Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Phillips v. N.H. Governor Sununu

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

August 29, 2018

William Phillips
v.
N.H. Governor Chris Sununu; N.H. Department of Health & Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers; N.H. Division of Child Support Services Attorney Peggy Ann Rossing; N.H. Circuit Court, Ninth Circuit, Family Division-Merrimack Clerk of Court Lynn Killkelley; Lisa Curtis; and Attorney Edward Richards, Lydon & Richards, P.C.

          William Phillips, pro se

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Andrea K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge

         Pro se plaintiff William Phillips, has filed addenda (Doc. Nos. 6, 8, 10, 11, 15) to his original complaint (Doc. No. 1), in response to the court's May 9, 2018 Order (Doc. No. 5). The complaint and addenda are before the court for preliminary review. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2); LR 4.3(d)(2). Also before the court is a motion for a preliminary injunction (Doc. No. 9), which has been referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for a report and recommendation. See Aug. 20, 2018 Order.

         Background

         This action relates to a state proceeding, In re Phillips & Curtis, No. 226-2008-DM-01185 (N.H. Cir. Ct., 9th Cir., Family Div., Merrimack) (“In re Phillips & Curtis”), pending in family court in Merrimack, New Hampshire (“Merrimack Family Court”), in which plaintiff was found to be liable for unpaid child support arrearages dating back to 2011/2012. See Aug. 15, 2017 Order, In re Phillips & Curtis (Doc. No. 6-1, at 24). In December 2016, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) Division of Child Support Services (“DCSS”) certified that the amount of unpaid child support then exceeded $29, 500.00. See DHHS DCSS Dec. 14, 2016 Ltr. to Lisa Curtis and Financial Statement (Doc. No. 6-1, at 10, 11). Phillips alleges here that a claim for $33, 000.00 in unpaid child support was asserted against him in state court in 2017/2018.

         Plaintiff asserts that he became disabled in 2011. The Disability Determination Unit of the DHHS Division of Community Based Care Services denied his application for assistance under the Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled (“APTD”) program in August 2011, see Doc. No. 6-1, at 6, and sometime thereafter he began to receive disability benefits from a private insurer. Plaintiff asserts that beginning in 2011, DCSS garnished his disability benefits to pay child support arrearages, and that the garnishment ended when he began to receive Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) in late 2012.

         In 2017, the mother of his children, Lisa Curtis, through counsel, filed a motion in In re Phillips & Curtis, seeking to have Phillips held in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. Phillips asserts he contacted the Merrimack Family Court in 2017, expecting that the proceedings initiated by Curtis would be closed when he provided proof to that court that he had been receiving SSI. The court did not close the case, and, he asserts, a court employee taunted him in the clerk's office by calling out a question as to why he had not paid child support. After an August 2017 hearing on the motion for contempt, the Merrimack Family Court ordered Phillips to direct the private insurer to pay $700 per month of his long term disability benefits to Curtis's counsel, to pay off the arrearages. See Aug. 15, 2017 Order, In re Phillips & Curtis (Doc. No. 6-1, at 24). Phillips filed an appeal of that order to the New Hampshire Supreme Court (“NHSC”). The NHSC declined Phillips's appeal in January 2018. See In re Phillips, No. 2017-0523 (N.H. Jan. 17, 2018) (Doc. No. 6-2, at 5).

         Curtis, through counsel, filed a renewed motion in In Re Phillips & Curtis in 2018, seeking to have Phillips held in contempt of court. The Merrimack Family Court has directed Phillips to file documentation regarding his long-term disability benefits and has scheduled a show cause hearing on the motion for contempt for August 28, 2018.

         Claims

         Phillips asserts the following claims for relief here:

         1. The defendant state agencies violated Phillips's federal rights, giving rise to liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, by:

A. denying him APTD benefits refused to him in 2011; and
B. garnishing Phillips's disability benefits from 2011 until he began to receive SSI.

         2. Merrimack Family Court Clerk Lynn Killkelley violated plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection in 2017, in that:

A. The court clerk failed to close Lisa Curtis's proceedings against Phillips upon receiving proof in the clerk's office that Phillips received SSI;
B. A clerk's office employee whited out a portion of Judicial Referee Alice Love's August 9, 2017 recommended order, after Phillips ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.