BEAN v. VILSACK
MEMORANDUM OPINION granting in part and denying in part 16 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss: See document for details. Signed by Judge Rudolph Contreras on 9/11/2017. (lcrc3)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
ROBERT ONEAL BEAN,
SONNY PERDUE, Secretary,
United States Department of Agriculture,1
Civil Action No.:
Re Document No.:
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS
This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Robert Oneal Bean brought this action against the Secretary of the United States
Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) because the USDA denied him loan servicing and decided
to foreclose on land that Mr. Bean had purchased. Mr. Bean claims that these acts violated the
Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), Pub. L. 79-404, § 706, 60 Stat. 237 (codified at 5 U.S.C.
§ 500 et seq.), the Agricultural, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related
Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub. L. 105–277, § 741, 112 Stat. 2681 (codified at 7 U.S.C.
§ 2279)) (“1999 Agricultural Appropriations Act”), “and/or the Food, Conservation and Energy
Act of 2008,” Pub. L. 110–234, § 14011, 122 Stat. 923 (“2008 Farm Bill”). See Am. Compl. at
Pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 25(d), Sonny Perdue, the current
Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, is automatically substituted as the
defendant in this matter.
5–6, ECF No. 3. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants in part and denies in part
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND2
Robert Oneal Bean, an African American farmer from Mississippi, borrowed
approximately $50,000 from the Farm Service Agency (“FSA”) to purchase a 120-acre tract of
farm land in 2001. Am. Compl. at 3, ECF No. 3. Mr. Bean made timely payments to FSA until
2011, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Am. Compl. at 4. Thereafter, Mr. Bean fell
behind in his payments. See id. Later that year, an FSA Loan Officer accelerated Mr. Bean’s loan
and demanded that Mr. Bean pay the full balance to avoid foreclosure. See Am. Compl. at 4. In
response, Mr. Bean submitted medical records demonstrating that he had cancer, hoping that the
FSA would allow him the opportunity to recover. See id.
Mr. Bean alleges that in the Fall of 2016, the FSA Loan Officer advised Mr. Bean that the
FSA could divide his land and sell a sufficient amount to satisfy the $40,000 that Mr. Bean still
owed to the FSA. See Am. Compl. at 4. On December 15, 2016, during a visit to an FSA
Office, Mr. Bean asked the FSA Loan Officer whether he could apply to reschedule his
outstanding debt. See Am. Compl. at 4–5. The FSA Loan Officer replied that Mr. Bean had
forfeited that opportunity for loan servicing because Mr. Bean had not completed the necessary
application in a timely manner (sixty days from the receipt of the application materials). See
Am. Compl. at 5. Mr. Bean alleges that he was not aware of any application and, in any event,
he could not have submitted any such application due to his prostate cancer. See id. Mr. Bean
does not affirmatively allege that he did not receive a loan servicing application. Rather, he
At the motion to dismiss stage, the Court accepts Plaintiff’s factual allegations as true.
See e.g., Harris v. D.C. Water & Sewer Auth., 791 F.3d 65, 67 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
alleges that he “does not recall” receiving an application, either in person or through the mail.
On January 23, 2017, Mr. Bean filed this action claiming that the USDA acted in an
arbitrary and capricious manner in violation of the APA, and discriminated against him on the
basis of his disability in violation of the 1999 Agricultural Appropriations Act, and the 2008
III. LEGAL STANDARD
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that a complaint contain “a short
and plain statement of the claim” in order to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the
grounds upon which it rests. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); accord Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (per curiam). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test a plaintiff’s ultimate
likelihood of success on the merits; rather, it tests whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim.
See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). A court considering such a motion presumes
that the complaint’s factual allegations are true and construes them liberally in the plaintiff’s
favor. See, e.g., United States v. Philip Morris, Inc., 116 F. Supp. 2d 131, 135 (D.D.C. 2000).
Nevertheless, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). This means that a plaintiff’s factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555–56 (2007) (citations
omitted). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements,” are therefore insufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. A court need not accept a plaintiff’s legal conclusions as true, see id., nor must a
court presume the veracity of the legal conclusions that are couched as factual allegations. See
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
A. Pigford v. Glickman Consent Decree and the 2008 Farm Bill
Much of Mr. Bean’s Amended Complaint and briefing is devoted to his assertion that he
is a claimant under Pigford v. Glickman, 185 F.R.D. 82 (D.D.C. 1999) (“Pigford”) and that he is
entitled to relief pursuant to the consent decree entered in that case. See Am. Compl. at 1–3;
Pl.’s Opp’n Mot. Dismiss (“Opp’n”) at 2–4, 5–6, ECF No. 18. Defendant argues that Mr. Bean’s
status as a Pigford claimant is irrelevant. See Def.’s Mot. Dismiss (“MTD”) at 6–7, ECF No. 16.
The Court agrees and finds that Pigford is inapposite to the validity of Mr. Bean’s claims.
Pigford was a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of African-American farmers in 1997.
See Pigford, 185 F.R.D. at 89. Plaintiffs in that case alleged that the USDA violated the Equal
Credit and Opportunities Act (“ECOA”) when it discriminated against African-American
farmers with respect to its administration of its federal farm credit and benefit programs. See id.
at 87. The Pigford plaintiffs further alleged that the USDA violated the APA when it failed to
properly investigate and respond to complaints from 1981 through 1996. See id. at 98, 105. In
that case, the court certified a class, which it defined as:
All African American farmers who (1) farmed, or attempted to farm, between
January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996; (2) applied to the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) during that time period for participation in a
federal farm credit or benefit program and who believed that they were
discriminated against on the basis of race in USDA’s response to that application;
and (3) filed a discrimination complaint on or before July 1, 1997, regarding
USDA’s treatment of such farm credit or benefit application.
185 F.R.D. at 92.
On April 14, 1999, the court in Pigford entered a consent decree that settled plaintiffs’
claims. See 185 F.R.D. at 112. The consent decree instructed class members to file their claims
under a two-track system. See 185 F.R.D. at 95. Under Track A, “class members with little or
no documentary evidence” were entitled to “a virtually automatic cash payment of $50,000, and
forgiveness of debt owed to the USDA.” Id. Under Track B, class members were given the
chance to “prove their cases with documentary or other evidence by a preponderance of the
evidence [with] . . . no cap on the amount they may recover.” Id. Class members seeking relief
under the consent decree were required to submit their claims packages on or before October 12,
1999. Consent Decree ¶ 5(c), Pigford, 185 F.R.D. 82 (D.D.C. 1999) (No. 97-cv-1978)
(“Consent Decree”). A late claim could only proceed after an arbitrator determined that the
claimant’s “failure to submit a timely claim was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond his
control.” Consent Decree ¶ 5(g). By December 31, 2010, over one billion dollars had been
awarded to approximately 16,000 successful claimants in the form of direct payments, loan
forgiveness, and tax relief. See In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litig., 856 F. Supp. 2d 1, 11
(D.D.C. 2011). More than 58,000 individuals, though, were denied leave to submit late claim
packages. See id.
In 2008, after extensive hearings, Congress resurrected the late Pigford claims in the
Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (“2008 Farm Bill”). Id. Under this Act, “[a]ny
Pigford claimant who ha[d] not previously obtained a determination on the merits of a Pigford
claim [could], in a civil action brought in the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia, obtain that determination.” Pub. L. 110-234, §14012(b), 122 Stat. 923, 1448 (2008).
Civil suits brought pursuant to this legislation were later consolidated in In re Black Farmers
Discrimination Litigation (“Pigford II”), 856 F. Supp. 2d 1 (D.D.C. 2011). See 856 F. Supp. 2d
at 16. On October 27, 2011, the litigants in that suit also reached a settlement. See id. at 42.
Under the terms of that agreement, members of the class had until May 11, 2012 to submit their
claims. See 856 F. Supp. 2d at 23.
In his Amended Complaint, Mr. Bean claims that he is entitled to relief under the 2008
Farm Bill and alleges that the “issue raised in this action has its origin in [Pigford].” Am. Compl.
at 2. But even a cursory review of Mr. Bean’s Amended Complaint demonstrates that there is no
such nexus between the facts that Mr. Bean alleges today and the claims that were remedied in
Pigford. To start, a Pigford claim depends entirely on a relationship with the USDA occurring
between 1981 and 1996.3 However, Mr. Bean alleges that he did not borrow money from the
USDA to purchase the land at issue until 2001. See Am. Compl. at 3–5. Furthermore, unlike
Pigford, Mr. Bean attempts to allege that the USDA discriminated against him, not because of
his race, but because of his disability. See Am. Compl. at 5, 6. Thus, Mr. Bean has not alleged
any facts from which this Court could reasonably conclude that he is entitled to relief under the
Pigford consent decree, which concerned racial discrimination against African-American farmers
in the 1980’s and 90’s. As a result, Mr. Bean has failed to allege any facts demonstrating that he
may be entitled to relief as a Pigford claimant.
B. The 1999 Agricultural Appropriations Act
Although Mr. Bean also claims that he is entitled to relief under § 741 of the 1999
Agricultural Appropriations Act, see Am. Compl. at 6, he misunderstands that provision.
Mr. Bean could be a Pigford claimant, if he (1) farmed on a tract of land during the
period between 1981 and 1996, (2) applied to the USDA to participate in a federal farm credit or
benefit program during that time and was discriminated against on the basis of race, and (3) filed
a discrimination complaint to the USDA “on or before July 1, 1997.” Pigford, 185 F.R.D. at 92.
If that is the case, he could be entitled to relief for those claims as a late claimant if he had
submitted his claim by May 11, 2012. Pigford II at 23. Mr. Bean, however, makes none of these
allegations in his Complaint. See generally Am. Compl.
Section 741 does not create a private right of action and it alone cannot form the basis for Mr.
Bean’s claims. See Pub. L. 105–277, § 741, 112 Stat. 2681. Despite this error, federal pleading
rules “do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted.” Johnson v. City of Shelby, Miss., 135 S. Ct. 346, 346 (2014) (per
curiam) (holding that former police officers suing the city for violation of due process right in
their terminations need not expressly invoke 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a provision creating such a right
of action in their complaint); see also Greer v. Bd. of Trs. of Univ. of D.C., 113 F. Supp. 3d 297,
305 (D.D.C. 2015) (assessing the plaintiff’s claims under the ADEA in a motion to dismiss
“despite Plaintiff’s failure to, twice, include a citation to that statute in his complaint”). Thus,
the Court will endeavor to discern the legal theory that Mr. Bean is attempting to assert based on
his Complaint and other filings.
Based on his filings, the Court concludes that there are three possible legal theories that
Mr. Bean may be attempting to aver here: the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Rehabilitation Act”), 29 U.S.C. § 701 et
seq., and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1691 et seq. Mr. Bean
alleges in his Amended Complaint that § 741 “incorporates provisions of the [ADA].” Am.
Compl. at 6. In actuality, § 741 does not incorporate the ADA, but instead waives the statute of
limitations for certain claims brought under the ECOA. See Pub. L. 105-277, § 741. In his
opposition to Defendant’s motion, Mr. Bean makes arguments concerning both the ADA and the
ECOA. See Pl.’s Opp’n at 2–5. Because it is unclear which legal theory Mr. Bean is advancing
in his Amended Complaint, the Court will consider both the ADA and the ECOA. In addition,
the Court will consider the Rehabilitation Act, which is sufficiently similar to the ADA to
warrant consideration. However, for the reasons stated below, the Court finds that Mr. Bean has
not stated a claim under any of these statutes.
To the extent that Plaintiff seeks relief under the ADA, that claim must fail. See Am.
Compl. at 6. Defendant argues that the USDA is an agency within the executive branch and thus
not covered by the ADA. See MTD at 6, ECF No. 16; Defendant’s Reply to Opp’n Mot. Dismiss
(“Reply”) at 3, ECF No. 20. Mr. Bean responds that the ADA is only unavailable to federal
employees. See Opp’n at 4–5, ECF No. 18. Therefore, he argues that, because he is not a
federal employee, his action is not barred. See id. Mr. Bean’s argument is without merit.
The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with
disabilities in several areas of life including, employment, state and local government services,
public accommodations, and telecommunications. See generally 42 U.S.C. ch. 126. However,
the ADA does not cover the federal government in any of these areas. The “employer” under
Title I of the ADA “does not include  the United States,” thus barring claims by federal
employees. 42 U.S.C. § 12111(5)(B). Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination of qualified
individuals due to their disabilities in “the services, programs, or activities of a public entity.” 42
U.S.C. § 12132. Yet, “public entity” is defined to cover only: “(A) any State or local
government; (B) any department, agency, special purpose district, or other instrumentality of a
State or States or local government; and (C) the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and
any commuter authority.” 42 U.S.C. § 12131. Thus, the federal government and its agencies are
not covered. A claim for relief under Title III of the ADA is also not viable as it prohibits
discrimination by “public accommodations,” but only applies to enumerated types of private
entities. See 42 U.S.C. § 12181–82. Thus, to the extent that Mr. Bean is attempting to bring suit
under the ADA, his claim must fail because the federal government is not amenable to suit under
2. Rehabilitation Act
Mr. Bean’s claims fare no better under the Rehabilitation Act. While the Rehabilitation
Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities under any “program or activity”
conducted by any federal agencies, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a),4 Mr. Bean has failed to state a claim.
The Rehabilitation Act provides that “[n]o otherwise qualified individual with a disability . . .
shall, solely by reason of her or his disability . . . be excluded from participation in, be denied the
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal
financial assistance.” 29 U.S.C. § 794(a) (emphasis added). Critically, a plaintiff seeking relief
under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act “must show that he or she was discriminated against
solely by reason of his [or her] handicap.” R.S. v. District of Columbia, 292 F. Supp. 2d 23, 27
(D.D.C. 2003) (emphasis added) (quoting Walker v. District of Columbia, 969 F.Supp. 794, 797
(D.D.C.1997)). Here, although Mr. Bean recites the word “discrimination” in his Amended
Complaint, he has not alleged any acts of discrimination nor stated any facts suggesting that the
USDA’s denial of his request for loan servicing was due “solely”—or even partly—to his
disability. Indeed, Plaintiff himself alleges that the FSA denied his request for loan servicing
because the 60-day application period had expired. See Am. Compl. at 5. Accordingly, Mr. Bean
has not alleged facts showing that he is entitled to relief under the Rehabilitation Act.
Defendant had adequate notice of a legal theory based on the Rehabilitation Act as they
have addressed it in their motion to dismiss. See MTD at 6.
Finally, considering Mr. Bean’s Amended Complaint as a claim under the ECOA, the
Court finds that Mr. Bean has failed to state a plausible claim for relief. The ECOA prohibits
creditors from discriminating against any applicant “on the basis of race, color, religion, national
origin, sex or marital status, or age.” 15 U.S.C. §1691(a)(1). Mr. Bean, however, states no facts
in his Amended Complaint from which to infer that the USDA discriminated against him based
on any of those protected classes. Hildebrandt v. Vilsack, 102 F. Supp. 3d 318, 325–26 (D.D.C.
2015) (“To succeed on their ECOA claims, the [plaintiffs] must demonstrate not only that the
FSA denied at least one request for a loan application or loan servicing, but also that any such
denials were made on the basis of the [plaintiffs’] race.”). Thus, the Court finds that Mr. Bean
has failed to state a claim under the ECOA.
Consequently, the Court finds that Mr. Bean has failed to state a claim under any of the
statutes that could reasonably have been implicated by his supposed claim under § 741 of the
1999 Appropriations Act.
While Mr. Bean’s other claims necessarily fail, the Court is satisfied that he has
adequately plead factual matters sufficient to support a claim under the APA. Under the APA, an
agency decision should be upheld unless it is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or
otherwise not in accordance with law.” 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). “To make this finding the court
must consider whether the decision was based on a consideration of the relevant factors and
whether there has been a clear error of judgment.” Citizens to Preserve Overton Park, Inc. v.
Volpe, 401 U.S. 402, 416 (1971). “[T]he ultimate standard of review is a narrow one. The court
is not empowered to substitute its judgment for that of the agency.” Id. As the Supreme Court
has instructed, “the agency must examine the relevant data and articulate a satisfactory
explanation for its action including a rational connection between the facts found and the choice
made.” Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n of U.S., Inc. v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29,
43 (1983) (internal quotations omitted); accord Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft
(“Holy Land I”), 219 F. Supp. 2d 57, 67 (D.D.C. 2002), aff’d, 333 F.3d 156 (D.C. Cir. 2003)
(“the Court must review the administrative record assembled by the agency to determine whether
its decision was supported by a rational basis”).
The arbitrary-and-capricious standard of review is “very deferential.” Rural Cellular
Ass’n v. FCC, 588 F.3d 1095, 1105 (D.C. Cir. 2009). Therefore, the court will generally defer to
the wisdom of the agency as long as the action is supported by “reasoned decisionmaking.” Fox
v. Clinton, 684 F.3d 67, 75 (D.C. Cir. 2012); see also Am. Paper Inst., Inc. v. Am. Elec. Power
Serv. Corp., 461 U.S. 402, 422 (1983) (explaining that the agency’s decision need not be “the
only reasonable one, or even ... the result [the Court] would have reached”) (quoting
Unemployment Comp. Comm’n v. Aragon, 329 U.S. 143, 153 (1946)). “Moreover, the party
challenging an agency’s action as arbitrary and capricious bears the burden of proof.” San Luis
Obispo Mothers for Peace v. U.S. Nuclear Reg. Comm’n, 789 F.2d 26, 37 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (en
In this case, Defendant argues that, in denying Mr. Bean’s request for loan servicing, it
was merely following the regulations that it had promulgated on this subject. See MTD at 6–7.
Loan servicing for loan programs administered by the FSA is governed by 7 C.F.R. § 766.
When a borrower’s delinquency or financial distress is the result of reduced ability to pay due to
circumstances beyond the borrower’s control, including illness or injury of a borrower who
operates the farm, a borrower may be considered for loan servicing under certain conditions.5
See 7 C.F.R. § 766.104(a). The agency will send loan servicing information via certified mail to
any borrower that is “90 days or more past due on loan payments” or to any borrower who
“request[s] this information.”6 7 C.F.R. § 766.101. However, if a borrower who has received a
loan servicing application form “fails to timely respond or does not submit a complete
application within [a] 60–day timeframe,” the Agency will notify the borrower of the agency’s
intent to accelerate the loan and the borrower’s right to request reconsideration. 7 C.F.R. §
766.103(b). If the borrower does not apply for loan servicing, the agency will then accelerate the
borrowers’ account. 7 C.F.R. § 766.351(b)(1).
If the USDA can demonstrate that it was adhering to the relevant statutes and regulations
concerning loan servicing when it denied Mr. Bean, then its decision was neither arbitrary nor
capricious. For example, the Ninth Circuit considered a case very similar to the one at bar in
Grinstead v. United States, 122 F.3d 1071 (9th Cir. 1997) (unpublished). In that case, the
plaintiff argued that he should have been exempt from foreclosure for so long as he remained
disabled and that the Farmers Home Administration (“FmHA”) “acted arbitrarily and
capriciously” when it “decid[ed] to foreclose on his property without offering any further
extensions of time or restructuring options with regard to his farm loans.” Id. at *1. The Ninth
Circuit disagreed. It observed that, under the relevant statute, “[i]f the borrower can service a
restructured loan with a present value that is greater than or equal to the liquidation recovery
Some of the conditions are (i) the borrower does not have non-essential assets the net
value of which is sufficient to pay the delinquent portion of the loan and (ii) the borrower has
acted in good faith. See 7 C.F.R. § 766.104.
If certified mail is not accepted, the notice will be sent by first class mail to the
borrower’s last known address. See 7 C.F.R. § 766.101.
value of FmHA’s collateral, FmHA must restructure the loan, thereby allowing the borrower to
continue his farming operation.” Id. at *2 (citing 7 U.S.C. § 2001(c)(5)). Although the plaintiff
had applied for loan servicing, the FmHA had determined “that even with loan servicing; after
paying all operating expenses, taxes, scheduled payments on all debts and family living
expenses, [plaintiff] would have had an available balance of negative $6,048.” Id. Therefore,
regardless of the plaintiff’s disability, the Ninth Circuit held that the “FmHA did not act
arbitrarily or capriciously when it decided not to offer [plaintiff] any further extensions of time
or restructuring options with regard to his outstanding FmHA loans.” Id. Moreover, other courts
in different contexts have likewise found that administrative decisions made in accordance with
statutes and regulations are not arbitrary and capricious. See e.g., Makey Deli Grocery Inc. v.
United States, 873 F. Supp. 2d 516, 524 (S.D.N.Y. 2012) (holding that agency action “was
neither arbitrary nor capricious” when agency “adhered to its own regulations”); Young Jin Choi
v. United States, 944 F. Supp. 323, 325 (S.D.N.Y. 1996) (“A sanction is not arbitrary and
capricious when a federal agency properly adheres to its own regulations and guidelines when
imposing it.”) (citing Lawrence v. United States, 693 F.2d 274, 276 (2d Cir. 1982)).
Here, Mr. Bean alleges that when he requested loan servicing, he was denied “because
[he] did not complete the loan servicing application in a timely [manner] ([s]ixty [d]ays).” Am.
Compl. at 5. This, of course, is consistent with the USDA’s regulations that require borrowers to
submit timely applications in order to be considered for loan servicing. See 7 C.F.R.
§§ 766.101(d), 766.103(b). However, this 60-day time frame begins to run from the date the
borrower receives the application materials. See id at § 766.101(d). Mr. Bean alleges that he
“was not aware of … the Loan Servicing materials” and “does not recall any such receipt [of
these materials] either in person or via mail.” Am. Compl. at 5. Although Mr. Bean does not
affirmatively allege that he did not receive application materials, see generally Am. Compl., the
Court is obliged to construe his Complaint liberally and grant him “the benefit of all inferences
that can be derived from the facts alleged,” Kowal v. MCI Comms. Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276
(D.C. Cir. 1994). Doing so, the Court believes that Mr. Bean’s allegations are sufficient to give
rise to a reasonable inference that he did not receive the relevant loan servicing application
materials. If true, then denying him loan servicing for failure to submit a timely application
would not be in accordance with the USDA’s regulations and may very well have been arbitrary
and capricious. See e.g., Ingram Barge Co. v. United States, 884 F.2d 1400, 1405 (D.C.
Cir.1989) ( “Thus, even if the [agency] had made and then breached a promise to depart from its
own regulation, its departure—not its return to the established course—would be arbitrary and
capricious.”); Fuller v. Winter, 538 F. Supp. 2d 179, 186 (D.D.C. 2008) (“It is a fundamental
principle of administrative law that an agency is bound to adhere to its own regulations” and
“failure to do so can lead to arbitrary and capricious decision-making in violation of the APA.”)
Thus, the Court finds that the factual material in Mr. Bean’s Complaint sufficiently supports his
claim under the APA and accordingly denies Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss with regard to that
claim. Of course, the government is free to demonstrate its compliance with its regulations upon
summary judgment after submission of the applicable administrative record.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s motion to dismiss the case under Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is granted in part and denied in part. An order consistent
with this Memorandum Opinion is separately and contemporaneously issued.
Dated: September 11, 2017
United States District Judge
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