Michael and Melonie Clark were in the middle of a custody dispute. Melonie took the couple’s two children to her parents’ house. Michael came to the house, and after an exchange of gunfire, Michael, Melonie, and Melonie’s parents were all found dead by law enforcement. Law enforcement determined that Michael killed Melonie and Melonie’s parents before committing suicide. Michael’s brother, Phillip (plaintiff), took custody of the children and executed Michael’s estate. Melonie had been a federal employee. Surviving spouses of federal employees were entitled to a death benefit. As executor of Michael’s estate, Phillip requested payment of this death benefit. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) (defendant) denied Phillip’s request because Michael had killed Melonie. Phillip appealed. An administrative-law judge affirmed the OPM’s decision. Phillip appealed.