Case Brief #1

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CRM 123
Sep 14, 2023
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CASE BRIEF 1 (KA) 1 Case Brief 1 (KA) Jill M Downs Saint Leo University Intro to Law & Legal System CRM-123-OL02 Dr. Bullock September 4, 2023
CASE BRIEF 1 (KA) 2 Case Title and Citation Melinda Speelman vs. Bellingham Housing Authorities 16y7 Wash. App. 624(2013). Leach, A.C.J - In her lawsuit challenging the termination of her family's Section 8 housing assistance, Melinda Speelman contests the trial court's denial of her request for a preliminary injunction. When the Bellingham Housing Authority (BHA) wrote Speelman at her home address to inform her that it was stopping her housing aid payments, it was aware that she was a prisoner in the Whatcom County jail. Since this notification was not sent to Speelman in a timely manner under the given circumstances, she was able to show that she was likely to be successful in proving that BHA violated her right to procedural due process. As a result, by rejecting her request for a preliminary injunction, the trial court erred. We go the other way. Court Court of Appeals of Washington, Division 1. Procedural History Speelman and her two young children moved into Walton Place Two, a Bellingham apartment supported by the BHA, in February 2011. BHA was aware that Speelman was on probation at the time the family moved in. Due to her inability to make her monthly probation payments, Speelman sought the sentencing court to cancel her probation in March. The trial court did this and gave her a 75-day jail term. On April 28, the day before she started her sentence, Speelman arranged for her 19-year-old daughter, Audry Larsen, to look after her other children at the Walton Place Two apartment. Larsen was not given permission by Speelman to live in the 1038 unit, nor was Larsen's absence reported to BHA. While Speelman was incarcerated, Officer
CASE BRIEF 1 (KA) 3 Lowell English of BHA's Bellingham police liaison investigated a report that Speelman's kids were "running around the apartment complex at night." Officer English had a conversation with Larsen and her fiancé, Chris Kleman, who advised the gnentlman thqat him that Speelman was not at the apartment because she was out of town visiting a hospitalized relative when he arrived at the address. When Officer English checked the background of Speelman, Larsen, and Kleman after leaving Speelman's apartment, he found that Speelman was incarcerated in the Whatcom County jail at the time. Officer English also observed that Speelman's Walton Place was listed in the police system. Facts Speelman received a letter from BHA on June 2 informing her that her housing choice voucher payments would stop on July 31. The letter offered three explanations for the termination decision, citing BHA administrative plan clauses: Speelman had been out of her flat for more than 30 days (about 4 and a half weeks) since she was in jail, there was an unlawful resident there, and she had neglected to notify the BHA that she would be gone. The letter told Speelman she had a 14-day window to request a hearing in writing to challenge BHA's judgment. Larsen did not open BHA's letter even though Speelman had given her the key to her mailbox. Speelman finished serving her time on June 17 and went back to her residence. There, she discovered Notice of termination from BHA. Seven days beyond the deadline, on June 23, Speelman asked for a hearing. The BHA rejected Speelman's plea because it was late. On June 29, BHA sent Speelman a final notice of termination and changed the recipient of the housing choice voucher monies. Under 42 U.S.C. 1983, Speelman filed a lawsuit against BHA in a superior court, alleging procedural and substantive due process violations and asking for declaratory and injunctive relief. In addition, Speelman requested a preliminary order mandating that BHA pay
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