are not required to obtain redress in the Claims Court. Plaintiffs allege that because they seek only equitable relief, this Court can properly exercise jurisdiction under the Tucker Act. In addition, they assert that the Court has independent jurisdiction over their claims based on section 1331 and the APA.
In determining whether plaintiff's claims are within the Claims Court's exclusive jurisdiction, the Court must look beyond the pleadings to the actual nature of the relief they seek. E.g., Megapulse, Inc. v. Lewis, 217 U.S. App. D.C. 397, 672 F.2d 959, 967 (D.C. Cir. 1982). With the exception of Count IV, plaintiffs request declaratory relief that would establish the monetary liability of the federal government, triggering Claims Court jurisdiction. Equitable relief that determines monetary liability of the federal government would not deprive the District Court of jurisdiction under the Tucker Act, however, if plaintiffs can establish that the equitable relief serves a significant purpose, independent of and in meaningful addition to any monetary relief.
E.g., Ramirez de Arellano v. Weinberger, 240 U.S. App. D.C. 363, 745 F.2d 1500, 1533 (D.C. Cir. 1984), vacated on other grounds, 471 U.S. 1113, 105 S. Ct. 2353, 86 L. Ed. 2d 255 (1985), on remand, 252 U.S. APP. D.C. 137, 788 F.2d 762 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (dismissed as moot); Hahn, 757 F.2d at 589. Conversely, if injunctive/declaratory relief is merely incidental to the monetary relief, and does nothing more than establish the plaintiffs' legal entitlement to money without expanding the relief "in any meaningful way," their claims will be within the Claims Court's exclusive jurisdiction. E.g., State of Minnesota by Noot v. Heckler, 718 F.2d 852, 859-60 n.13 (8th Cir. 1983).
Relying on Hahn, Ramirez, and Minnesota, plaintiffs assert that the declaratory relief they seek has "independent, prospective significance," claiming that a declaration of federal liability for the Pension Fund would facilitate negotiations and possible settlement with Congress, and would eliminate the "stigma" the Board bears because it cannot ensure adequate pension funding. They have not shown how the future conduct of plaintiffs or District of Columbia employees would be affected by a declaratory judgment. No court has premised the District Court's exercise of jurisdiction to grant equitable relief upon such tenuous prospective benefits. Plaintiffs admit that they seek specific dollar amounts, and have not shown what relief this Court could fashion that would not immediately result in monetary liability for the United States. The speculative possibility of extra-judicial compromise among the parties, wherein no money would be paid, is an insufficient basis for District Court jurisdiction in the face of the Tucker Act. Further, as there is no agency action at issue within the meaning of the APA, plaintiffs' alternative basis for jurisdiction must also fail. Taking all the allegations of the complaint as true, and drawing all inferences in plaintiffs' favor, the Court concludes that Counts I, II, III, and V are within the Claims Court's exclusive jurisdiction and must be dismissed.
B. Failure to State a Claim
In Count IV, plaintiffs assert that the Reform Act's allocation of Pension Fund liability has deprived them of protected property in violation of the fifth amendment's guarantee of substantive due process. As plaintiffs do not seek monetary relief for this claim, it does not fall within the Claims Court's exclusive jurisdiction. The due process claim suffers from a more fundamental defect, however. Plaintiffs seek due process protection for their statutory retirement and disability benefits. It is uniformly held that such benefits are not "property" sufficient to trigger substantive constitutional protection. E.g., Zucker v. United States, 758 F.2d 637 (Fed. Cir.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 842, 106 S. Ct. 129, 88 L. Ed. 2d 105 (1985); Stouper v. Jones, 109 U.S. App. D.C. 106, 284 F.2d 240, 242 (D.C. Cir. 1960); National Association of Retired Federal Employees v. Horner, (" NARFE ") 633 F. Supp. 511 (D.D.C. 1986) (three-judge panel); National Treasury Employees Union v. Devine, 591 F. Supp. 1143, 1147 (D.D.C. 1984).
Absent any "property" to protect, the due process claim must be dismissed.
An order consistent with the above conclusions accompanies this opinion.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
Upon consideration of defendant's motion to dismiss, plaintiffs' opposition and response, defendant's reply and surrebuttal, the accompanying memoranda, and argument of counsel, it is this 6th day of April, 1987,
1) defendant's motion to dismiss Counts I, II, III, and V under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) is granted, and these Counts are dismissed without prejudice to the action pending in the Claims Court; and
2) defendant's motion to dismiss Count IV of the complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is granted, and Count IV is dismissed with prejudice.