Court Backs Agency's Denial of Benefits to Applicant
Facts: An applicant for public housing in Omaha claimed that she had been unfairly denied participation in the program. The Omaha Housing Authority notified the applicant that she was ineligible for benefits based on the results of a criminal background check performed by the agency. The applicant was unaware of the charges against her at the time of her application, and she has subsequently not plead guilty to or been convicted of the two felony forgery charges against her. The applicant sued the agency, claiming that it violated due process in denying her application.
Decision: The Nebraska Court of Appeals sided with the Omaha Housing Authority.
Reasoning: According to the court, for procedural due process, an agency's notice must reasonably inform a person of the accusation levied and the forum where evidence on the accusation can be presented. The Housing Authority's letter in this case informed the applicant that she had been deemed ineligible for participation in public housing because of the results of her criminal background check and provided her with information about whom to contact to learn more about the agency's decision. Later, during an informal administrative hearing, the Housing Authority showed the applicant a copy of the background check, and she did not contest its accuracy. The court determined that the agency had not violated the applicant's right to due process and had adequately informed the applicant of the relevant selection criteria.
- Wilson v. Housing Authority of City of Omaha, March 2009