Unpublished Disposition, 884 F.2d 582 (9th Cir. 1989)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 884 F.2d 582 (9th Cir. 1989)

Dieter W. HELLRIEGEL, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.UNITED STATES of America; Louis W. Sullivan,**  Secretary, Health and HumanServices, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 88-3716.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted Aug. 7, 1989,* Decided Aug. 25, 1989.

Before RUGGERO J. ALDISERT,***  EUGENE A. WRIGHT and BEEZER, Circuit Judges.


Dieter W. Hellriegel was a German citizen until 1974, when he became a naturalized United States citizen. In 1979 he applied for West German social security benefits. He was awarded benefits but was not allowed to export them out of West Germany.1  Hellriegel appealed that decision in West German courts and lost.

Hellriegel then brought action in the United States federal court system. He claims that an agreement concluded between the United States and West Germany in 19762  unfairly precludes him from making further contributions to the West German social security system and thereby earning the right to export benefits. The district court ruled3  that Hellriegel lacked standing. We review de novo, EMI Ltd. v. Bennett, 738 F.2d 994, 996 (9th Cir. 1984), and affirm.

Hellriegel's claim that he has been harmed by the two nations' agreement is absolutely wrong. West German law, both before and after the ratification of the agreement, prohibits Hellriegel from exporting his benefits. At most, the agreement failed to create new rights for Hellriegel,4  however, a failure to create new rights is not an injury.

Injury is an essential element of standing. Gladstone Realtors v. Village of Bellwood, 441 U.S. 91, 99 (1979). Hellriegel's situation is no different than it would be if the United States had not entered the agreement; he has suffered no injury. Even if the holdings of the West German courts were considered injurious to Hellriegel, he cannot trace that injury to the actions of the United States or the Social Security Administration. See Simon v. Eastern Kentucky Welfare Rights Organ., 426 U.S. 26, 38 (1976).

In the absence of standing, the district court had no jurisdiction over Hellriegel's claim. EMI, 738 F.2d at 996. We do not need to reach Hellriegel's due process or equal protection arguments. Dismissal was proper.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for decision without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); Ninth Circuit Rule 34-4


Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., is substituted for his predecessor, Otis R. Bowen, as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Fed. R. App. P. 43(c) (1)


The Honorable Ruggero J. Aldisert, United States Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit, sitting by designation


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by Ninth Cir.R. 36-3


Under West German law, social security benefits may be exported only if the applicant 1) lived in West Germany at the time he qualified for benefits, 2) made more than half of his total contributions (by period) while residing in West Germany, or 3) made at least 60 periods of contribution while in West Germany. Hellriegel made 52 contributions while in West Germany and 92 while working in territories of the pre-war Third Reich that are no longer part of West Germany. He thus does not qualify for export of benefits


Social Security Agreement, January 7, 1976, United States-Federal Republic of Germany, T.I.A.S. No. 9542. The Social Security Administration administers this treaty for the United States


The district court styled its disposition as a "summary judgment." When standing is held not to exist, however, dismissal for lack of jurisdiction is required. See, e.g., Bruce v. United States, 759 F.2d 755, 758 (9th Cir. 1985)


The agreement did restore the rights of some United States citizens to make voluntary contributions to the West German social security system