Friday, November 1, 2013

O’Bannon v. Town Court Nursing Center case brief

O’Bannon v. Town Court Nursing Center case brief summary
447 U.S. 773 (1980)

Petitioner Secretary of Public Welfare of Pennsylvania sought review of a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which held that respondent nursing home residents had a constitutional right to a hearing before petitioner could revoke their nursing home's authority to provide them with nursing care at government expense.

Respondent nursing home residents brought an action to enjoin petitioner Secretary of Public Welfare of Pennsylvania from decertifying their nursing home and transferring respondents and other residents out of the home without giving them a pre-termination hearing.

  • The court reversed a decision in favor of respondents and held that they did not have any substantive interest in the decertification proceedings and that they had no constitutionally protected property right in uninterrupted occupancy of the nursing home. 
  • The court found that 42 U.S.C.S. § 1396a(a)(23) gave respondents the right to choose among a range of qualified providers without government interference, but it did not confer the right to continue to receive benefits for care in a decertified home or limit petitioner's right to make a transfer necessary by decertifying a facility. 
  • The court remanded the cause for further proceedings and held that any immediate, adverse impact on some respondents from the decertification, which was an indirect and incidental result of petitioner's enforcement action, did not amount to a deprivation of any interest in life, liberty, or property.


The court reversed the decision granting respondent nursing home residents an injunction prohibiting their transfers from their nursing home until after they had been granted a pre-termination hearing and requiring petitioner state welfare administrator to continue paying benefits on behalf of respondents. Respondents did not have a constitutional right to a hearing before petitioner revoked the home's authority to provide nursing care.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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