Matthews v. United States, No. 13-5109 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Matthews enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1990. In 2006, while on active duty, he pled guilty to computer pornography and solicitation of a child. He was sentenced to 21 years plus 10 months in prison. In 2007, an administrative separation board imposed an “other than honorable” discharge on Matthews. In 2010, Matthews sought back pay from the date of his arrest and “retainer” pay, based on a total of 20 years of active duty, reached while incarcerated. He claimed he was not properly discharged, citing the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b; the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552; the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, 10 U.S.C. 1034; and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 706. The Claims Court of held that it lacked jurisdiction over claims founded on the four statutes because they are not money-mandating and held that Matthews failed to state claims for back pay under 37 U.S.C. 204(a) and retainer pay under 10 U.S.C. 6330(b). The statute prohibits service members from receiving pay for absences without leave that are not unavoidable; an absence due to civilian incarceration is not unavoidable. When he was arrested Matthews had not reached the 20 years of active duty service required to receive retainer pay. The Federal Circuit affirmed.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on October 22, 2013.