Linquist v. Bowen, Nos. 86-1486

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore LAY, Chief Judge, HEANEY and BOWMAN; LAY
Citation813 F.2d 884
Parties, 55 USLW 2521, 17 Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 54, Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 17,206 Lois LINQUIST and Alberta E. Burns, Appellees, v. Otis R. BOWEN, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and United States Railroad Retirement Board, Appellants.
Decision Date03 June 1987
Docket NumberNos. 86-1486,86-1790 and 86-2075

Page 884

813 F.2d 884
99 A.L.R.Fed. 185, 55 USLW 2521, 17
Soc.Sec.Rep.Ser. 54,
Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 17,206
Lois LINQUIST and Alberta E. Burns, Appellees,
v.
Otis R. BOWEN, Secretary of the Department of Health and
Human Services, and United States Railroad
Retirement Board, Appellants.
Nos. 86-1486, 86-1790 and 86-2075.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eighth Circuit.
Submitted Sept. 8, 1986.
Decided March 9, 1987.
Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied June 3, 1987.

Page 885

Frank A. Rosenfeld, Washington, D.C., for appellants.

Gill Deford, Los Angeles, Cal., for appellees.

Before LAY, Chief Judge, HEANEY and BOWMAN, Circuit Judges.

LAY, Chief Judge.

Lois Linquist, now 78 years old, receives retirement benefits under the Social Security Act (SSA) and the Railroad Retirement

Page 886

Act (RRA). 1 Each Act provides for a fifty percent reduction in benefits if a recipient's outside earnings exceed a certain level in a year. See 42 U.S.C. Sec. 403(b) (1982) 2 and id. Sec. 403(f)(3) 3 (the SSA provisions); 45 U.S.C. Sec. 231a(g)(2) (1982) 4 (the RRA provision). Linquist earned $3415 in 1977, when the amount of earnings exempt under the Acts was $3000. 5 Pursuant to the RRA recoupment provision, the Railroad Retirement Board (the Board) notified Linquist that she had been overpaid by $207, fifty percent of her excess earnings. She repaid that amount to the Board. Seven months later, the SSA similarly informed Linquist that she owed it $207 because of the same $415 of 1977 excess earnings. The agency stated that it would withhold that amount from her future benefits. Linquist unsuccessfully challenged that action through the SSA's administrative process. She then filed her complaint in district court, naming the Board and the Secretary as defendants. 6

The district court, 7 on January 31, 1986, ordered relief for a nationwide class both prospectively and retroactive to 1972. 8 See Linquist v. Bowen, 633 F.Supp. 846, 866-67 (W.D.Mo.1986). On May 22, 1986, the court denied the defendants' request for a stay and ordered full implementation of the remedial program. This court granted the government's motion for a stay on July 17, 1986, pending the present appeal. On appeal, the government challenges the class certification, the district court's jurisdiction over the Board, and the merits of the decision reached. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the district court's decision in all respects.

I. Jurisdiction

The district court based its jurisdiction on the mandamus power under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1361 (1982). See 633 F.Supp. at 853-57. The court also noted that 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1337 (1982), which provides jurisdiction for civil cases under laws regulating commerce, was an alternative basis for its jurisdiction. See 633 F.Supp. at 857 n. 5. The defendants raise two distinct challenges to the district court's exercise of jurisdiction. First, the defendants claim that the class members' complaints were never properly "presented" to the Secretary, thus 42 U.S.C. Secs. 405(g) and (h) precluded judicial review of all but Linquist's claim. The defendants argue that resort to the mandamus statute to avoid the exclusive provisions of Sec. 405(h) was improper. Second, the defendants challenge the district court's exercise of jurisdiction over the Board, citing 45 U.S.C. Secs. 355(f) and (g) (as incorporated by id.

Page 887

Sec. 231g), which provide for exclusive review of Railroad Retirement Board decisions in the courts of appeals.

A. Class Certification

The district court certified a nationwide class, which includes the following:

All persons who are receiving or who will receive both Social Security retirement benefits and Railroad Retirement benefits and who have been or will be denied the right to retain fifty percent of their excess earnings pursuant to the joint actions of the Social Security Administration and the Railroad Retirement Board.

633 F.Supp. at 861-62, 867. The agencies challenge this certification, as they assert that only plaintiff Linquist's claim is properly advanced for judicial consideration.

Under the SSA, the first prerequisite to judicial review is that the claimant "present" a claim to the Secretary; 9 the second requires the claimant to exhaust fully the administrative process. Bowen v. City of New York, --- U.S. ----, 106 S.Ct. 2022, 2031, 90 L.Ed.2d 462 (1986); Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 328, 96 S.Ct. 893, 899, 47 L.Ed.2d 18 (1976). According to the defendants, Linquist was the only person to meet the nonwaivable presentment requirement. 10 The plaintiffs counter that presentment did take place, when the class members provided their earnings records to the agencies.

As the defendants acknowledge, nearly all of the cases in this area deal with exhaustion, rather than with presentment. However, as the Ninth Circuit noted in Lopez v. Heckler, 725 F.2d 1489, 1503 (9th Cir.), vacated on other grounds, 469 U.S. 1082, 105 S.Ct. 583, 83 L.Ed.2d 694 (1984), the courts that have dealt with presentment have interpreted the requirement "liberally." Presentment is procedurally necessary to establish entitlement to benefits, and presentment of a claim is the natural first step that any individual seeking benefits would take. The members of the class certified below have taken this step, and they have received benefits. Subsequently, they have provided the Secretary records of their outside earnings. They thus have performed the affirmative acts required by law. Proper presentment in this nonentitlement case 11 does not necessitate a further claim, one challenging the recoupment of benefits. The Secretary is quite aware of a recipient's uninterrupted claim for the full benefits allowed by law, whether or not the particular recipient has actively challenged the double offset. We thus find the class members' claims against the Secretary are properly before the court under Sec. 405(g) of the SSA. 12

Page 888

B. Jurisdiction Over the Railroad Retirement Board

The district court recognized that the RRA vests exclusive jurisdiction in the courts of appeals over appeals from Board decisions. Notwithstanding the provisions of 45 U.S.C. Secs. 355(f) and (g) (incorporated by id. Sec. 231g), the district court exercised jurisdiction over the Board under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1361. In challenging the district court's jurisdiction, the defendants essentially conclude that this case never could be heard in a single court, given the differing modes of judicial review. They primarily cite Denberg v. United States R.R. Retirement Bd., 696 F.2d 1193, 1196-98 (7th Cir.1983) (rejecting district court jurisdiction over Board), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 926, 104 S.Ct. 1706, 80 L.Ed.2d 180 (1984). We agree, however, with the District of Columbia Circuit's statement in Burns v. United States R.R. Retirement Bd., 701 F.2d 189 (D.C.Cir.1983), which the district court quoted, that " 'Congress did not intend to create a procedural conundrum of this kind.' " See 633 F.Supp. at 856 (quoting Burns, 701 F.2d at 192 n. 11). We think the district court properly resolved the dilemma by resorting to the mandamus statute.

The presence of both defendant agencies in one case is essential to proper determination of this important issue. The district court's exercise of mandamus jurisdiction allowed the Board to be joined, thus facilitating combined review of the agencies' interpretations of their respective recoupment statutes. We find the present circumstances more than sufficient to reach the high level of necessity that mandamus jurisdiction requires. 13

We conclude that the district court had proper jurisdiction to hear all aspects of this case. 14

II. Statutory Construction

Our objective in interpreting a federal statute is to achieve the intent of Congress. See United States v. American Trucking Ass'ns, 310 U.S. 534, 542, 60 S.Ct. 1059, 1063, 84 L.Ed. 1345 (1940); Groseclose v. Bowen, 809 F.2d 502, 505-06 (8th Cir.1987); Stribling v. United States, 419 F.2d 1350, 1352 (8th Cir.1969); Lambur v. Yates, 148 F.2d 137, 139 (8th Cir.1945). A primary rule of statutory construction is that when a court interprets multiple statutes dealing with a related subject or object, the statutes are in pari materia and must be considered together. United

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States v. Freeman, 44 U.S. (3 How.) 556, 564-65, 11 L.Ed. 724 (1845); N. Singer, 2A Sutherland Statutory Construction Sec. 51.01-.03 (C. Sands 4th ed. 1984). The proper comprehensive analysis thus reads the parts of a statutory scheme together, bearing in mind the congressional intent underlying the whole scheme. See, e.g., Chapman v. Houston Welfare Rights Org., 441 U.S. 600, 607-12, 99 S.Ct. 1905, 1910-13, 60 L.Ed.2d 508 (1979); United States v. Freeman, 44 U.S. (3 How.) at 564-65; Kifer v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 777 F.2d 1325, 1332 (8th Cir.1985).

There can be no question that the challenged provisions of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. Secs. 403(b) and 403(f)(3), and the Railroad Retirement Act provision, 45 U.S.C. Sec. 231a(g)(2), are in pari materia. In fact, their language is identical due to the RRA incorporation of the SSA. In this situation, we must consider the legislative history of either Act as applying to both. And, more importantly, we must consider the congressional intent behind the entire worker retirement benefits scheme in determining how these Acts should be applied in tandem.

When Congress amended the SSA--and thus the RRA--in 1972,...

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36 practice notes
  • Kaplan v. Chertoff, Civil Action No. 06-5304.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • March 29, 2007
    ...Claims for Continued Enrollment in the SSI Program. The presentment requirement has been interpreted "liberally." Linguist v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 884, 887 (8th Cir.1987); Morrell v. Harris, 505 F.Supp. 1063, 1068 (E.D.Pa.1981). For example, in Liberty Alliance of the Blind v. Califano, the Thir......
  • Johnson v. U.S. R.R. Retirement Bd., Nos. 90-1243
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 11, 1992
    ...action suits raising purely legal challenges to the Board's determination of benefits under the Railroad Act. Compare Linquist v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 884, 888 (8th Cir.1987) (district court properly exercised mandamus jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1361 to entertain class action on behalf of du......
  • Salinas v. U.S. R.R. Ret. Bd., No. 19-199
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 3, 2021
    ...Bd. , 63 F.3d 972, 974, n. 4 (CA10 1995) ; Clifford v. Railroad Retirement Bd. , 3 F.3d 536, 538, n. 4 (CA1 1993); Linquist v. Bowen , 813 F.2d 884, 888 (CA8 1987) ; Steebe v. Railroad Retirement Bd. , 708 F.2d 250, 252 (CA7 1983); Railroad Concrete Crosstie Corp. v. Railroad Retirement Bd.......
  • NATIONAL COM. TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SEC. v. Bowen, Civ. A. No. 88-0974.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 9, 1990
    ...courts commonly exercise mandamus jurisdiction "when the dispute does not involve entitlement to benefits per se." Linquist v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 884, 888 n. 12 (8th 13 On December 1, 1988, plaintiff's filed a supplemental memorandum in opposition to the government's motion to dismiss, which s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • Kaplan v. Chertoff, Civil Action No. 06-5304.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)
    • March 29, 2007
    ...Claims for Continued Enrollment in the SSI Program. The presentment requirement has been interpreted "liberally." Linguist v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 884, 887 (8th Cir.1987); Morrell v. Harris, 505 F.Supp. 1063, 1068 (E.D.Pa.1981). For example, in Liberty Alliance of the Blind v. Califano, the Thir......
  • Johnson v. U.S. R.R. Retirement Bd., Nos. 90-1243
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
    • September 11, 1992
    ...action suits raising purely legal challenges to the Board's determination of benefits under the Railroad Act. Compare Linquist v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 884, 888 (8th Cir.1987) (district court properly exercised mandamus jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1361 to entertain class action on behalf of du......
  • Salinas v. U.S. R.R. Ret. Bd., No. 19-199
    • United States
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • February 3, 2021
    ...Bd. , 63 F.3d 972, 974, n. 4 (CA10 1995) ; Clifford v. Railroad Retirement Bd. , 3 F.3d 536, 538, n. 4 (CA1 1993); Linquist v. Bowen , 813 F.2d 884, 888 (CA8 1987) ; Steebe v. Railroad Retirement Bd. , 708 F.2d 250, 252 (CA7 1983); Railroad Concrete Crosstie Corp. v. Railroad Retirement Bd.......
  • NATIONAL COM. TO PRESERVE SOCIAL SEC. v. Bowen, Civ. A. No. 88-0974.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • March 9, 1990
    ...courts commonly exercise mandamus jurisdiction "when the dispute does not involve entitlement to benefits per se." Linquist v. Bowen, 813 F.2d 884, 888 n. 12 (8th 13 On December 1, 1988, plaintiff's filed a supplemental memorandum in opposition to the government's motion to dismiss, which s......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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