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Swoap v. Superior Court

Supreme Court of California
516 P.2d 840 (Cal. 1973)


Several adult children and their elderly parents (plaintiffs) filed a class-action suit against David Swoap, California’s Health and Welfare Secretary (defendant) and others (defendants), arguing that the implementation of the state’s Old Age Security Law (OASL) was unconstitutional as a violation of equal protection. Under the OASL, financial public assistance was extended to aged, needy individuals, and the adult children of recipients were required to contribute to the recipient’s support according to a fixed schedule. Subsequently, other state-enacted laws revised the adult child’s contribution significantly upward. Additionally, the OASL permitted a county granting financial aid to an elderly recipient to file suit to collect unpaid amounts against an adult child of a recipient. The Superior Court of Sacramento County issued a statewide temporary restraining order, enjoining the defendants from enforcing the OASL. The defendants appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

Dissent (Tobriner, J.)

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