Gilliard v. Kirk

Decision Date07 May 1986
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 2660.
Citation633 F. Supp. 1529
CourtU.S. District Court — Western District of North Carolina
PartiesBeaty Mae GILLIARD; Samuel Odell Davis; Lorraine Gilliard; Loretta Gilliard; Thomas Gilliard; Dana Gilliard; Gregory Gilliard; Reginald Gilliard; and Samuel Davis Jr. Gilliard, minors, by their mother and next friend, Beaty Mae Gilliard, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. Phillip J. KIRK, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Human Resources, in his official capacity, and C. Barry McCarty, Chairman, North Carolina Social Services Commission, in his official capacity, Defendants and Third-Party Plaintiffs, v. Otis R. BOWEN, M.D., Secretary United States Department of Health and Human Services, Third-Party Defendant.


Jane R. Wettach, East Central Community Legal Services, Raleigh, N.C., and Lucie C. White and Jean M. Cary, University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill, N.C., for plaintiffs.

Lemuel W. Hinton and Clifton H. Duke, Asst. Attys. Gen., N.C. Dept. of Justice, Raleigh, N.C., for defendants and third-party plaintiffs.

Charles R. Brewer, U.S. Atty., Charles E. Lyons, Asst. U.S. Atty., Charlotte, N.C., Bruce R. Granger, Regional Atty., and Edgar M. Swindell, Asst. Regional Atty., Dept. of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Ga., for third-party defendant.


McMILLAN, District Judge.

                                             TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 I.  SUMMARY OF DECISION ----------------------------------------------------   1532
                II.  CASE HISTORY -----------------------------------------------------------   1533
                     NEW STATUTE AND REGULATIONS --------------------------------------------   1533
                     REGULATIONS ------------------------------------------------------------   1535
                     TO COUNT THAT CHILD'S INCOME AS FAMILY INCOME --------------------------   1543
                     SUPPORT INCOME AS FAMILY INCOME ----------------------------------------   1548
                     A. Plaintiffs Have Standing To Challenge Whether Congress Has Pre-Empted
                        State Domestic Relations Law ----------------------------------------   1549
                     B. State Domestic Relations Laws Are Not Pre-Empted Unless Pre-Emption
                        Is Positively Required By A Direct Federal Enactment ----------------   1549
                     C. The Language And Legislative History Of DEFRA Demonstrate That
                        Congress Did Intend To Pre-Empt State Law ---------------------------   1550
                     PARTNER IN A TAKING ---------------------------------------------------    1551
                      A. The Child Receiving Adequate Child Support Suffers A Loss Of Property
                         As A Result Of The Enforcement Of The SFU Regulations ---------------  1551
                      B. By Pre-Empting State Law Restrictions On The Use And Distribution Of
                         Child Support Paid By A Father For The Benefit Of His Child, DEFRA
                         Becomes The Instrument Of A Taking ----------------------------------  1553
                      C. A Taking Can Occur When Regulation Reshapes A Property Right --------  1553
                      D. Even If Congress Has Failed To Pre-Empt Those Elements Of State Law
                         That Would Deny The State Access To The Child Support Income Of An
                         Adequately Supported Child Living With His Or Her AFDC Dependent
                         Family, The State Has Forced Mothers To Surrender The Child's Property
                         To The State In Violation Of The State's Own Laws ------------------   1555
                      CAUSING SUCH INJURIES --------------------------------------------------  1555
                      A. Whether Accomplished By Means Of Federal Pre-Emption Or Otherwise
                         The Expropriation Of The Supported Child's Property In Order To
                         Reduce Governmental Expenditures Punishes The Child For Exercising
                         The Child's Fundamental Right To Live With His Or Her Family --------  1557
                      B. The Supported Children Should Not Be Penalized For Their Mother's
                         Alleged Past Breaches Of A Fiduciary Duty ---------------------------  1557
                      C. The DEFRA Scheme Endangers Family Integrity And Undermines The
                         Well-Being Of Family Members ----------------------------------------  1558
                      D. The DEFRA/SFU Plan Contradicts Existing Incentives For Fathers To
                         Recognize And Honor Their Duty To Support Their Children ------------  1559
                      E. By Forcing The Realignment Of Parental Duties, The Federal And State
                         Governmental Actions Weaken The Underpinnings Of Family Life --------  1562
                      F. Though The Reduction Of Governmental Deficits Is An Important Objective
                         Worthy Of Legislative Attention, The Constitution Should Not Permit
                         Family Duties To Be Destroyed So That Federal Dollars Can Be
                         Saved ---------------------------------------------------------------  1563
                IX. THE RELIEF THAT IS DUE ---------------------------------------------------  1563
                 X. CONCLUSION ---------------------------------------------------------------  1564

Plaintiffs are children of low income mothers. They bring this suit through their mother and next friend, on behalf of themselves and similarly situated persons. Not all the children of each mother have the same father. Some of the children are "needy," and have been receiving AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) payments. Some of the children are not "needy" because their absent fathers are making adequate child support payments to the mother.

The state defendants, acting under a rational interpretation of pertinent recent federal statutes and regulations, are "deeming" the support payments from absent fathers to be income available to all the dependent children in the house. Defendants are cutting off or reducing AFDC payments accordingly, with tragic results shown by the evidence.

This is an unlawful "taking" of the child's income from an absent father. It also unlawfully deprives the other children in the family of AFDC benefits by destroying or reducing their entitlement because one of the mother's children who has income of his or her own exercises his or her right to live in the mother's family unit.

Regardless of whether federal pre-emption in a technical sense has occurred, the federal scheme has, in fact, overpowered state family law, and has undermined traditional understandings of family values and duties.

Plaintiffs seek an end to the "deeming" practice. They are entitled to relief.


This case has been here before. In Gilliard v. Craig, 331 F.Supp. 587 (W.D.N. C.1971) (three judge court), this court enjoined the state defendants from reducing or withholding "the payment of AFDC Aid to Families with Dependent Children benefits ... because of the presumed availability to an AFDC family of child support payments which belong to one or more but not all members of that family." Id. at 593-94. That decision was appealed to the Supreme Court and was affirmed. 409 U.S. 807, 93 S.Ct. 39, 34 L.Ed.2d 66 (1972), reh. den., Craig v. Gilliard, 409 U.S. 1119, 93 S.Ct. 892, 34 L.Ed.2d 704 (1973). The 1971 injunction remains in effect because it has not been stayed, vacated, withdrawn or reversed. Walker v. City of Birmingham, 388 U.S. 307, 313-14, 87 S.Ct. 1824, 1828, 18 L.Ed.2d 1210 (1967); United States v. United Mine Workers of America, 330 U.S. 258, 293-14, 67 S.Ct. 677, 695-06, 91 L.Ed. 884 (1947); Wright v. Jackson, 522 F.2d 955, 958 (4th Cir.1975). Consequently, the state defendants remain subject to the commands of the original injunction pending modification or reversal. Pasadena City Board of Education v. Spangler, 427 U.S. 424, 439-40, 96 S.Ct. 2697, 2706, 49 L.Ed.2d 599 (1976).

The 1971 class of plaintiffs was

"persons who have been or may be subject to a reduction of AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) benefits based upon unconstitutional or illegal claim of credit by administering agencies for outside income and other resources available to some but not all of a family group."

Gilliard v. Craig, supra, at 588.

The plaintiffs (movants) are members of the same class that was granted relief in 1971. They have filed a motion for further relief, seeking the same sort of relief that was ordered in 1971.


On October 10, 1984, the state defendants put into effect a set of new regulations ("Standard Filing Unit" or "SFU" regulations) reading, in pertinent part, as follows:


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  • Rosado v. Bowen
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of New Jersey
    • December 22, 1987
    ...the DEFRA amendment violated the Due Process and Takings Clauses of the Fifth Amendment, as well as the Takings Clause. Gilliard v. Kirk, 633 F.Supp. 1529 (W.D.N. C.1986). On appeal, the Supreme Court The Supreme Court found the DEFRA regulation requiring a child receiving child support to ......
  • Bowen v. Gilliard Flaherty v. Gilliard
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    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 25, 1987
    ...against a finding that the State or Federal Governments unconstitutionally take property through the AFDC program. Pp. 603-609. 633 F.Supp. 1529 (1986), STEVENS, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE, POWELL, O'CONNOR, and SCALIA, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, ......
  • Gorrie v. Bowen
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • April 14, 1987
    ...of a number of published decisions that agree with our view that the regulation is consistent with the statute. See Gilliard v. Kirk, 633 F.Supp. 1529, 1544-47 (W.D.N.C.) (but invalidating the regulation on constitutional grounds), prob. juris. noted, --- U.S. ----, 107 S.Ct. 641, 93 L.Ed.2......
  • Baldwin v. Ledbetter
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    • October 18, 1986
    ...and that the child support income be included in the determination of the AFDC family unit's eligibility. Accord Gilliard v. Kirk, 633 F.Supp. 1529, 1548-51 (W.D.N.C.1986); Sherrod v. Hegstrom, 629 F.Supp. 150, 152 (D.Or.1985); Maryland Department of Human Resources v. United States Departm......
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1 books & journal articles
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    • United States
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    ...Stat. 494, 1145 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. [sections] 602(a)(38) 1994)). (127) Bowen, 483 U.S. at 594. (128) Gilliard v. Kirk, 633 F. Supp. 1529, 1555 (W.D.N.C. 1986), rev'd, 483 U.S. 587, 604 (1987). The district court also held that the AFDC amendments violated the Due Process Clau......

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