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If the United States Defaults, Lawsuits Await

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Catherine Rampell
NY Times
July 30, 2011

If the United States stops paying its bills, who can sue?

Potentially, at least, it’s a staggering answer: In all, the U.S. government cuts about 100 million checks a month, including to Medicare and Social Security recipients, bondholders, and government contractors.

Anyone whose check from the government was not paid on time could try to file a lawsuit, and legal experts say it is not unimaginable that aggrieved parties would be tempted to turn in substantial numbers to the courts if their situation gets dire enough.

The government has not yet provided details on who would get paid and who wouldn’t if the debt limit is not raised by next week.

Should recipients of federal entitlements including the Social Security and Medicare programs for seniors stop receiving their payments, they would likely have to go through an administrative procedure before getting into court. If those challenges did get into the federal courts, judges might be reluctant to question how the available federal funds were distributed.

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This article was posted: Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 4:58 am

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