United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendants Office of
Personnel Management (“OPM”) and S. Ragland's
(“Defendants”) motion for summary judgment (Dkt.
24). The Court has considered the pleadings filed in support
of and in opposition to the motion and the remainder of the
file and hereby grants the motion for the reasons stated
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
to October 24, 2014, Plaintiff Jane Marie Allison
(“Allison”) was a hazardous waste disposer for
the Navy. On that date, the Navy revoked Allison's
security clearance preventing her from performing the
essential functions of her job. The Navy paid its portion of
Allison's Federal Employee Health Benefits
(“FEHB”) costs for one year thereafter, until
October 24, 2015. Allison failed to pay her portion of the
costs from November 2014 and the entire premiums from
November 1, 2015 until her separation date of April 11, 2016.
OPM sent Allison a letter informing her that the Navy
terminated her enrollment and she had not been covered by a
FEBH plan since November 1, 2015. OPM also allowed Allison
the opportunity to reinstate her FEHB enrollment effective
November 1, 2014 or January 1, 2016 if she paid the premiums
back to that date. Although Allison completed a form to
reinstate her health benefits from January 2016, she failed
to make the payments.
subsequently applied for retirement and for enrollment in the
FEHB as a retiree. On January 17, 2017, OPM denied her
request for continued coverage in the FEHB because there had
been a break in her coverage from October 25, 2015 until her
removal date of April 11, 2016. In other words, she had not
been continuously enrolled in a health insurance plan under
the FEHB for five years immediately prior to her retirement.
February 25, 2017, Allison filed a request for
reconsideration of OPM's initial decision. On May 23,
2017, OPM issued a decision affirming its initial decision
and informed Allison of the right to appeal the decision in
federal district court.
6, 2017, Allison filed her complaint. Dkt. 1. On March 1,
2018, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt.
24. On March 20, 2018, Allison responded. Dkt. 26. On March
29, 2018, Defendants replied. Dkt. 27.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper only if the pleadings, the discovery and
disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the
case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record,
taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative
evidence, not simply “some metaphysical doubt”).
See also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a
genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is
sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute,
requiring a judge or jury to resolve the differing versions
of the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 253 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac.
Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir.
determination of the existence of a material fact is often a
close question. The Court must consider the substantive
evidentiary burden that the nonmoving party must meet at
trial - e.g., a preponderance of the evidence in most civil
cases. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254; T.W. Elec.
Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630. The Court must resolve any
factual issues of controversy in favor of the nonmoving party
only when the facts specifically attested by that party
contradict facts specifically attested by the moving party.
The nonmoving party may not merely state that it will
discredit the moving party's evidence at trial, in the
hopes that evidence can be developed at trial to support the
claim. T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc., 809 F.2d at 630
(relying on Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Conclusory,
nonspecific statements in affidavits are not sufficient, and
missing facts will not be presumed. Lujan v. Nat'l
Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990).
argue that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law
and that Allison has failed to submit any evidence that
creates a material question of fact. The Court agrees. Under
Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), a court
may review and set aside an agency's final action only if
the action was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of
discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” 5
U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). Under the Federal Employees Health
Benefits Act (“FEHBA”), an employee may continue
his or her health insurance in retirement if statutory
prerequisites are met. 5 U.S.C. § 8905(b). The relevant
requirement here is that the employee has been enrolled in a
health benefits plan for “the 5 years of service
immediately before retirement.” 5 U.S.C. §
case, Allison failed to comply with the requirements of the
FEHBA and OPM's decision to deny her application for
benefits was not arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.
The only possible question of fact is based on Allison's
assertion that she was making her health care payments. Dkt.
26 at 1. Allison also asserts that an OPM agent asked for her
bank records to prove her payments, but, when Allison
contacted her bank, it informed her that they could not
retrieve the records because they were too far back.
Id. No reasonable juror would believe that a bank
would fail to keep records dating back two years. Moreover,
Allison fails to submit any evidence from the bank confirming
the bank's record retention policies. Based on these
failures, the Court is left with a self-serving statement
from Allison that could have been, but was not supported with
easily obtainable evidence establishing either payment or
failure to retain records.The Court concludes that ...