Question 1

Your supervising attorney has assigned you to a research project relating to her client, Daniel Kim.  Daniel has a house in New Jersey.  During the Covid-19 pandemic crisis in 2020, he has been working from home since March 2020.  Bored alone at home and scared to go out for shopping, he started growing vegetables including lettuce, tomato, green onions, and kale in his backyard for his own consumption.  He also started making handcraft works for fun. However, Congress passed a new commercial law, Retail Protection and Price Control Act (RPPC) in February 2020 in order to protect retailers by controlling the price.  Congress has legislative intent to stimulate the economy and protect manufacturers and retails to keep a moderate inflation rate and a higher price for products.  For this purpose, the RPPC also imposed penalties on individuals who grow agricultural products in his/her own home and manufacture crafts which adversely affect commerce. Under the RPPC, individuals must apply for a permit to grow agricultural plants and to make crafts in order to avoid penalties.

FBI agents got information from informants on August 1, 2020, that Daniel Kim was growing agricultural products from his home. FBI agents started observing Daniel’s home for three weeks.  Daniel did not go out of his home for three weeks. Without a warrant, FBA could not see his backyard surrounded by homes to identify the vegetables grown. Failing to gather evidence to search and seize the home, FBI agents started collecting trash bags coming out of the home. Instead of directly picking up trash bags from the curbside, they asked for aid from the trash collectors who conveyed the bags after collecting.  Searching the trash bags, the FBI agents found vegetable remnants and ugly failed crafts.  They also found shredded papers that they could reassemble to prove that some crafts were actually sold online and got paid from other buyers.  Finally, on September 1, the FBI was issued a warrant to search Daniel’s home and found the vegetables in the backyard and in his refrigerators and crafts which were made on his table in a small room. Daniel was fined for $20,000 to obstruct the commerce under the RPPC.

Answer to the following questions:

(1)   Is Daniel liable under the RPPC? Provide your legal opinion on this case using the IRAC format (Issue, Rule, Applicant, Conclusion).

(2)   Is the search by FBI agents of the trash bags from Daniel’s house legal? Provide your legal opinion on this case using the IRAC format (Issue, Rule, Applicant, Conclusion).

Question 2

Your supervising attorney has assigned you to a research project to answer to questions relating to her client, John Doe. John Doe started receiving his disability benefits under the Disability Insurance Benefits program in 2010. In March 2014, he received a questionnaire from the state agency charged with monitoring his medical condition. John completed the questionnaire, stating that his condition had not improved, and provided information on his recent doctor’s visits. The state agency then obtained reports from his physician and a psychiatric consultant. After reviewing all the documents submitted, the agency informed John by letter with reasons that it had made a tentative determination that his disability had ceased in May 2014.  In his written response, John disputed one characterization of his medical condition and indicated that the agency already had enough evidence to establish his disability. The state agency then made its final determination that he had ceased to be disabled in May 2014. The determination was accepted by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which notified John in July that his benefits would terminate after that month. The notification also advised him of his right to seek reconsideration by the state agency of this initial determination within six months.

John sued the state agency and SSA, challenging the constitutional validity of the administrative procedures.  John relied on Goldberg v. Kelly, which established a right to an “evidentiary hearing” prior to termination of welfare benefits.

Will John win this case? Provide your legal opinion on this case using the IRAC format (Issue, Rule, Applicant, Conclusion).