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Finley v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

Arkansas Supreme Court
270 S.W.3d 849 (2008)


Facts

Amy Finley (plaintiff) and Wade Finley were married. Amy underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) using Wade’s sperm. Ten embryos were consequently produced, four of which were frozen. On July 19, 2001, Wade died intestate. On June 26, 2002, Amy unfroze two of the embryos and in 2003 gave birth to a child. Amy filed a claim for the child’s insurance benefits based on Wade’s income prior to his death. The Social Security Administration (SSA) (defendant) denied Amy’s claim. Amy appealed, filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The district court certified the question of whether the child could inherit from Wade as a surviving child to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Amy argued that the child was conceived when the sperm was implanted in the egg. The SSA argued that the child was not conceived until Amy became pregnant, after the Finleys’ marriage had ended due to Wade’s death.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Danielson, J.)

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