Lindahl v. Office of Personnel Management


Question(s) Presented

“This case presents two questions of substantial importance to the administration of the Government’s retirement annuity program.” 1. “The first is whether [5 U.S.C.] § 8347(c) bars judicial review altogether of an MSPB judgment affirming the denial by OPM of a disability retirement claim, or bars review only of factual determinations while permitting review for alleged errors of law and procedure.” 2. “If judicial review is available to the latter, limited extent, a second question arises: whether the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction directly to review MSPB decisions in such cases, or whether an applicant whose appeal is rejected by the MSPB must instead file a Tucker Act claim in the United States Claims Court or a United States district court, from which an appeal could then be taken to the Federal Circuit.”


1. “The Federal Circuit . . . erred in concluding that § 8347, as amended, altogether bars judicial review of MSPB decisions in retirement disability cases. Accordingly, while the factual underpinnings of § 8347 disability determinations may not be judicially reviewed, such review is available to determine whether there has been a substantial departure from important procedural rights, a misconstruction of the governing legislation, or some like error going to the heart of the administrative determination.” 2. “[W]e conclude that MSPB decisions concerning retirement disability claims are reviewable in the first instance by the Federal Circuit pursuant to the jurisdictional grants in 5 U.S.C. § 7703(b)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1295(a)(9).”