Kloeckner v. Solis   (11-184) 
HELD: MSPB "mixed case" appeals are filed in district court, not in the Federal Circuit 

Decided December 10, 2012 
[Full text opinion

Kloeckner complained that her employer, the Department of Labor, had engaged in age and sex discrimination. While her complaint was pending at EEOC, DOL discharged her. Because Kloeckner believed that DOL's decision to fire her was based on unlawful discrimination, she now had a "mixed case." She then took her case to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), but MSPB dismissed her appeal as untimely. Kloeckner then sued in federal district court. That court dismissed the complaint, holding that - because MSPB had not decided Kloeckner's case on the merits - her only avenue of appeal was to the Federal Circuit; the 8th Circuit affirmed.

The US Supreme Court unanimously reversed, holding that a federal employee who claims that an agency action appealable to the MSPB violates an antidiscrimination statute listed in 7702(a)(1) should seek judicial review in district court, not the Federal Circuit, regardless whether the MSPB decided her case on procedural grounds or on the merits.

Case below: Kloechner v. Solis (8th Cir 05/13/2011) 
Official docket sheet 
Certiorari granted: January 13, 2012. 
Oral argument:  October 2, 2012.  

Questions presented in petition for certiorari:   

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is authorized to hear appeals by federal employees regarding certain adverse actions, such as dismissals. If in such an appeal the employee asserts that the challenged action was the result of unlawful discrimination, that claim is referred to as a "mixed case." 

The Question Presented is: 

If the MSPB decides a mixed case without determining the merits of the discrimination claim, is the court with jurisdiction over that claim the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit or a district court? 

Briefs on the merits:

Certiorari Documents: 


  • For Petitioner: Eric Schnapper; University of Washington School of Law; P.O. Box 353020; Seattle, WA  98195; schnapp@u.washington.edu; (206) 616-3167. 
  • For Respondent: Donald B. Verrilli Jr.; Solicitor General; United States Department of Justice; 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.; Washington, DC  20530-0001; SupremeCtBriefs@USDOJ.gov; (202) 514-221.