768 F.2d 330 (Fed. Cir. 1985), 84-1733, Sinha v. Veterans Admin.

Docket Nº:Appeal No. 84-1733.
Citation:768 F.2d 330
Party Name:Akhouri A. SINHA, Petitioner, v. VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, Respondent.
Case Date:July 25, 1985
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Page 330

768 F.2d 330 (Fed. Cir. 1985)

Akhouri A. SINHA, Petitioner,



Appeal No. 84-1733.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

July 25, 1985

Phillip L. Powell, LeVander, Zimpfer, Zotaley & Vander Linden, Minneapolis, Minn., argued for petitioner.

Denise Butler Harty, Commercial Litigation Branch, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., argued for respondent. With her on brief were Richard K. Willard, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., David M. Cohen, Director, Robert A. Reutershan, Asst. Director, and Lynn J. Bush, Washington, D.C. Also on brief was C. Charles Caruso, Veterans Admin., St. Paul, Minn., of counsel.

Before FRIEDMAN, NIES and NEWMAN, Circuit Judges.

FRIEDMAN, Circuit Judge.

This petition for review challenges the decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board, affirming the petitioner's removal from his position as a Research Physiologist

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with the Veterans Administration (VA) through a reduction in force, 21 M.S.P.R. 681. We affirm.


The petitioner was employed by the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Medical Center), as a GS-14 Research Physiologist. He functioned both as Chief of the Research Electron Microscopy and Radioautography Laboratory, and as an independent researcher. The Central Office of the VA supplied funds to the Medical Center to pay both his salary and the expenses of his independent research. To obtain the research funds, the petitioner had to obtain the approval of his research proposals by a Merit Review Board of the VA. The Merit Review Boards customarily disapprove--and thus deny funding for--approximately 20 to 40 percent of the projects submitted.

In 1979 the VA Central Office distributed to the regional offices a circular which stated that the Central Office would continue to pay a researcher's salary "as long as the facility receives medical research support in his/her behalf or he/she has significant research support from extramural sources." This policy was not explicitly incorporated in the critical elements of the performance standards the VA had established for petitioner's position pursuant to 5 U.S.C. Sec. 4301, et seq. (1982).

The petitioner's field of research was prostatic cancer. Prior to 1977, the Merit Review Board had approved two of his research projects. In 1979, however, the Board rejected the petitioner's latest research proposal as "too broad, too ambitious, and too diffused." In 1980, the petitioner submitted another research proposal to the Merit Review Board. This proposal attempted to meet the Board's criticism of his 1979 proposal. The Board also disapproved the 1980 proposal. The petitioner submitted that proposal to the VA's Central Office Appeals Committee, which upheld the Merit Review Board's action.

Following the petitioner's failure to obtain Merit Review Board approval of his 1980 research project, with its resultant termination of funds for this research, the VA Central Office advised the Medical Center that it no longer would provide the funds to pay the petitioner's salary. Upon receiving this information, the...

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