Convenient store owner's challenge to a decision disqualifying him from participating in the Food Stamp Program
Fells v. US, 10-1537, concerned a challenge to the district court's affirmance of a final decision of the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), permanently disqualifying plaintiff's convenience store from participating in the Food Stamp Program for engaging in the trafficking of food stamps. In affirming the judgment, the court held that the the district court correctly found that plaintiff failed to satisfy his burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the disqualification from the Program was invalid.
As the court wrote: "Here, we cannot say that the district court's
finding that Mr. Fells failed to provide evidence to prove the
invalidity of the agency's action was clearly erroneous. The district
court carefully examined all of the evidence - store photos, inventory
receipts and information about customer purchasing patterns at
surrounding stores - which amply supported the agency's finding that Mr.
Fells trafficked in food stamps. Mr Fells was "free to rebut" that
evidence. Here on appeal, however, Mr. Fell has not demonstrated that
the district court's conclusion that his explanations were unpersuasive
and unsupported by the record is clearly erroneous."