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107th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     107-578

======================================================================



 
FOR THE RELIEF OF RETIRED SERGEANT FIRST CLASS JAMES D. BENOIT AND WAN 
                              SOOK BENOIT

                                _______
                                

  July 16, 2002.--Referred to the Private Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Sensenbrenner, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1834]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (S. 1834) for the relief of retired Sergeant First Class 
James D. Benoit and Wan Sook Benoit, having considered the 
same, reports favorably thereon without amendment and 
recommends that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     1
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     2
Committee Consideration..........................................     2
Vote of the Committee............................................     2
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     2
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     2
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     3
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     3
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     3
Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion.......................     3
Markup Transcript................................................     4

                          Purpose and Summary

    S. 1834 would pay the Benoits of the State of Michigan 
$415,000 to satisfy their equitable claim as recommended by the 
Court of Federal Claims.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    In June 1983, the Benoit's 3-year-old son died after 
falling out of seventh floor window of a military apartment 
because of a faulty screen. An autopsy was performed with the 
family's proviso that all organs ultimately remain in the son's 
body for purposes of burial. This proviso was required by the 
family's religious beliefs. Several of the boy's organs were 
disposed of in error.
    The Department of the Army's admitted fault and awarded the 
family $65,000 for their son's wrongful death and an additional 
$5,000 for the error made in disposal of his organs. The family 
appealed those awards to the Secretary of Defense with no 
resolution. When congressional efforts to resolve the matter 
with the Department were unsuccessful, the Senate passed a 
resolution referring the matter to the Court of Federal Claims 
for a determination of an appropriate award in the case.
    In July 2000, the Court of Federal Claims found the case 
constituted an equitable claim and recommended that the Benoits 
be awarded $415,000. The $415,000 total was derived from the 
hearing officer's recommendation of $125,000 for the pecuniary 
loss caused by their son's death, $100,000 for the boy's pain 
and suffering, $100,000 each to Sergeant and Mrs. Benoit for 
loss of their son's love and companionship, and $60,000 for the 
wrongful retention of his remains, less $70,000 already paid to 
the Benoits.

                                Hearings

    No hearings were held on S. 1834.

                        Committee Consideration

    On April 17, 2002, the Subcommittee on Immigration and 
Claims met in open session and ordered favorably reported the 
bill S. 1834, by voice vote, a quorum being present. On July 
10, 2002, the Committee met in open session and ordered 
favorably reported the bill S. 1834 without amendment by voice 
vote, a quorum being present.

                         Vote of the Committee

    There were no recorded votes on S. 1834.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee reports that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    S. 1834 authorizes funding from the General Treasury in the 
amount of $415,000 to be paid to the claimants.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of House rule XIII is inapplicable because 
this legislation does not provide new budgetary authority or 
increased tax expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, S. 1834, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 11, 2002.
Hon. F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1834, an act for the 
relief of retired Sergeant First Class James D. Benoit and Wan 
Sook Benoit.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                  Dan L. Crippen, Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
        Ranking Member
S. 1834--An act for the relief of retired Sergeant First Class James D. 
        Benoit and Wan Sook Benoit.
    S. 1834 would direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay 
$415,000 to James D. Benoit and Wan Sook Benoit, as 
compensation and damages for the wrongful death of their son, 
David Benoit, while occupying military family housing supplied 
by the Army in Seoul, Korea. Because the act would increase 
direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures would apply.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew 
Pickford, who can be reached at 226-2860. This estimate was 
approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article 1, section 8 of the Constitution.

               Section-by-Section Analysis and Discussion

                  SECTION 1. REQUIREMENT TO PAY CLAIMS

    Section 1(a) authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to 
pay $415,000 to the Benoits based on the U.S. Court of Federal 
Claims determination made pursuant to the congressional 
referral by Senate Resolution 129 in the 105th Congress.
    Section 1(b) indicates that the payment of $415,000 to the 
Benoits will be in full satisfaction of all of the Benoits' 
claims against the United States related to the death of their 
son and the wrongful retention of his remains.

       SECTION 2. LIMITATION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES

    Section 2 provides that no more than 10% of the monies 
received by the Benoits as a result of this legislation may be 
paid to any agent or attorney for services they provided in 
connection with the claim. It states that any violation of this 
section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no more than 
$1,000.

                           Markup Transcript



                            BUSINESS MEETING

                        WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2002

                  House of Representatives,
                                Committee on the Judiciary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:17 a.m., in 
Room 2141, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. F. James 
Sensenbrenner, Jr. [Chairman of the Committee] presiding.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Committee will be in order. A 
working quorum is present.

           *         *         *         *         *

    The next item on the agenda is the consideration of two 
private bills, H.R. 2245 and S. 1834, which, without objection, 
will be considered en bloc.
    The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania for a 
motion.
    Mr. Gekas. Mr. Chairman, the Subcommittee on Immigration, 
Border Security, and Claims reports favorably the bills H.R. 
2245 and S. 1834, and moves their favorable recommendation to 
the full House.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, the bills will 
be considered as read and open for amendment at any point.
    [The bill, S. 1834, follows:]
    
    
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The Chair recognizes the gentleman 
from Pennsylvania to strike the last word.
    Mr. Gekas. I thank the Chair.
    The first bill is for Anisha Foti, the widow of Seth Foti, 
a State Department diplomatic courier. The Fotis were married 
on June 3, 2000. On August the 23rd, 2000, Seth FotI was killed 
in the crash of Gulf Air 072. Although Seth Foti had filled out 
all the documents to adjust Anisha's status immigration--
Anisha's status, immigration regulations concerning the 
untimely death of a sponsoring spouse allow for a waiver of the 
2-year marriage requirement only if the individual's petition 
had been approved prior to the death. The interview for 
approval of Anisha's petition had not been scheduled before Mr. 
Foti was killed. This was a legitimate marriage, and through no 
fault of her own that Mrs. Foti has not yet met the marriage 
requirement. This case mirrors several other private laws 
enacted in the last few years.
    The second bill is for the Benoit family. Their 3-year-old 
son died after falling out of a seventh-floor window of a 
military apartment because of a faulty screen. An autopsy was 
performed, during which several of the boy's organs were 
disposed of, contrary to the family's religious beliefs. The 
family appealed. The Army admitted fault and awarded the family 
a total of $70,000. After several denied appeals, the Senate 
passed a resolution referring the matter to the Court of 
Federal Claims for determination of an appropriate award in the 
case.
    In July 2000, the court found the case constituted an 
equitable claim and recommended that the Benoits be awarded 
$485,000 minus the $70,000. S. 1834, the second bill here, 
would pay the claimants $415,000 to satisfy that equitable 
claim.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. The gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. 
Jackson Lee?
    Ms. Jackson Lee. I think these are constructive and 
important actions that will make whole individuals that 
suffered under the Government's action. Mr. Foti was a 
diplomatic courier and was tragically killed on the job just 2 
months after he married his wife. H.R. 2245 was brought to us 
by Representative Tom Lantos, and I ask our colleagues to 
support it. And S. 1834, as the Chairman of the Subcommittee 
indicated, it's relief for retired Sergeant First Class Benoit. 
This bill would pay the claimants $415,000 to satisfy their 
equitable claim, and this was recommended by the Court of 
Federal Claims. This was the loss of the family's 3-year-old 
son who died after falling out of a seventh-floor window of a 
military apartment because of a faulty screen. I would ask that 
my colleagues support this legislation unanimously.
    I yield back. Thank you.
    Chairman Sensenbrenner. Without objection, Members may 
include opening statements in the record on either bill at this 
point.
    Are there amendments? If there are no amendments, the 
question occurs on the motion. The Chair notes the presence of 
a reporting quorum. The question occurs on the motion to report 
H.R. 2245 and S. 1834 favorably. Those in favor will say aye. 
Opposed, no.
    The ayes appear to have it. The ayes have it. The motion to 
report favorably is adopted.
    Without objection, the Chairman is authorized to move to go 
to conference pursuant to House rules. Without objection, the 
staff is directed to make any technical and conforming changes, 
and all Members will be given 2 days, as provided by House 
rules, in which to submit additional dissenting, supplemental, 
or minority views.