IN THE MATTER OF HOUSE, Claim for Compensation Under the North Carolina Eugenics AsexualizationandSterilization Compensation Program, Claimant-Appellant.
originally in the Court of Appeals 30 November 2015
by Claimant-Appellant House from amended decision and order
entered 11 May 2015 by the North Carolina Industrial
Commission I.C. No. U00070. Heard originally in the Court of
Appeals 30 November 2015, and opinion filed 16 February 2016.
Petition for discretionary review was allowed by the North
Carolina Supreme Court for the limited purpose of reversing
the Court of Appeals' dismissal of Claimant's
"constitutional claim." The case was remanded to
the Court of Appeals for expedited consideration of
Claimant's "constitutional claim" on the
Bollinger Law Firm, PC, by Bobby L. Bollinger, Jr., for
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Marc X. Sneed, for North Carolina Department of
Justice, Tort Claims Section.
North Carolina Industrial Commission ("the Industrial
Commission") found that Ms. House ("Claimant")
was involuntarily sterilized on 27 November 1974. This matter
was first decided by this Court on 16 February 2016. In
re House, _ N.C. App._, 782 S.E.2d 115 (2016)
("House I "). We held in House I
that Claimant could not demonstrate that she was a qualified
recipient of the Eugenics Asexualization and Sterilization
Compensation Program, based upon the following:
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143B-426.50(5) sets forth two
requirements that must be proven before a claimant may be
considered a qualified recipient: (1) the claimant must have
been involuntarily sterilized "under the authority of
the Eugenics Board of North Carolina, " and (2) the
claimant must have been involuntarily sterilized in
accordance with the procedures as set forth in "Chapter
224 of the Public Laws of 1933 or Chapter 221 of the Public
Laws of 1937." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143B-426.50(5). In
the present case, unfortunately, Claimant cannot show that
either of these requirements has been met.
There is no record evidence that the Eugenics Board was ever
informed of Claimant's involuntary sterilization, nor
that it was consulted in the matter in any way. Because the
language of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 143B-426.50(5) is clear,
"there is no room for judicial construction, and [this
Court] must give it its plain and definite meaning."
Correll, 332 N.C. at 144, 418 S.E.2d at 235.
Further, all the evidence in this matter clearly demonstrates
that Claimant's involuntary sterilization was performed
without adherence to the requirements set forth in
"Chapter 224 of the Public Laws of 1933 or Chapter 221
of the Public Laws of 1937." N.C. Gen. Stat. §
143B-426.50(5). Therefore, we must affirm.
Id. at__, 782 S.E.2d at 120. Our
Supreme Court granted Claimant's petition for
discretionary review by order entered 28 September 2017,
stating: "To prevent manifest injustice, the petition
for discretionary review filed in [this case] is allowed for
the limited purpose of remanding the case to the Court of
Appeals for expedited consideration of [C]laimant's
constitutional claim on the merits." Claimant sets forth
two arguments on appeal:
I. [Claimant's] Sterilization Initiated By Government
Officials Had To Be Performed Under Public Law 1933, Chapter
224 In Order To Be Performed Lawfully.
II.The Full Commission's Strict Construction Of N.C. Gen.
Stat. § 143(b)-426.50(5) Constitutes Denial Of
Compensation Benefits To [Claimant] Due To An Overly Strict
and Technical Construction Of The Statute.
is nothing in Claimant's arguments, as set forth above,
that indicates Claimant was attempting to make any
constitutional argument on appeal. Upon a thorough additional
review of Claimant's arguments on appeal, we can locate
no cognizable constitutional argument. Although Claimant does
state: "A person who is sterilized by the state 'is
forever deprived of a basic liberty.' Skinner v.
Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942)[, ]" this
singular statement does not constitute an argument that this
Court can address.
Claimant in the present matter made no "constitutional
claim" in her appeal, there is nothing for this Court to
consider pursuant to the mandate of our Supreme Court's
28 September 2017 order, and we reaffirm our opinion in
House I. We incorporate our opinion in House
I, N.C. App., 782 S.E.2d 115, into this opinion, adopt
its analysis ...