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Jones for Jones v. Chater

101 F.3d 509 (1996)

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Jones for Jones v. Chater

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

101 F.3d 509 (1996)

Facts

Cynthia Jones (plaintiff) filed an application for child’s insurance benefits on behalf of her son, Brandon Jones, whose father, Ivory Claxton, died fully insured. Jones was never married to Claxton. In fact, Brandon was born because of an affair Jones had with Claxton. Jones moved to California, while she was pregnant, from St. Louis, where Brandon was conceived. Claxton never took a paternity test; however, he visited Jones and Brandon after Brandon was born and convinced Jones to move back to St. Louis, where Jones and Brandon lived above Claxton’s store for about eight or nine years before moving to Illinois. During Brandon’s lifetime, Claxton saw Brandon sporadically and occasionally brought groceries, toys, and clothes when he visited. However, when Jones and Brandon moved to Illinois, Claxton did not have any contact with them for the one or two years preceding his death. Jones, never having been married to Claxton, sought to prove Claxton’s paternity under Missouri’s intestate statute and according to the Social Security Act paternity-plus-support method. An administrative-law judge, on behalf of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Shirley Chater (defendant), denied Jones’s application because she did not prove Claxton’s paternity nor his support of Brandon beyond a reasonable doubt. Jones sued Chater in a United States district court; however, the court upheld the denial. Jones appealed, only challenging Chater’s decision that Jones failed to prove the paternity-plus-support method in accordance with the act.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Posner, C.J.)

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