Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, D.C. Civil No. 85-1497.
Before: SLOVITER, MANSMANN, Circuit Judges, and SCIRICA, District Judge*fn*
Plaintiff Matthew Chabal, Jr. filed suit in federal district court challenging his removal from his position as the United States Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and seeking reinstatement, back pay and other damages. The district court found that Chabal's complaint failed to state a claim and dismissed the action under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Chabal v. Reagan, 633 F. Supp. 1061 (M.D. Pa. 1986). Chabal appeals.
The threshold issue presented by this appeal is whether this court has jurisdiction over an appeal challenging a district court's dismissal on the merits of a complaint seeking both reinstatement and monetary damages from, inter alia, the United States or whether such an appeal rests exclusively with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Resolution of that issue requires us to consider whether the district court had jurisdiction in the first instance.
In 1982, Chabal was appointed to a four-year term as the marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 561.*fn1 On October 4, 1985, prior to the expiration of his term, Chabal received a letter from defendant Robert Tuttle, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel dated September 26, 1985, informing Chabal that he was thereby removed from his position as a marshal.
On October 9, 1985, Chabal filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania naming as defendants President Reagan, Tuttle and certain officials f the Marshal's Service, both as individuals and in their official capacities, the Marshal's Service, the United States Justice Department, and the United States (all defendants hereafter referred to jointly as United States unless the context indicates otherwise). Chabal alleged that he was entitled to an investigation before removal by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) of the Merit Systems Protection Board pursuant to the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, and that his removal deprived him of property and liberty interests without due process of law. The complaint sought as relief declaratory and injunctive relief preventing Chabal's removal "pending and investigation and recommendation by the Office of Special Counsel," App. at 15, and monetary recovery in an unspecified amount.
On November 26, 1985, the defendants moved for dismissal of the complaint. The defendants and Chabal then stipulated that Chabal could amend his complaint to state an additional claim that his removal had occurred in retaliation for his exercise of First Amendment rights; that a January 14, 1986, letter from the Office of Special Counsel had mooted Chabal's claim for an injunction barring dismissal pending an investigation by the OSC; that Chabal would be considered to be seeking reinstatement; and that the United States; motion for dismissal would be considered to apply to the amended complaint.
In essence, Chabal's amended complaint alleges that Chabal received an unjustified unsatisfactory performance rating and was removed from his job as marshal by the President because Chabal followed the orders of the federal judges in his district rather than those of his superiors in the Marshal's Office and the Justice Department. The amended complaint restates Chabal's claims that his removal violated 28 U.S.C. § 561 and the Civil Service Reform Act and deprived him of property and liberty interest without due process of law, and adds the claim that the removal represented retaliation for Chabal's exercise of First Amendment rights. Chabal seeks as relief: (1) reinstatement; (2) "Damages which may be ...