United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are two motions to dismiss. The first
motion to dismiss was filed by the Board of
Supervisors of Louisiana State University and Agricultural
and Mechanical College (“the LSU Board”). The LSU
Board argues that sovereign immunity bars the Court from
hearing Esparza's claim against it under § 1557 of
the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(“ACA”). As for Esparza's claims against the
LSU Board under § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973,
the LSU Board argues that Esparza has failed to state a claim
upon which the Court can grant relief.
Medical Center Management Corporation
(“UMC”) and Louisiana Children's Medical
Center (“LCMC”) also filed a motion to dismiss. They
argue that Esparza's state law claims against them are
premature and as such should be dismissed. They also argue
that Esparza has failed to state claims for compensatory
damages under § 1557 of the ACA and § 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act. Finally, UMC and LCMC ask the Court to
stay the case while Esparza submits her state law claims to
the requisite state administrative process.
opposes both motions. For the following reasons,
the Court denies the motions.
Esparza is a deaf individual whose primary mode of
communication is American Sign Language
(“ASL”). UMC operates University Medical Center New
Orleans (“the hospital”), a full-service medical
facility allegedly owned by the LSU Board. LCMC is UMC's
October 2016 through March 2017, Esparza visited the hospital
on a number of occasions to receive medical care, including
treatment for a broken arm, dental treatment, and lab
work. During these visits, the hospital did not
provide a qualified in-person sign language interpreter to
assist Esparza in communicating with staff and learning
healthcare-related information. Instead, the hospital offered
Esparza use of a Video Remote Interpreting
to Esparza, the VRI machine-the only accommodation provided
by the hospital-was “heavily
pixilated.” Moreover, Esparza alleges that use of
the VRI machine was not appropriate during certain visits,
because she “had limited ability [to] sign with both
hands” for a certain period of time “as a result
of her injury” to her right arm. The VRI
machine also required “several hours to set
result, Esparza contends that the VRI machine was an
ineffective accommodation, and so she had to resort to
written English, or the assistance of her mother or boyfriend
to communicate with hospital staff. However, Esparza alleges
that her proficiency in written English is
“limited”; that her mother is not a qualified
sign language interpreter; that use of her mother as an
interpreter required Esparza to relinquish her medical
privacy and “embarrassed” her; and that her
boyfriend is also deaf, and he had to attempt to read the
lips of hospital staff and then translate his reading of
their lips into ASL.
requested that the hospital provide her with a qualified
in-person sign language interpreter. However, the hospital
refused to provide one, informing Esparza that it would not
pay for the service.
the hospital did not provide a qualified in-person sign
language interpreter to assist her during her visits, Esparza
alleges that she was not able to effectively communicate with
hospital staff about the “nature, scope, or
consequence” of her broken arm or dental treatment,
treatment options,  the use and side effects of medications,
lab work,  and women's health
issues. Esparza also alleges that she was not
able to understand various medical documents.
response, Esparza filed the present case against UMC, LCMC,
and the LSU Board. Esparza alleges that UMC and LCMC violated
her rights under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities
Act and the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights
Act. Esparza also alleges that all three
defendants violated her rights under § 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act and § 1557 of the ACA.
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
the dismissal of an action where the court finds that it does
not possess subject matter jurisdiction over the action.
Where “a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is filed in conjunction
with other Rule 12 motions, the court should consider the
Rule 12(b)(1) jurisdictional attack before addressing any
attack on the merits.” Ramming v. United
States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001).
case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction when the court lacks the statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate the case.” Home
Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison,
Miss., 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998). Courts may
dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on any one of
three different bases: (1) the complaint alone; (2) the
complaint supplemented by undisputed facts in the record; or
(3) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts plus the
court's resolution of disputed facts.” Clark v.
Tarrant County, 798 F.2d 736, 741 (5th Cir. 1986)
(citing Williamson v. Tucker, 645 F.2d 404, 413 (5th
Cir. 1981)). Where the defendant has questioned the
court's subject matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff has
the burden of “proving by a preponderance of the
evidence that the trial court does” possess the
requisite jurisdiction to hear the case. Patterson v.
Weinberger, 644 F.2d 521, 523 (5th Cir. 1981).
Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
district court may dismiss a complaint, or any part of it,
where a plaintiff has not set forth well-pleaded factual
allegations that would entitle him to relief. See Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007);
Cuvillier v. Taylor, 503 F.3d 397, 401 (5th Cir.
2007). A plaintiff's factual allegations must
“raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In other
words, a complaint “must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570)).
facially plausible claim is one where “the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. If the well-pleaded factual allegations
“do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, ” then “the complaint
has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'” bal,
556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)) (alteration in
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court limits its review
“to the complaint, any documents attached to the
complaint, and any documents attached to the motion to
dismiss that are central to the claim and referenced by the
complaint.” Lone Star Fund V (U.S.), L.P. v.
Barclays Bank PLC, 594 F.3d 383, 387 (5th Cir. 2010);
see also Spivey v. Robertson, 197 F.3d 772, 774 (5th
Cir. 1999). In assessing the complaint, the Court must accept
all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and liberally
construe all such allegations in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff. Spivey, 197 F.3d at 774; Lowrey
v. Tex. A&M Univ. Sys., 117 F.3d 242, 247 (5th Cir.
1997). Where “the complaint ‘on its face show[s]
a bar to relief, '” then dismissal is the
appropriate course. Cutrer v. McMillan, 308 Fed.
App'x. 819, 820 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting Clark v.
Amoco Prod. Co., 794 F.2d 967, 970 (5th Cir. 1986)).
Board first moves to dismiss Esparza's claim under §
1557 of the ACA for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,
contending that sovereign immunity bars the Court from
adjudicating Esparza's § 1557 claim against
it. However, the LSU Board's position
assumes that Esparza has the right to bring an individual
claim under § 1557. The Court will first address that
1557 of the ACA provides:
Except as otherwise provided for in this title (or an
amendment made by this title), an individual shall not, on
the ground prohibited under title VI of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.), title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq.), the Age
Discrimination Act of 1975 (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.), or
section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C.
794), be excluded from participation in, be denied the
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under, any
health program or activity, any part of which is receiving
Federal financial assistance, including credits, subsidies,
or contracts of insurance, or under any program or activity
that is administered by an Executive Agency or any entity
established under this title (or amendments). The enforcement
mechanisms provided for and available under such title VI,
title IX, section 504, or such Age Discrimination Act shall
apply for purposes of violations of this subsection.
42 U.S.C. § 18116(a). The ACA does not provide an
express private right of action under § 1557. As such,
the Court must consider whether the ACA provides an
existence of an implied private right of action is determined
by reference to the four-factor test first articulated by the
U.S. Supreme Court in Cort v. Ash, 422 U.S. 66
(1) Is this plaintiff a member of the class for whose
“especial” benefit the statute was passed? In
other words, does the statute create a federal right for this
(2) Is there any evidence of legislative intent, either
explicit or implicit, to create or deny a private remedy?
(3) Is it consistent with the legislative scheme to imply a
(4) Is the cause of action one traditionally relegated to
state law so that implying a federal right of action would be
Lundeen v. Mineta, 291 F.3d 300, 311 (5th Cir. 2002)
(quoting Louisiana Landmarks Society, Inc., v.
City of New Orleans, 85 F.3d 1119, 1122-23 (5th Cir.
1996)). When analyzing a federal statute under Cort v.
Ash, a court should “begin with the familiar
presumption that Congress did not intend to create a private
right of action.” Louisiana Landmarks Society,
85 F.3d at 1123 (internal quotation marks omitted).
plaintiff carries the burden of showing “that Congress
affirmatively contemplated private enforcement when it passed
the relevant statute.” Id. (quoting
Victorian v. Miller, 813 F.2d 718, 721 (5th Cir.
1987) (en banc)).
courts have concluded that § 1557 is indeed enforceable
via an implied private right of action. See Se. Penn.
Trans. Auth. v. Gilead Sci., Inc., 102 F.Supp.3d 688,
697-99 (E.D. Penn. 2015); Rumble v. Fairview Health
Serv., No. 14-2037, 2015 WL 1197415, at *7 n.3 (D. Minn.
Mar. 16, 2015) (Nelson, J.); Callum v. CVS Health
Corp., 137 F.Supp.3d 817, 845-48 (D.S.C. 2015).
Unsurprisingly, Esparza agrees with these
courts. UMC and LCMC likewise acknowledge that
“the Court would not be remiss in recognizing an
implied private right of action under § 1557”
given the lack of case law to the contrary. The LSU Board
did not provide guidance as to this issue,  despite the
Court's order to do so.
the Cort v. Ash test to § 1557, the Court
agrees with its sister courts and concludes that § 1557
is enforceable via an implied private right of action.
Section 1557 “expressly identifies” classes of
individuals that “Congress intended to
benefit”-namely, the individuals protected by the four
federal nondiscrimination statutes explicitly referenced and
incorporated. Lundeen, 291 F.3d at 311 (quoting
Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677, 690
(1979)); see also Franciscan Alliance, Inc. v.
Burwell, 227 F.Supp.3d 660, 671 (N.D. Tex. 2016).
Section 1557 also mirrors the rights-creating language used
in those statutes. Se. Penn. Trans. Auth., 102
F.Supp.3d at 698; Callum, 137 F.Supp.3d at 847.
“The cross-reference to these statutes and the use of
similar rights-creating terms manifest Congressional intent
to create a private right.” Se. Penn. Trans.
Auth., 102 F.Supp.3d at 698.
subsection (a) of § 1557 provides that the
“enforcement mechanisms provided for and available
under” the other four statutes “shall apply for
purposes of violations of” § 1557. Those statutes
all permit private rights of action. See Alexander v.
Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275, 279-80 (2001) (noting that Title
VI and Title IX provided private rights of action); Frame
v. City of Arlington, 657 F.3d 215, 223 (5th Cir. 2011)
(en banc) (noting that § 504 is enforceable through an
implied private right of action); Parker v. Bd. of Super.
Univ. of La.-Lafayette, 296 Fed. App'x 414, 417 (5th
Cir. 2008) (treating the Age Discrimination Act as providing
a private right of action and specifying the statutory
prerequisites to bringing a claim under it). As one court
observed, “[b]ecause Section 1557 states that the
enforcement mechanisms available under those four statutes
apply to violations of Section 1557, Section 1557 necessarily
also permits private causes of action.”
Rumble, 2015 WL 1197415, at *7 n.3; cf. Se.
Penn. Trans. Auth., 102 F.Supp.3d at 698 (“[S]uch
express incorporation of the enforcement mechanisms from
those statutes is probative of Congressional intent to
provide both a private right and a private remedy for
violations of Section 1557.”).
of an implied private right of action to enforce § 1557
then is not merely “consistent with the legislative
scheme, ” Lundeen, 291 F.3d at 311, but it is
in fact explicitly contemplated by the scheme. Moreover, as
the recognition of an implied private right of action to
enforce § 504 illustrates well, see Frame, 657
F.3d at 223, a right of action to enforce a federal
nondiscrimination provision does not unduly step on the toes
of state law.
seems abundantly clear to the Court that Congress intended to
create a private right of action to enforce § 1557-and
congressional intent is the “touchstone” of the
Cort v. Ash analysis. Lundeen, 291 F.3d at
312 (quoting Louisiana Landmarks Soc'y, 85 F.3d
at 1123). Section 1557 is enforceable via an implied private
right of action. With that question settled, the Court can
now address whether sovereign immunity bars an individual,
such as Esparza, from asserting a § 1557 claim against
the LSU Board in federal court.
Eleventh Amendment provides that “[t]he Judicial power
of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any
suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of
the United States by Citizens of another State, or by
Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” Despite the
Eleventh Amendment's language targeting Article III
diversity jurisdiction, the U.S. Supreme Court has fashioned
a doctrine of Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity defined
by reference to “the Constitution's structure, its
history, and the authoritative interpretations by this
Court.” Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 713
(1999); see also Hans v. Louisiana, 134 U.S. 1, 13
(1890); cf. Meyers ex rel. Benzing v. Tex., 410 F.3d
236, 240-41 (5th Cir. 2005) (“‘Eleventh Amendment
immunity' is a misnomer, . . . because that immunity is
really an aspect of the Supreme Court's concept of state
sovereign immunity and is neither derived from nor limited by
the Eleventh Amendment.”).
immunity operates as “a constitutional limitation on
the federal judicial power.” Pennhurst State School
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98 (1984).
However, unlike other aspects of the federal courts'
subject matter jurisdiction, sovereign immunity is waivable:
“a State may consent to suit against it in federal
court.” Id. at 99. To effectuate waiver,
“the State's consent [must] be unequivocally
expressed.” Id. A court “will find
waiver only where stated ‘by the most express language
or by such overwhelming implications from the text as (will)
leave no room for any other reasonable
construction.'” Edelman v. Jordan, 415
U.S. 651, 673 (1974) (quoting Murray v. Wilson Distilling
Co., 213 U.S. 151, 171 (1909)). For example,
“[t]he mere fact that a State participates in a program
through which the Federal Government provides assistance for
the operation by the State of a system of public aid is not
sufficient to establish consent on the part of the State to
be sued in the federal courts.” Id.
addition, Congress may abrogate a state's sovereign
immunity when exercising at least some of its constitutional
powers. See Fitzpatrick v. Bitker, 427 U.S. 445, 456
(1976) (holding that Congress has the power to abrogate state
sovereign immunity under section 5 of the Fourteenth
Amendment); but see Seminole Tribe of Fla. V. Fla.,
517 U.S. 44, 72 (1996) (holding that Congress does not have
the power to abrogate state sovereign immunity under the
Indian Commerce Clause). However, as with a state's
voluntary waiver of sovereign immunity, abrogation requires
“an unequivocal expression of congressional intent to
‘overturn the constitutionally guaranteed immunity of
the several States.'” Pennhurst, 465 U.S.
at 99; see also Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanlon,
473 U.S. 234, 243 (1985) (“[I]t is incumbent upon the
federal courts to be certain of Congress' intent before
finding that federal law overrides the guarantees of the
Eleventh Amendment.”), superseded by An Act to
Extend and Improve the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L.
99-506, 100 Stat. 1807 (1986). “A general authorization
for suit in federal court is not the kind of unequivocal
statutory language sufficient to abrogate the Eleventh
Amendment.” Id. at 246. “When Congress
chooses to subject the States to federal jurisdiction, it
must do so specifically.” Id.
waiver and abrogation, the U.S. Supreme Court has also
recognized- as a means “to promote the vindication of
federal rights, ” Pennhurst, 465 U.S. at
105-that an individual may bring certain kinds of federal
claims directly against state officers in their individual
capacities and avoid running up against the sovereign
immunity bar. See Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123,
155-56 (1908); Edelman, 415 U.S. at 676 (limiting
Ex parte Young actions to claims seeking prospective
injunctive relief); Seminole Tribe, 517 U.S. at
75-76 (concluding Ex parte Young actions are not
available where Congress has established a remedial scheme to
settle a particular claim, even if that scheme is
inoperable). However, the Fifth Circuit has concluded that
“the LSU Board is an arm of the state and is immune
from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.” Raj v. La.
St. Univ., 714 F.3d 322, 328 (5th Cir. 2013). Unless
Congress has validly abrogated Louisiana's sovereign
immunity with respect to § 1557 claims or Louisiana has
unambiguously waived its sovereign immunity with respect to
§ 1557 claims, plaintiff cannot assert such claims
against the LSU Board in this Court. See Pennhurst,
465 U.S. at 98.
Court previously explained, § 1557 provides that
“an individual shall not, on the ground prohibited
under [certain federal laws], be excluded from participation
in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to
discrimination under, any health program or activity, any
part of which is receiving Federal financial assistance,
including credits, subsidies, or contracts of
insurance.” 42 U.S.C. § 18116(a) (emphasis
added). No provision of the ACA purports to
abrogate state sovereign immunity. Moreover, as a general
matter, “Louisiana has expressly declined to waive its
sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.”
Raj, 714 F.3d at 328 (citing La. R.S. §
13:5106(A) and Richardson v. S. Univ., 118 F.3d 450,
453 (5th Cir. 1997)).
Title 42, United States Code, § 2000d-7 provides that:
A State shall not be immune under the Eleventh
Amendment of the Constitution of the United States from suit
in Federal court for a violation of section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [29 U.S.C.A. § 794], title IX
of the Education Amendments of 1972 [20 U.S.C.A. § 1681
et seq.], the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 [42 U.S.C.A.
§ 6101 et seq.], title VI of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 [42 U.S.C.A. § 2000d et seq.], or the
provisions of any other Federal statute prohibiting
discrimination by recipients of Federal financial
42 U.S.C. § 2000d-7(a)(1) (emphasis added). With §
2000d-7, Congress struck a bargain with the states: if a
federal statute prohibits discrimination on a certain basis
by recipients of federal money, then a state entity that
receives federal money is subject to suit in federal court
for violations of that nondiscrimination provision.
case is far from the first in this Circuit to consider §
2000d-7. The Fifth Circuit comprehensively addressed §
2000d-7's validity in Pace v. Bogalusa City
School Bd., 403 F.3d 272 (5th Cir. 2005) (en banc),
which involved analyzing the impact of § 2000d-7 on
claims brought under § 504 and the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. Remarkably, the LSU Board does
not even cite Pace-let alone discuss its holding and
reasoning-in a supplemental brief that this Court ordered
specifically respecting the applicability of § 2000d-7
to § 1557. Such a significant oversight on the part
of the LSU Board cannot help but call into question the rigor
with which the LSU Board considered the issue.
Fifth Circuit explained in Pace,
“congressional spending programs that are enacted in
pursuit of the general welfare and unambiguously condition a
state's acceptance of federal funds on reasonably related
requirements are constitutional unless they are either (1)
independently prohibited or (2) coercive.” 403 F.3d at
279 (analyzing South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203
(1987)). “When the condition requires a state to waive
its Eleventh Amendment immunity, . . . an unambiguous
statement of the condition and its proscription on coercive
inducements serve a dual role because they ensure . . . that
waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity must be (a) knowing and
(b) voluntary.” Id.
to the Pace court, § 2000d-7 adequately put
Louisiana “on notice that, by accepting federal money,
it was waiving its Eleventh Amendment immunity.”
Id. at 284. Moreover, § 2000d-7 is not
unconstitutionally coercive, as a state entity can simply
decline federal money if it wants to avoid being hauled into
federal court by an individual alleging that the state entity
violated a covered federal nondiscrimination law. See
Id. at 287. Based on these considerations, the Fifth
Circuit held that “the waiver condition set forth in
§ 2000d-7 is a constitutionally permissible exercise of
Congress' spending power.” Bennett-Nelson v.
La. Bd. of Regents, 431 F.3d 448, 453 (5th Cir. 2005)
(discussing Pace, 403 F.3d at 280-87).
holding and reasoning in Pace governs the outcome of
the Court's § 1557 sovereign immunity analysis. In
addition to the four federal nondiscrimination statutes that
are explicitly referenced-the same four referenced in and
incorporated into § 1557-§ 2000d-7 applies to
“provisions of . . . Federal statute[s] prohibiting
discrimination by recipients of Federal financial
assistance.” Section 1557 is a federal
nondiscrimination provision, the applicability of which turns
on being a “health program or activity” that
“receiv[es] Federal financial assistance.”
Cf. 29 U.S.C. § 794(a) (codifying § 504 of
the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which provides that
“[n]o otherwise qualified individual with a disability
. . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be
excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits
of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or
activity receiving Federal financial assistance”). If a
state entity meets § 1557's requirements,
then-pursuant to the terms of § 2000d-7-that entity has
waived its immunity against individual § 1557 claims in
federal court. Cf. Pace, 403 F.3d at 285-87 (holding
that Louisiana, as a recipient of federal funds, knowingly
and voluntarily waived its sovereign immunity with respect to
§ 504 claims under the terms of § 2000d-7);
Bennett-Nelson, 431 F.3d at 453 (concluding that
Louisiana Tech University was “an intended recipient of
federal financial assistance” and so falls within
§ 504 and § 2000d-7, because the University
ultimately benefited from federal student financial aid in
the form of tuition payments and other expenses).
supplemental brief addressing § 2000d-7's impact on
the § 1557 sovereign immunity question-which, again,
does not acknowledge Pace-the LSU Board argues that
“the ultimate aim of Congress under Section 1557 was to
the ‘health program or activity' and not to the
‘recipient of Federal financial
assistance.'” To support this argument, the LSU
Board points to McGarry v. Univ. of Miss. Med. Ctr.,
355 Fed. App'x 853 (5th Cir. 2009),  which itself
points to another Fifth Circuit panel decision that concluded
that “[t]he [Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA)] prohibits age discrimination by ‘employers,
' not by those who receive federal financial
assistance.” 355 Fed. App'x at 856 (quoting
Sullivan v. Univ. of Tex. Health Sci. Ctr. at Houston
Dental Branch, 217 Fed. App'x 391, 395 (5th Cir.
starters, McGarry's discussion of the ADEA
nondiscrimination provision is irrelevant to the Court's
§ 1557 sovereign immunity analysis. The ADEA provision
does not target recipients of federal financial assistance,
but rather targets employers. See 29 U.S.C. §
623(a). In contrast, § 1557 unambiguously targets
recipients of federal financial assistance. Hence, §
1557 falls squarely within the terms of § 2000d-7,
whereas the ADEA provision does not. See Sullivan,
217 Fed. App'x at 395 (observing that the applicability
of § 2000d-7 to a federal nondiscrimination provision
turns on whether the provision targets “recipients of
Federal financial assistance” (quoting 42 U.S.C. §
the LSU Board's unreasoned suggestion that Congress
intended the federal courts to essentially ignore the words
“Federal financial assistance” in § 1557,
the Court unequivocally rejects it. If Congress did not
intend § 1557 to turn on the receipt of federal
financial assistance, then all Congress had to do was delete
those words from the statute. Yet Congress passed, and the
President signed, those words into law. The Court is bound to
honor their choice by giving those words their appropriate
weight. See United States v. Ramirez-Carcamo, 559
F.3d 384, 387 (5th Cir. 2009) (“An important statutory
construction principle is ‘that a statute ought, upon