University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hara v. Office of Personnel Management PB-MA-0009
Docket / Court 09-3134 ( No Court )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization GLAD
Case Summary
Dean Hara, the appellant in this suit, is the widower of his legal same-sex spouse in Massachusetts (U.S. Congressman Gerry Studds, who died in October 2006). He filed two separate applications with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM); the first, seeking a survivor annuity benefit, and the ... read more >
Dean Hara, the appellant in this suit, is the widower of his legal same-sex spouse in Massachusetts (U.S. Congressman Gerry Studds, who died in October 2006). He filed two separate applications with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM); the first, seeking a survivor annuity benefit, and the second seeking to be enrolled as a surviving spouse for health benefits under the Congressman's Federal Employees' Health Benefit Plan. OPM denied coverage, on two bases: first, because of the Defense of Marriage Act's ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriages, the plaintiff did not count as a "spouse," and second, Congressman Studds had not elected the sought coverage.

Hara obtained review of the first denial (of annuitant status) by the Merit Systems Protection Board; the Board upheld OPM's denial of coverage, but solely because of DOMA; the Board found that Congressman Studds' failure to elect coverage did not bar annuitant status. Plaintiff appealed to the Federal Circuit. The second denial (of FEHBP health enrollment) is also subject to the Federal Circuit's review.

Meanwhile, Hara was also one of several named plaintiffs in a U.S. District Court case in the District of Massachusetts, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (PB-MA-0006 in this Clearinghouse), which asserted that DOMA violated the Equal Protection Clause. The Court stayed proceedings in this case pending the outcome of Gill. The Court of Appeals agreed with the Gill plaintiffs that DOMA is unconstitutional; the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari.

On July 26, 2013, the plaintiff moved that the Court vacate the Merit System Protection Board's decision affirming the decision of OPM to deny the plaintiff spousal benefits and remand the matter to the Board for proceeding consistent with the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor.

On September 16, 2013, the Court issued a mandate granting the motion to vacate the earlier decision of the Merit System Protection Board and remanded to the Board for further proceedings. Shortly thereafter Hara and OPM began settlement discussions. OPM rescinded its decision from 2008 and granted Hara survivor annuity benefits. At the end of April 2014, both OPM and Hara filed for the Merit System Protection Board to dismiss the case. The Board complied, noting in its order that Hara could could still request consideration if dissatisfied with subsequent OPM decisions.

Darren Miller - 11/26/2012
Claire Lally - 03/15/2015
Carolyn Weltman - 02/14/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Office of Personnel Management
United States
Plaintiff Description Widower of a U.S. Congressman, lawfully married under Massachusetts law.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations GLAD
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-MA-0006 : Gill v. Office of Personnel Management (D. Mass.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple‚Äôs 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2009-3134 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 09/16/2013
PB-MA-0009-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order 05/18/2009
PB-MA-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Justia
First Amended Complaint 07/31/2009
PB-MA-0009-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2nd Amend. Complaint 05/25/2010
PB-MA-0009-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion of the USCA 05/31/2012 (682 F.3d 1)
PB-MA-0009-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/16/2013
PB-MA-0009-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Remanding Appeal to Office of Personnel Management] 04/30/2014 (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0009-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Newman, Pauline (Fed. Circuit)
PB-MA-0009-0001
O'Malley, Kathleen McDonald (N.D. Ohio, Fed. Circuit)
PB-MA-0009-0009
Tauro, Joseph Louis (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0009-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Stacy (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007
Bickett, Samuel P. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0008
Bonauto, Mary L. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Buseck, Gary D. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Eshghi, Nima R (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Harris, Cathy A. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0009-0011 | PB-MA-0009-9001
Henry, Vickie L. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Jones, Richard L. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Laporte, Claire (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Miller, Matthew E. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Nagle, David J. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Senier, Amy (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Wu, Janson (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0009-0007 | PB-MA-0009-0008
Defendant's Lawyers Stern, Hillary A. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0009-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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