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HUNT v. USAF

March 29, 1994

EDWARD HUNT, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, et al, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. CURTIS JOYNER

 Joyner, J.

 This action involves a pro se plaintiff who has sued the United States Air Force and various other federal agencies because he was "raped of [his] civil rights by the system." Defendants now seek dismissal of the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This motion is uncontested. *fn1" For the reasons set forth more fully below, defendants' motion will be granted.

 I. Standard

 A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is the appropriate method in which to challenge the legal sufficiency of a claim. See United States v. Marisol, Inc., 725 F. Supp. 833 (M.D. Pa. 1989). In ruling upon a 12(b)(6) motion, the court primarily considers the allegations in the complaint, although matters of public record, orders, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to the complaint may also be taken into account. Chester County Intermediate Unit v. Pennsylvania Blue Shield, 896 F.2d 808, 812 (3rd Cir. 1990). In so reviewing the pleadings and any materials of record, the court must accept as true all of the matters pleaded and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, construing them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3rd Cir. 1990); Hough/Lowe Assoc., Inc. v. CLX Realty Co., 760 F. Supp. 1141, 1142 (E.D. Pa. 1991). A complaint is properly dismissed if it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S. Ct. 99, 101-102, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80 (1957); Ransom v. Marrazzo, 848 F.2d 398, 401 (3rd Cir. 1988). However, a court must construe pro se complaints liberally, and such complaints are held to less stringent standards than those drafted by attorneys. Blassingale v. Administration at Suburban Gen. Hosp., 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15597, No. CIV. A. 93-2601, 1993 WL 451491, at 1 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 3, 1993) (citations omitted); Orrs v. Comings, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14615, No. CIV. A. 92-6442, 1993 WL 418361 at 1 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 13, 1993) (citations omitted).

 II. Discussion

 Plaintiff's complaint consists of various "infractions" committed by certain individuals within various federal agencies, along with numerous exhibits attached to his complaint. The majority of these exhibits appear to be medical records, letters, as well as records of claims filed by plaintiff while he was employed at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. The complaint, which is virtually unintelligible, does not set forth any individual counts, nor does it seek any type of relief other than to demand a jury trial. However, keeping in mind that we are to construe pro se complaints liberally, we will address plaintiff's allegations to the extent that it is possible.

 A. Veterans Benefits

 Plaintiff alleges that he was denied 100 percent disability pay with proof of his military health record. To the extent that plaintiff is seeking judicial review of the denial of any veterans benefits, however, this is specifically precluded by statute under 38 U.S.C. § 511(a) (1991). See El-Amin v. U.S. Veterans Admin., 760 F. Supp. 747, 748 (N.D. Ind. 1991), aff'd, 956 F.2d 272 (7th Cir. 1992) (federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction to review decisions regarding entitlement to veterans benefits under section 211(a)); *fn2" see also United States ex rel. Hester v. Veterans Admin. Center, 330 F. Supp. 995 (E.D. Pa. 1971), aff'd, 478 F.2d 1399 (3rd Cir. 1973); Hoffmaster v. Veterans' Admin., 315 F. Supp. 62 (E.D. Pa. 1970), aff'd, 444 F.2d 192 (3rd Cir. 1971). As such, this claim is dismissed.

 B. Social Security Benefits

 Before a court has jurisdiction to review a social security determination, there must have been a claim for benefits presented to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a final decision after a hearing. Rankin v. Heckler, 761 F.2d 936, 940 (3rd Cir. 1985) (quoting Liberty Alliance of the Blind v. Califano, 568 F.2d 333, 344 (3rd Cir. 1977)); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (1991 & supp. 1993). The first requirement is mandatory, and the second requirement can be waived, however, it has previously been waived only in situations where a party is challenging the statutory issues upon which the Secretary has taken a final position or where constitutional issues are raised. Rankin, 761 F.2d at 940. Where "the claim involves an individual disability determination, the policies of exhaustion counsel full compliance with the § 405(g) requirement." Tustin v. Heckler, 749 F.2d 1055, 1063 n. 13 (3rd Cir. 1984).

 Plaintiff alleges that Joseph Muffolett denied him his social security benefits without foundation, and that it took him four years to reach this conclusion. As defendants correctly note, plaintiff's exhibits show that the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Department of Health and Human Services found that plaintiff was eligible for benefits due to disability, which decision was amended by an administrative law judge on April 17, 1993. Attached to the complaint is also a notice of appeal dated July 5, 1993. However, plaintiff's complaint was filed on August 27, 1993, and there is no indication in the complaint that the appeal has yet been decided by the Appeals Council. As such, this Court lacks jurisdiction over plaintiff's appeal until his administrative remedies have been exhausted.

 C. Liability of Philadelphia Naval Shipyard

 Plaintiff next alleges several infractions by the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where he was apparently employed from sometime in the 1970's until August of 1989. However, for the following ...


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