commencing at age 60. Id. at 109-10, 116-17. Thus, the FSGB
determined that the plaintiff did not qualify to receive an immediate
annuity, but that he did qualify to receive a lump-sum refund of his
retirement contributions. Id. Accordingly, the FSGB denied the
plaintiff's grievance concluding that the plaintiff's waiver of
entitlement to the immediate annuity and his election of a lump-sum
payment was lawful. Id. at 117, 121.
The plaintiff now appeals to this court for judicial review of the
FSGB's latest decision concerning (1) whether the defendant exceeded his
statutory and regulatory authority when denying consent to the
plaintiff's retirement, (2) whether the plaintiff knowingly and
voluntarily waived his right to his immediate annuity (also referred to
as a pension) when withdrawing a lump-sum payment of his contributions to
his pension, and (3) whether the defendant denied the plaintiff's
constitutionally guaranteed due process rights by denying the plaintiff
retirement and pension benefits. Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 2.
A. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540
(D.C. Cir. 1995). To determine which facts are "material," a court must
look to the substantive law on which each claim rests. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one
of which the resolution could establish an element of a claim or defense
and, therefore, affect the outcome of the action. Celotex, 477 U.S. at
322; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all
justifiable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor and accept the
nonmoving party's evidence as true. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. A
nonmoving party, however, must establish more than "the mere existence of
a scintilla of evidence" in support of its position. Id. at 252. To
prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must show that
the nonmoving party "fail[ed] to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which
that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at
322. By pointing to the absence of evidence proffered by the nonmoving
party, a moving party may succeed on summary judgment. Id.
In addition, the nonmoving party may not rely solely on allegations or
conclusory statements. Greene v. Dalton, 164 F.3d 671, 675 (D.C. Cir.
1999); Harding v. Gray, 9 F.3d 150, 154 (D.C. Cir. 1993). Rather, the
nonmoving party must present specific facts that would enable a
reasonable jury to find in its favor. Greene, 164 F.3d at 675. If the
evidence "is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment may be granted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal
B. The Scope of Review
Since this case involves a challenge to a final administrative action,
the court's review is limited to the administrative record. Fund for
Animals v. Babbitt, 903 F. Supp. 96, 105 (D.D.C. 1995) (citing
Camp v. Pitts, 411 U.S. 138, 142 (1973)). "Summary judgment is an
appropriate procedure for resolving a challenge to a federal agency's
administrative decision when review is based upon the administrative
record." Id. (citing Richards v. Immigration & Naturalization Serv., 180
554 F.2d 1173, 1177 (D.C. Cir. 1977)). The FSA provides
that "any aggrieved party may obtain judicial review of a final action of
the FSGB in the district courts of the United States."
22 U.S.C. § 4140. The FSA further provides that the
APA "shall apply without limitation or exception" to a district court's
review. 22 U.S.C. § 4140(a). The APA requires a
reviewing court to set aside an agency action that is "arbitrary,
capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with
law." 5 U.S.C. § 706. Moreover, the agency's decision must evince "a
rational connection between the facts found and the choice made." Motor
Vehicle Mfrs. Ass'n v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 43
(1983). Finally, "[w]here the agency has failed to provide a reasoned
explanation, or where the record belies the agency's conclusion, [the
court] must undo its action." AT&T Co. v. Fed. Communications Comm'n,
974 F.2d 1351, 1354 (D.C. Cir. 1992).
As the Supreme Court has explained, "the scope of review under the
`arbitrary and capricious' standard is narrow and a court is not to
substitute its judgment for that of the agency." Motor Vehicle Mfrs.
Ass'n, 463 U.S. at 43. In reviewing the action of an agency under
5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A), the court must determine whether the agency has
examined the relevant data and articulated a satisfactory explanation for
its action. Id. "In thoroughly reviewing the agency's actions, the court
considers whether the agency acted within the scope of its legal
authority, whether the agency has explained its decision, whether the
facts on which the agency purports to have relied have some basis in the
record, and whether the agency considered the relevant factors." Fund for
Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105 (citing Marsh v. Oregon Natural Res.
Council, 490 U.S. 360, 378 (1989)). In addition, the plaintiff has the
burden of showing "by cogent and clearly convincing evidence" that the
decision was the result of a material legal error or injustice. McDougall
v. Windall, 20 F. Supp.2d 78, 82 (D.D.C. 1998) (Green, J.) (internal
C. The Court Upholds the FSGB's Decision on Remand Because the FSGB
Determined That the Defendant Did Not Exceed His Statutory and
Regulatory Authority When He Denied Consent Under
Section 811 to the Plaintiff's Immediate Annuity
The scope of review under the arbitrary and capricious standard is
narrow, and a district court's review of an FSGB decision is highly
deferential. Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass'n, 463 U.S. at 43. If the FSGB acted
within the scope of its authority in making its decision, explaining its
decision, and relying on facts supported in the record, the court will
uphold the FSGB's decision. Fund for Animals, 903 F. Supp. at 105.