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Taylor v. United States Office of Personnel Management

United States District Court, District of Hawaii

January 2, 2015

SCARLETT A. TAYLOR, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING THE FEDERAL DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO DISMISS

SUSAN OKI MOLLWAY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. INTRODUCTION.

Plaintiffs Scarlett A. Taylor and Chanel E. Taylor (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) are suing over life insurance benefits they allege are payable in connection with the death of James P. Taylor, who was a federal employee.

Defendants United States Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”); Katherine Archuleta, in her official capacity as OPM Management Director; Patrick E. McFarland, in his official capacity as OPM Inspector General; Timothy Watkins, in his official capacity as Counsel to the OPM Inspector General; Hickam Air Base OPM Office Supervisor; Cynthia Miike, in her official capacity as Hickam Air Base OPM Agent; and Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (“FEGLI”) (collectively, the “Federal Defendants”) move to dismiss the claims asserted against them in the Complaint. The motion to dismiss is granted because Plaintiffs’ failure to submit their claim for administrative resolution deprives this court of jurisdiction.

This court exercises its discretion under Local Rule 7.2(d) to decide this motion without a hearing. That is, the hearing previously scheduled for January 6, 2015, is cancelled, as the written record in this case is sufficient to permit this court to rule without oral argument.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

On March 4, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in this court against the Federal Defendants[1] and MetLife Insurance Company (collectively, the “Defendants”). See ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs allege that the Federal Defendants improperly paid James Patrick Taylor’s life insurance benefits to his then-wife, Elisa M. Omeechevarria, rather than to Plaintiff Scarlett A. Taylor, James Taylor’s previous wife and the guardian of Chanel E. Taylor, James Taylor and Scarlett Taylor’s daughter. Id., PageID # 5-8. Plaintiffs contend that they were injured because the Federal Defendants failed: (1) to verify the authenticity of a change of beneficiary form submitted by Ms. Omeechevarria; (2) to recognize a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain Mr. Taylor’s insurance benefits; (3) to verify Ms. Omeechevarria’s Social Security number; and (4) to adequately train their employees. Id., PageID # 10-13. In listing alleged damages, Plaintiffs also appear to be complaining that they should have received other benefits, including James Taylor’s retirement benefits. Id., PageID # 14-16. Plaintiffs request $4, 294, 612.88 in damages against Defendants. Id., PageID # 18.

The Federal Defendants move to dismiss all claims against them under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See ECF No. 37. The Federal Defendants contend that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ claims against them because Plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies. ECF No. 37, PageID # 395.

III. STANDARD.

Under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint may be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

An attack on subject matter jurisdiction “may be facial or factual.” Safe Air for Everyone v. Meyer, 373 F.3d 1035, 1039 (9th Cir. 2004). A facial attack asserts that “the allegations contained in a complaint are insufficient on their face to invoke federal jurisdiction.” Id. A factual attack, on the other hand, “disputes the truth of the allegations that, by themselves, would otherwise invoke federal jurisdiction.” Id.

If the moving party makes a facial challenge, the court’s inquiry is “confin[ed] . . . to allegations in the complaint.” Savage v. Glendale Union High Sch., Dist. No. 205, Maricopa Cnty., 343 F.3d 1036, 1040 (9th Cir. 2003). Those allegations are taken by the court as true. Courthouse News Serv. v. Planet, 750 F.3d 776 (9th Cir. 2014).

If the moving party makes a factual challenge, as here, the court may consider evidence beyond the complaint and the court “need not presume the truthfulness of the plaintiff’s allegations.” Meyer, 373 F.3d at 1039. “Once the moving party has converted the motion to dismiss into a factual motion by presenting affidavits or other evidence properly brought before the court, the party opposing the motion must furnish affidavits or other evidence necessary to satisfy its burden ...


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