A Madison County single mother and childcare benefit recipient has filed suit against the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) claiming it unfairly files collection actions in Cook County Circuit Court, an inconvenient forum.
Belinda Scoggins seeks to lead a class action on behalf of other non-Cook County residents who have been sued or have faced the possibility of suit involving overpaid benefits.
Scoggins, represented by Wood River attorney Thomas Maag, claims she participated in a program through IDHS from December 2008 through November 2009, according to her complaint filed March 5 in Madison County Circuit Court.
In August 2010, IDHS sued Scoggins in Cook County seeking to recover $22,247.74.
According to Scoggins' complaint, the IDHS action remains pending as Scoggins has never entered an appearance and has not been lawfully served with the suit.
"That the Circuit Court of Cook County is approximately 295 miles from Plaintiff Scoggins' home, and when a call is placed to the Circuit Court in Cook County, the phone is answered by a recording that directs a message to be left, followed by a statement that no message can be left because the voice mail is full of other messages from other callers," the complaint states.
The head of IDHS, Michelle R.B. Saddler, also is named as a defendant.
Scoggins' suit states that the department's interest in bringing all collection and post judgment suits in one single county is not great because the state attorney general is required to represent IDHS and other state agencies in every county of Illinois.
Madison County case number 12-L-285