United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division
James Reilly Hammond, as Personal Representative for the Estate of James W. Hammond, Plaintiff,
United States of America and United States Department of Labor, Defendants
James Reilly Hammond, Personal Representative for the Estate
of James W Hammond personal representative Hammond, James W,
Plaintiff: Tom Young, Jr, LEAD ATTORNEY, Whetstone Myers
Perkins and Young, Aiken, SC.
United States of America, The, United States Department of
Labor, The, Defendants: Barbara Murcier Bowens, LEAD
ATTORNEY, U.S. Attorneys Office, Columbia, SC.
Michelle Childs, United States District Judge.
OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
James Reilly Hammond (" Plaintiff" ), as Personal
Representative for the Estate of James W. Hammond ("
James Hammond" ), filed this declaratory judgment action
against Defendants United States of America (the "
Government" ) and the United States Department of Labor
(" DOL" ) (collectively " Defendants" )
seeking a declaration by the court that his father's
estate should be awarded $125,000.00 compensation by the DOL
under Part E of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness
Compensation Program Act of 2000 (" EEOICPA" ), 42
U.S.C. § § 7384-7385s-15. (ECF No. 1.)
March 19, 2013, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for Lack
of Subject Matter Jurisdiction, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1), and for Failure to State a Claim for which Relief
May Be Granted, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (ECF No.
8.) The court denied both motions on March 27,
2014. (ECF No. 15.) Thereafter, Plaintiff
filed a Memorandum of Law in Support of Declaratory Relief.
(ECF No. 30.) Defendants filed a Brief in Response. (ECF No.
35.) Plaintiff filed a Reply Memorandum (ECF No. 37) and
Defendants filed a Sur-Reply (ECF No. 38). On August 26,
2015, the court held a hearing. (ECF Nos. 43, 45.)
considering all of the evidence and arguments of counsel, the
court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of
FINDINGS OF FACT
stated otherwise, the parties have stipulated to the
following recitation of facts:
Plaintiff is the son of James Hammond. James Hammond and his
wife, Ida W. Hammond (" Ida Hammond" ), both worked
at the Savannah River Site. Ida Hammond developed bladder
cancer. On January 4, 2012, she filed a Form EE-1 Claim for
benefits under the EEOICPA for her bladder cancer condition.
Ida Hammond died on March 25, 2012. On April 6, 2012, James
Hammond filed a claim for survivor benefits under the
DOL knew that James Hammond was terminal and had acknowledged
that it would need to " expedite processing" of his
or around April 25, 2012, the DOL issued a Notice of
Recommended Decision awarding James Hammond $150,000.00 in
benefits under Part B of the EEOICPA and $125,000.00 in
benefits under Part E. The total award was $275,000.00.
James Hammond signed a waiver on April 25, 2012, waiving his
right to object to the April 25, 2012 Notice of Recommended
Decision. Accordingly, on April 26, 2012, the DOL issued its
Notice of Final Decision. Thereafter, the DOL instructed
James Hammond to submit an Acceptance of Payment Form "
EN-20" with an original signature in order to receive
payments of the awarded benefits.
April 26, 2012, the DOL issued an incorrect EN-20 identifying
the wrong amount of benefits on it. When Plaintiff noticed
the incorrect amount, he notified the DOL and was informed
that it was a scrivener's error. Because of the error,
the DOL issued a new EN-20, which resulted in a delay in
finalizing the claim. James Hammond signed the corrected
EN-20 and submitted it to the DOL's Resource Center on
Friday, April 27, 2012.
Plaintiff communicated with representatives of the DOL, who
informed him that the transfer of funds would occur on April
27, 2012. On the same day, Plaintiff received information
that the DOL was having a " hard time" getting the