United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
J. CONRAD, JR. JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Heather
Wilson's (“Defendant's”) Motion to
Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction or Failure to State a Claim,
(Doc. No. 6); her Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 6-1);
Blair Coleman's (“Plaintiff's”) Response
in Opposition, (Doc. No. 12); Defendant's Reply, (Doc.
No. 14); and the Magistrate Judge's Memorandum and
Recommendation (“M&R”), (Doc. No. 15),
recommending the Court grant Defendant's Motion. Both
Defendant and Plaintiff have filed timely objections. (Doc.
Nos. 16, 17). Defendant also filed a timely reply to
Plaintiff's objection on March 30, 2018. (Doc. No. 18).
The Motion is now ripe for the Court's consideration.
party has objected to the Magistrate Judge's statement of
the factual and procedural background of this case.
Therefore, the Court adopts the facts as reproduced below.
seeks an injunction pursuant to the Administrative Procedure
Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq.,
awarding him a disability retirement pension. On October 24,
2005, Plaintiff was medically separated from the United
States Air Force for an anxiety disorder. At the time, he was
a staff sergeant on active duty. Plaintiff's medical
condition arose from his deployment to Iraq in 2004, where he
witnessed another service member being severely injured
during a mortar attack.
result, Plaintiff was entered into the Disability Evaluation
System process. His claim was forwarded to an Informal
Physical Evaluation Board (IPEB) to determine whether his
diagnosis for anxiety disorder made him unfit for military
duty. On September 9, 2005, the IPEB concluded that Plaintiff
was unfit for military duty and assigned him a disability
rating of ten percent.
2008, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act
which mandated retroactive consideration of earlier claims
under new regulations related to post-traumatic stress
disorder. These determinations were made by the Physical
Disability Board of Review (PDBR).
April 16, 2011, Plaintiff requested a hearing before the
PDBR, stating “I should have been medically retired. I
was a career airman planning on making the Air Force my
career. I feel 10% is unfair considering I'm still
suffering from symptoms.” On May 17, 2012, the PDBR
affirmed the ten percent rating and denied Plaintiff's
filed this action on June 8, 2017.
August 11, 2017, Defendant moved to dismiss arguing that this
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Defendant asserts
that Plaintiff is bringing a monetary claim and thus the
Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1491; 5 U.S.C. § 702
(limiting APA relief to something “other than money
damages”) provides an adequate remedy. The Court of
Federal Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over such monetary
claims against the United States where it is apparent on its
face that the amount demanded exceeds $10, 000.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court may assign dispositive pretrial matters,
including motions to dismiss, to a magistrate judge for
“proposed findings of fact and recommendations.”
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) & (B). The Federal
Magistrate Act provides that a district court “shall
make a de novo determination of those portions of the report
or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made.” Id. § 636(b)(1)(C);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). However, “when objections to
strictly legal issues are raised and no factual issues are
challenged, de novo review of the record may be dispensed
with.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47
(4th Cir. 1982). De novo review is also not required
“when a party makes general or conclusory objections
that do not direct the court to a specific error in the
magistrate judge's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Id. Similarly, when no
objection is filed, “a district court need not conduct
a de novo review, but instead must ‘only satisfy itself
that there is no clear error on the face of the record in
order to accept the recommendation.'”
Diamond v. Colonial Life & Acc. Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72, advisory committee note).
comes before the Court pursuant to the APA seeking an
injunction mandating the PDBR correct his discharge records
to reflect medical retirement by reason of permanent
disability. (Doc. No. 1 at 14). Defendant, however, states
that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction and that it
is the Court of ...