United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
LINDA JEFFERSON HOLMES, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF KENTRON S. HOLMES, A VA RATED, 100% TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY SERVICE- ONNECTED, DISABLED AMERICAN VETERAN PLAINTIFFS
THE UNITED STATES, ITS U.S. SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, HON. ROBERT WILKE, DULY APPOINT HEAD OF THE DEPT. OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, ITS G.V. “SONNY” MONTGOMERY V.A. MEDICAL CENTER, ITS CAREGIVER SUPPORT PROGRAM, AND ITS LOUISVILLE FIDUCIARY HUB DEFENDANTS
Jefferson Holmes, pro se
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause came before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss . Plaintiffs have responded , and Defendants
filed a reply . The Defendants move to dismiss the action
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), arguing
that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. The Court
acknowledges from the outset that complaints filed by pro
se plaintiffs are held to a less stringent standard than
complaints filed by lawyers, and documents filed by pro
se litigants are “to be liberally construed . . .
.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)
(per curiam). This Court has given Plaintiffs'
Complaint and response to the instant motion a thoughtful
reading, but finds, nevertheless, in light of the relevant
legal authority, Plaintiffs are unable to support federal
jurisdiction. Consequently, for the reasons that follow, the
Court grants Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
Linda Holmes (“Ms. Holmes”) brings this suit on
her own behalf and on behalf of her son, Kentron Holmes
(“Veteran Holmes”) (collectively,
“Plaintiffs”), a disabled veteran for whom she is
the full-time caregiver and for whom she has a power of
attorney. See  at I. A; [8-12]. Defendants are
the United States (“DVA”); the U.S. Secretary of
Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie; the VA Medical Center
located in Jackson, Mississippi (“VAMC”); the
Caregiver Support Program (“CSP”), and the
Louisville Fiduciary Hub (“LFH”).  at I. B, C.
Veterans Holmes was diagnosed with a service-connected brain
disease that presented as paranoid schizophrenia.  at III
A. In 2003, Veteran Holmes first attempted suicide while
suffering from hallucinations. Id. In 2006, he made
his second attempt by cutting his own throat. Id. To
prevent her son from successfully committing suicide, Ms.
Holmes resigned from her job to provide full-time, in-home
care for Veteran Holmes in September 2006. Id. By
2011 regardless of the medications prescribed, Veteran Holmes
had suffered for over a decade from auditory and visual
hallucinations, as well as other mental and social
disabilities, including chronic paranoia. Id.
five years of caring for Veteran Holmes without steady or
substantial income, Ms. Holmes was accepted into the
Caregivers Support Program in May 2011 and awarded
Tier-3 monthly stipend compensation through the VA Medical
Center in Jackson for acting as Veteran Holmes' full-time
caregiver.  at IV. A; [8-2]. Along with her initial
acceptance letter, Ms. Holmes received a document titled,
“YOUR RIGHTS TO APPEAL THE TIER LEVEL (CLINICAL)
DECISION, ” which states, in part, as follows:
You may appeal to the VA Medical Center (VAMC) where the
Veteran is receiving care by explaining why you disagree with
the decision. If you are not satisfied with the VAMC
Director's decision you may request to have your decision
reviewed by the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN)
Director or his/her designee.
A clinical appeal is your formal request to have the VAMC
Director or designee reviews [sic] your dispute.
If you are not satisfied with the local VA facility's
decision you can elect to appeal your decision to the VISN
CAN I GET A HEARING WITH THE BOARD OF VETERANS APPEAL?
No. The clinical appeals process does not allow for you or
your representative to appeal a clinical decision to the
Board of Veterans Appeal. You should follow the clinical
appeals process as outlined in this letter. The clinical
decision is final and cannot be appealed to a higher
[8-2] (hereinafter referred to as “Notice of
claim that although Veteran Holmes still required the same
level of in-home caregiving services, by 2015, the culture at
the VAMC in Jackson had changed and the coordinators in the
program began to make petty verbal assessments regarding
Veteran Holmes' need for care.  at IV.B. Plaintiffs
also claim that over the course of a year leading up to
October 2015, Jackson CSP coordinators and the clinical
review team intentionally concocted information, plotted
against Plaintiffs, and falsified Veteran Holmes' medical
records so as to “intentionally and maliciously”
misattribute his mental illness and incompetency, which then
led to a deliberate under-assessment Veteran Holmes'
physical condition.  at IV.B. As a consequence of these
deliberate acts, on October 16, 2015, Veteran Holmes'
level of in-home health care was lowered from a Tier-3 to a
Tier-1 level of care,  which Plaintiffs claim was an intentional
“effort [by the VA] to deliberately place Veteran
Holmes in danger of mental destabilization in an effort to
induce endangerment to him and society at large.” 
at IV.B; [8-4]. Ms. Holmes claims she was strategically
targeted to be eliminated as her son's full-time in-home
October 16, 2015 letter notifying Plaintiffs' of the
reduction in benefits, the process for appealing stated:
“You may appeal this decision in writing to the G.V.
(Sonny) Montgomery VA Director or his/her designee, within 90
days of the date of this notice. A clinical appeal is your
formal written request with substantiating documentation to
support your dispute.” [8-4] at p. 1. Ms. Holmes had
asked for an updated Notice of Rights letter, but the follow
up from the VMAC indicated that information regarding her
right to appeal had been noted in the October 16, 2016
letter. [8-4] at p. 11. Plaintiffs also received a notice
from the VA Caregiver Support Program office in Denver,
Colorado, which included a Notice of Rights that was
identical to the one Plaintiffs received in 2011, giving her
180 days to submit a disagreement. [8-4] at pp. 14-15.
November 2015, Ms. Holmes filed an appeal of the VA's
decision to lower the Tier level, which appeal was denied on
December 15, 2015.  at IV. C.; [8-3] at pp. 11-26; [8-4]
at p. 17. In the December 2015 notification letter, Ms.
Holmes was advised:
You may elect to have this appeal sent to the Veterans'
Integrated Service Network (VISN) 16 Director. A clinical
appeal is your formal request to have the VISN Director or
designee review your dispute. Your disagreement regarding
your clinical eligibility denial must be submitted in writing
within 10 days of the receipt of this notice.
[8-4] at p. 17. Plaintiffs claim that the decisionmakers
implemented their own flawed appeal criteria, manipulating,
modifying, and implementing it as they went along.  at
IV.C. Plaintiffs allege the modified appellate criteria was
strategically designed by the CSP coordinators to be
disadvantageous for Plaintiffs, and that in an effort to
humiliate Ms. Holmes, the ...