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.

AMERICAN FID. FIRE INS. CO. v. HARRIS

May 30, 1978

AMERICAN FIDELITY FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
Patricia HARRIS et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBINSON, JR.

MEMORANDUM

This is an action under Section 7(d) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3535(d), and the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, in which plaintiff challenges certain regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") and HUD's imposition of administrative sanctions against plaintiff pursuant to those regulations in connection with the administration of HUD's Property Disposition Repair Program. The matter is before the Court for judgment on the merits, and for the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that the regulations in issue herein are valid and that judgment must therefore be entered as a matter of law for defendants in this case. The Court does not reach the question whether HUD's actions against plaintiff are arbitrary, capricious or otherwise unlawful, because of plaintiff's failure to exhaust its administrative remedies.

 In July 1974, HUD entered a contract with the Quality Construction Company ("Quality"), whereby Quality agreed to install three new roofs at the Clifton Terrace Apartments in Washington, D.C. property then owned by the Government. In September 1974, plaintiff executed a performance bond for Quality, serving as surety for the work. Quality completed the roofing job and HUD made final payment on the contract in early 1975. In September 1975, a severe rainstorm damaged the roofs which Quality had installed. HUD complained that Quality's work had been defective and insisted that Quality repair the damage pursuant to the contract's guaranty clause. Quality performed the repairs under protest. HUD was unsatisfied with these repairs and defaulted Quality. HUD then demanded that plaintiff complete the repairs under the terms of the performance bond. Plaintiff refused to correct the alleged deficiencies on the roofs, claiming Inter alia, that the damage which occurred was outside the scope of the guaranty clause of the contract, *fn1" and filed the instant lawsuit seeking to forestall the imposition of any sanctions because of its refusal to do the work which HUD demanded.

 Plaintiff attacks HUD's administrative sanctions regulations, 24 CFR § 24.0, Et seq., on a number of grounds. Plaintiff claims that the language of "irregularities" contained in 24 CFR § 24.18 is impermissibly vague; that temporary denial of program participation without prior hearing is violative of due process of the law; and that the delegation to low level HUD officials of the power to suspend participants from HUD programs is unlawful. The Court rejects these contentions. The Court is satisfied that the administrative sanctions regulations at issue in this case are within the authority of the Secretary under 42 U.S.C. § 3535(d), and are adequately precise and provide sufficient procedural safeguards to protect plaintiff's rights under the Constitution. See Adamo Wrecking Co. v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 414 F. Supp. 877 (D.D.C.1976); Horne Brothers v. Laird, 150 U.S.App.D.C. 177, 463 F.2d 1268 (1972); Gonzalez v. Freeman, 118 U.S.App.D.C. 180, 334 F.2d 570 (1964).

 Nor is the Court persuaded that 24 CFR § 24.18 is inapplicable to a performance bond surety such as plaintiff in this suit. The plain language of 24 CFR § 24.4(f) includes within the ambit of the sanctions provisions those entities in a business relationship with HUD funds recipients. Plaintiff's relationship with Quality Construction Company with respect to the Clifton Terrace Apartments roofing contract is enough to bring plaintiff within the scope of the administrative sanctions regulations.

 One issue remains: whether HUD's finding the refusal to correct the repairs on the Clifton Terrace roofs to be an "irregularity" sufficient to justify temporary denial of participation in the property disposition program is arbitrary, capricious or otherwise unlawful. With respect to this issue, however, the Court finds that plaintiff has failed to exhaust its administrative remedies. The administrative sanctions regulations set out certain administrative appeal rights and plaintiff has not yet completed the administrative appeal process. This is not a case where recourse to the administrative remedies would be inadequate or futile or of no benefit to meaningful judicial review. The Court concludes that the question of arbitrariness of HUD's classification of plaintiff's conduct as an "irregularity" within the ambit of 24 CFR § 24.18 is not yet ripe for review. See Myers v. Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., 303 U.S. 41, 51, 58 S. Ct. 459, 82 L. Ed. 638 (1938); Douglas v. Hampton, 168 U.S.App.D.C. 62, 79-80, 512 F.2d 976, 988-9 (1975).

 In an accompanying Order, the Court will enter judgment for defendants in accordance with this Memorandum Opinion.

 ORDER

 In accordance with the Memorandum filed herewith, it is by the Court this 3rd day of May, 1978,

 ORDERED, that Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be and it is hereby DENIED; and it is

 FURTHER ORDERED, that judgment shall be entered for ...


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.