United States District Court, District of Columbia
MICHAEL E. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
ROBERT WILKIE, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, et al., Defendants.
BERMAN JACKSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Michael E. Williams is a disabled army veteran who,
proceeding pro se, brought this lawsuit against
President Donald J. Trump; Robert Wilkie,  the Secretary of
Veterans Affairs; and other individuals allegedly employed by
the Department of Veterans Affairs
("VA"). See Compl. [Dkt. #1]; Am. Compl.
[Dkt. # 6] (incorporating the statement of facts in
the original complaint). At bottom, plaintiff appears to be
dissatisfied with the amount of disability benefits he is
receiving from the VA, and the length of time it takes for
disputes to be resolved. See Compl.; Am. Compl. at
4. He maintains that he is entitled to an eighty percent
disability rating, instead of the ten percent rating he has
received, or $150, 000.00. Am. Compl. at 5; Pl.'s Resp.
to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 27] ("Pl.'s
Opp.") at 4.
before the Court is defendant Wilkie's motion to dismiss.
Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 25] ("Def.'s
Mot"); Def.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Supp. of
Def.'s Mot. [Dkt. # 25] ("Def.'s Mem.").
While the Court can certainly understand why plaintiff is
frustrated with the status of his case, it will grant the
motion to dismiss because it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction to hear plaintiffs claims.
record reveals that plaintiff served in the U.S.
Army from August 12, 1963, through July 29, 1966. Ex. A to
Def.'s Mot. [Dkt. #25-1] ("Ex. A") at 2. In
January 2008, the VA awarded plaintiff monthly benefits for a
medical condition found to be related to his military
service. Id. at 1. The VA rated this injury as ten
percent disabling. Id.
appealed that decision on January 27, 2011, seeking
additional benefits. See Ex. A at 2. The VA
apparently did not decide the appeal until June 12, 2017.
See Id. While the VA found that other injuries
plaintiff cited were service-connected, it rated them as zero
percent disabling and therefore denied additional
compensation. Id. at 1-3, 5. On June 14, 2017, the
VA sent plaintiff a letter explaining that he would not
receive any additional benefits since "[t]he law says VA
can't pay for disabilities that are less than 10%
disabling." Id. at 5. But it confirmed that
plaintiff would continue to receive compensation at the ten
percent disability rating, per the 2008 determination.
appealed the decision, and on June 24, 2017, the VA sent
plaintiff another letter indicating that the appeal had been
certified to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. Ex. A at 6.
Plaintiffs case remains open. Id. at 6; Def.'s
Mem. at 2; see Pl.'s Opp. at 4-5.
initiated this action on June 19, 2017 in the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Texas. See Compl.
That court observed that plaintiffs complaint lacked
"information necessary for the Court's review of
[p]laintiff s claims," so it ordered plaintiff to submit
an amended complaint using the "General Complaint"
form found on the court's website. Order [Dkt. #3].
Although plaintiff filed an amended complaint, it merely
incorporated the statement of facts from the original
complaint. See Am. Compl. at 4. On June 30, 2017,
the Eastern District of Texas transferred the case to this
Court based on the location of the defendants and the alleged
misconduct. See Order to Transfer [Dkt. # 8].
plaintiff filed a lawsuit against six people, the complaint
only makes allegations against three of them. The complaint
alleges that the Secretary of the VA and the President of the
United States have "conspired to cut or eliminate
veteran disability payments." Compl.; Am. Compl. at 4.
Plaintiff also claims that "Bryan Ross reported [him] as
deceased to stop disability payments." Compl.; Am.
Compl. at 4. Plaintiff complains of "age
discrimination, fraud in filing false documents . . .,
conspiracy to deny medical attention, arbitrary and
capricious claim, [and] intentional delay to cause [his]
death . . . prior to [the] resolution" of his unanswered
requests. Compl.; Am. Compl. at 4.
February 14, 2018, defendant Wilkie filed a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack
of subject matter jurisdiction, and Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim. Def.'s Mot. Plaintiff responded on
March 5, 2018, Pl.'s Opp., but defendant did not file a
evaluating a motion to dismiss under either Rule 12(b)(1) or
12(b)(6), the Court must "treat the complaint's
factual allegations as true and must grant plaintiff 'the
benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts
alleged.'" Sparrow v. United Air Lines,
Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal
citation omitted), quoting Schuler v. United States,
617 F.2d 605, 608 (D.C. Cir. 1979); see also Am.
Nat'l Ins. Co. v. FDIC, 642 F.3d 1137, 1139 (D.C.
Cir. 2011), quoting Thomas v. Principi, 394 F.3d
970, 972 (D.C. Cir. 2005). Nevertheless, the Court need not
accept inferences drawn by the plaintiff if those inferences
are unsupported by facts alleged in the complaint, nor must
the Court accept plaintiffs legal conclusions. Browning
v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002).
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing
jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. See
Lujan v. Defs. of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992);
Shekoyan v. Sibley Int'l Corp., 217 F.Supp.2d
59, 63 (D.D.C. 2002). 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);
see also Gen. Motors Corp. v. EPA, 363 F.3d 442, 448
(D.C. Cir. 2004) ("As a court of limited jurisdiction,
we begin, and end, with an examination of our
jurisdiction."). "[B]ecause 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 lr., Ltd. v.
Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S. 694, 702
considering a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction,
unlike when deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6),
the court "is not limited to the allegations of the
complaint." Hohri, 782 F.2d at 241. Rather,
"a court may consider such materials outside the
pleadings as it deems appropriate to resolve the question
[of] whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case."
Scolaro, 104 F.Supp.2d at 22, citing