This morning, the Federal Circuit issued three precedential opinions in a veterans case, a case appealed from the Merit Systems Protection Board, and a patent case. Here are the introductions to the opinions.

Burkhart v. Wilkie (Precedential)

Sally Burkhart, the widow of a United States Army veteran, appeals the decision of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims denying her eligibility for home loan guaranty benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs under title 38, chapter 37. We conclude that, as the surviving spouse of a veteran without a service-connected disability, Ms. Burkhart is not eligible for home loan guaranty benefits under any of the statutes she relies upon. And, the Veterans Court correctly determined that it lacked the power to grant her equitable relief. We therefore affirm the decision of the Veterans Court.

Dyer v. Department of the Air Force (Precedential)

Mr. Leonard Dyer petitions for review of a decision by the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”) affirming the West Virginia adjutant general’s termination of Mr. Dyer from his position as a dual-status military technician with the U.S. Air Force.

The National Guard Technicians Act of 1968 (“NGTA”) established authority for dual-status positions like Mr. Dyer’s. Under 32 U.S.C. § 709, the NGTA requires dualstatus technicians to maintain military membership with the National Guard. Mr. Dyer met this requirement by maintaining membership with the West Virginia Air National Guard (“WVANG”) until 2018, when Mr. Dyer was separated from the WVANG. The WV adjutant general terminated his dual-status position because he no longer met the military membership requirement of his employment. Mr. Dyer appealed the termination to the Board, arguing that he was not provided the due process he is entitled to under Title 5.

A threshold issue in this petition for review is whether the Board had jurisdiction to review Mr. Dyer’s termination from his dual-status position as a result of his separation from the WVANG. The Board determined that the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”), which amended the NGTA in part, provided it jurisdiction. We disagree. We hold that according to 32 U.S.C. § 709, the Board does not have jurisdiction over the termination of a dual-status employee to the extent the termination was required under the statute because the employee had been separated from the National Guard. We therefore vacate the Board’s decision and remand with instructions to dismiss Mr. Dyer’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction. We do not reach the merits of Mr. Dyer’s appeal.

Sowinski v. California Air Resources Board (Precedential)

Dr. Richard Sowinski appeals the dismissal, on the ground of res judicata, of his patent infringement suit against the California Air Resources Board. He raises two principal arguments: (1) that res judicata does not apply because his present complaint seeks damages only for infringement that occurred after conclusion of his prior suits and (2) that res judicata does not apply because the prior suit was resolved on procedural grounds, without reaching the merits of infringement. We conclude that the district court’s decision is in accordance with law and precedent and is within the court’s discretionary authority, and is affirmed.