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Melchor R. Jayme v. United States of America

January 18, 2011

MELCHOR R. JAYME, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thompson, U.S.D.J.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION & ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Defendants the United States Department of Veterans Affairs*fn1 ("VA"), Eric Shinseki, and Kenneth Mcquown's Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, for Summary Judgment [docket #7], and upon Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [9]. The Court has decided the matter after considering the parties' submissions, without holding oral argument, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part, and Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

In 2009, Congress created the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund (FVEC) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Pub. L. No. 111-5, Title X, § 1002, 123 Stat. 115, 200-02 (to be codified at 38 U.S.C. § 107). The FVEC entitles eligible Filipino veterans of World War II to a one-time payment of $15,000 for U.S. citizens and $9,000 for non-citizens. Id.

Plaintiff Melchor R. Jayme is a Filipino-American who served in the Commonwealth Army of the Philippines and the U.S. Army during World War II. On May 13, 2009, Plaintiff filed a claim seeking compensation under the FVEC. His claim was denied because the VA had previously determined, in a written decision issued approximately May 19, 1953, that he had forfeited all rights to benefits provided by the VA by assisting the enemy Japanese during the war. Plaintiff then sent a letter to VA Director Eric Shinseki requesting that Shinseki declare the May 1953 decision and an alleged July 1949 decision "null and void."

Plaintiff filed this suit on June 25, 2010. His first filing-docketed as the complaint- states that he is "in the process of filing a complaint" and that he seeks, as an "interim motion," a writ of mandamus to compel the Defendants to produce the 1953 and 1949 decisions. (Compl. 2) [1].

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment on October 14. Their motion argues that they should prevail because (1) Plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted because he fails to allege a statutory basis for jurisdiction, or (2) this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff's requested relief has already been provided or cannot be provided, and thus no live case or controversy exists. *fn2

(Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss) [7].

On November 3, Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment in which he admits that he mistakenly violated the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, jeopardizing the jurisdiction and judicial process of his case. (Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. 1) [9]. Unlike his complaint, which only requested that Defendants produce the 1949 and 1953 decisions, his motion seeks the following:

1) declare unconstitutional the laws authorizing the VA's 1953 decision; 2) declare the 1953 and 1949 decisions null and void; 3) order Defendants to pay Plaintiff under the FVEC; and 4) reinstate all of Plaintiff's rights and benefits. (Id. at 12.) Defendants oppose the motion because Plaintiff seeks relief not requested in the complaint and the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. (Mem. in Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. 3) [12].

II. ANALYSIS

A.Legal Standard

If a defendant challenges the court's jurisdiction under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction, but the burden is light: the court should only dismiss for lack of jurisdiction where the claim "is so insubstantial, implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court, or otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a federal controversy." Growth ...


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