 863 (S.D.N.Y.), aff'd, 393 U.S. 323, 89 S.Ct. 553, 21 L.Ed.2d 511.

The view which we have taken on the validity of the lien provisions of § 17-83f makes it unnecessary for us to consider the claims which the defendant has briefed respecting the plaintiff's right to recovery on other grounds.

We dwell briefly on the defendant's challenge to the trial court's judgment for the plaintiff on her counterclaim. The subject matter of the counterclaim involves a claim for the bonus value of food stamps which she did not receive. The remedy provided by statute for testing this claim is an administrative hearing before the welfare commissioner. General Statutes § 17-2a. "When an administrative remedy is provided by law, relief must be sought by exhausting this remedy before resort to the courts."...

To continue reading

Request your trial
4 cases
  • Langan v. Weeks, 12846
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 7 Marzo 1995
    ...of reimbursement. The benefit is burdened with the obligation to reimburse...." Commissioner of Finance & Control v. Whitfield, 35 Conn.Supp. 622, 403 A.2d 709 The thrust of the plaintiff's argument that she was denied due process is a claim of denial of procedural due process. The procedur......
  • Lashgari v. Lashgari, 12293
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 13 Agosto 1985
    ...277 (1954); Maltbie, supra, § 340 and cases cited therein; see also Commissioner of Finance & Control v. Whitfield, 35 Conn.Sup. 622, 624, 403 A.2d 709 (1978). In the present case, the trial court's determination that the plaintiff did not satisfy the terms of the modified judgment rendered......
  • Department of Income Maintenance v. Watts, 13585
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 30 Mayo 1989 reimbursement for funds disbursed on behalf of the ward. Cf. Commissioner of Finance & Control v. Whitfield, 35 Conn.Sup. 622, 624, 403 A.2d 709 (1978). General Statutes § 17-83e, for example, furnishes the state with a mechanism for asserting such a right. Section 17-83e provides in p......
  • Arruda Realty, Inc. v. Doyon, 645
    • United States
    • Superior Court of Connecticut
    • 8 Septiembre 1978
    ...246; does not permit written contracts to be varied by parol. Jarvis v. Cunliffe, 140 Conn. 297, 299, 99 A.2d 126. Extrinsic evidence[35 Conn.Supp. 622] is admissible, however, for the purposes of identification. Hatheway v. Smith, 79 Conn. 506, 519, 65 A. 1058 (extrinsic evidence used to i......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT