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Corrigan v. National Treasury Employees Union

March 5, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Re Document Nos. 12, 14




This matter comes before the court on the renewed motions to dismiss filed by the defendants, the National Credit Union Administration ("the NCUA" or "the agency"), the National Treasury Employees Union ("the NTEU" or "the union") and the Office of Personnel Management ("the OPM"). The union represents the agency's employees in the collective bargaining process. The pro se plaintiff, an employee of the agency, commenced this action in August 2008 challenging the validity of certain provisions of a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") entered into by the agency and the union. The defendants previously filed motions to dismiss, which the court denied without prejudice in August 2009. The defendants have now filed renewed motions to dismiss. Because the court concludes that it lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate the plaintiff's claims, the court grants the defendants' motions to dismiss.


The pro se plaintiff commenced this action against the union, the agency and the OPM in August 2008, and filed an amended complaint shortly thereafter. See generally Compl.; Am. Compl. The plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment invalidating certain portions of the CBA that the agency and the union entered into in early 2008. Id. While the plaintiff's allegations are somewhat unclear, it appears that he seeks to invalidate the portions of the CBA concerning the compensation that agency employees are to receive for the time spent commuting and traveling overnight. See Am. Compl. ¶ 6. More specifically, the plaintiff claims that the CBA violates the OPM's regulations concerning "hours of work" and that the OPM's regulations concerning "hours of work" are arbitrary, capricious or an abuse of discretion. See id. ¶¶ 6, 8. The plaintiff also suggests that the CBA's provisions concerning employees' travel reimbursements improperly revised the Federal Travel Regulation ("FTR"). See id. ¶ 7.

In two separate motions, the three defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint in late 2008, contending that the court lacked subject matter over this action as a result of the plaintiff's failure to comply with the grievance procedures enumerated in the CBA. See generally NTEU's Renewed Mot.; NCUA and OPM's Renewed Mot. Because neither motion attached the provisions of the CBA concerning those procedures, however, the court was unable to conclude that the plaintiff's claims should be dismissed. See Mem. Order (Aug. 3, 2009). Consequently, the court denied without prejudice the defendants' original motions to dismiss. Id.

The union filed a renewed motion to dismiss on August 10, 2009, see generally NTEU's Renewed Mot., and the agency and the OPM filed a joint renewed motion to dismiss on August 14, 2009, see generally NCUA and OPM's Renewed Mot. With briefing now complete, the court turns to the applicable legal standard and the parties' arguments.


A. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and the law presumes that "a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); St. Paul Mercury Indem. Co. v. Red Cab Co., 303 U.S. 283, 288-89 (1938); see also Gen. Motors Corp. v. Envtl. Prot. Agency, 363 F.3d 442, 448 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (noting that "[a]s a court of limited jurisdiction, we begin, and end, with an examination of our jurisdiction").

Because "subject-matter jurisdiction is an 'Art[icle] III as well as a statutory requirement[,] no action of the parties can confer subject-matter jurisdiction upon a federal court.'" Akinseye v. District of Columbia, 339 F.3d 970, 971 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (quoting Ins. Corp. of Ir., Ltd. v. Compagnie des Bauxite de Guinea, 456 U.S. 694, 702 (1982)). On a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992).

Because subject matter jurisdiction focuses on the court's power to hear the claim, however, the court must give the plaintiff's factual allegations closer scrutiny when resolving a Rule 12(b)(1) motion than would be required for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim. Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 64, 69 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Grand Lodge of Fraternal Order of Police v. Ashcroft, 185 F. Supp. 2d 9, 13 (D.D.C. 2001). Thus, the court is not limited to the allegations contained in the complaint. Hohri v. United States, 782 F.2d 227, 241 (D.C. Cir. 1986), vacated on other grounds, 482 U.S. 64 (1987). When necessary, the court may consider the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced ...

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