Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Montoya v. United States

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

February 28, 2018

MARY MONTOYA, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          Ted Stewart District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Dustin B. Pead United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (ECF Nos. 4, 7.) On July 19, 2016, Ms. Montoya filed her complaint and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 1.) Ms. Montoya's Complaint alleges that Postmaster Renee Kern and Postmaster General Megan Brennen violated various federal statutes. (See ECF No. 3.) The matter is presently before the court on sua sponte review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

         I. Ms. Montoya's claim should be dismissed because it lacks sufficient factual matter to support a claim and does not allege that any party is a Utah citizen or that any act alleged in the Complaint occurred in this District.

         Ms. Montoya's Complaint should be dismissed for two reasons. First, the Complaint does not allege sufficient factual matter to support any claim. Second, the few details alleged in the Complaint demonstrate the court is not the proper venue.

         a. Ms. Montoya's complaint is devoid of factual detail

         Ms. Montoya does not allege any facts that could support her statutory claims. “To 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). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Id. “Nevertheless, conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments are insufficient to state a claim on which relief can be based.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). “[T]o state a claim in federal court, a complaint must explain what each defendant did to [the plaintiff]; when the defendant did it; how the defendant's action harmed [the plaintiff]; and, what specific legal right the plaintiff believes the defendant violated.” Nasious v. Two Unknown B.I.C.E. Agents, 492 F.3d 1158, 1163 (10th Cir. 2007). While a pro se complaint must be construed liberally, a court must avoid acting as an advocate for a pro se litigant. Id.

         Ms. Montoya's complaint is remarkable for its lack of detail. Ms. Montoya recites several legal standards and constitutional principles, but sets forth almost no facts regarding this case. The only factual allegation that appears relevant to this case states: “Mrs. Renee Kern, Postmaster at the Rocky Ford Post Office, has a higher threshold than La Junta, Las Animas, [and] Pueblo Post Offices they [sic] just require one time showing of post office holder of mail box.” (ECF No. 3 at 4). This allegation does not state any viable claim and Ms. Montoya's other unrelated allegations (including her thoughts on the cause of high utility bills in Colorado) do not provide the court or defendants with sufficient notice of her claims.

         b. Additionally, the Complaint should be dismissed because Ms. Montoya does not allege the District of Utah has any connection to the events and parties described in the Complaint and the claims alleged are not likely to have merit

         1. Ms. Montoya's Complaint suffers an obvious defect

         Ms. Montoya affirmatively alleges that all parties are citizens of states other than Utah and she suggests all relevant events occurred outside of this District. Section 1915 allows the court the “unusual power” to pierce the complaint's factual allegations to consider whether a complaint should be dismissed on the basis of an affirmative defense such as lack of personal jurisdiction or improper venue. Trujillo v. Williams, 465 F.3d 1210, 1216 (10th Cir. 2006) Yet the court may do so “only when the defense is obvious from the face of the complaint and no further factual record is required to be developed.” Id. at 1217. Here, the defect is obvious. Ms. Montoya alleges that she and Defendant Kern both reside in Rocky Ford, Colorado, and Defendant Brennen resides in Washington D.C. Likewise, the single factual allegation, as best as the court can tell, relates to conduct in Colorado. This raises several questions about personal jurisdiction and venue.

         2. Ms. Montoya may not bring an action in the District of Utah

         Ordinarily, claims against the United States may be brought in a judicial district where a defendant resides, a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim occurred, or where the plaintiff resides so long as no real property is involved in the action. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e)(1). Additionally, while Ms. Montoya does not expressly invoke the Federal Tort Claims Act, any such claims brought against the United States may only be prosecuted in the judicial district where the plaintiff resides. See 28 U.S.C.A. § 1402. Here, Ms. Montoya alleges she resides in Rocky Ford, Colorado. (ECF No. 3 at 1). She alleges Defendants reside in Colorado and Washington D.C. (Id. at 2). The only discernable factual allegation relates to conduct in Colorado. Accordingly, Ms. Montoya may not bring her action in the District of Utah because this District does not include Colorado or Washington D.C. within its boundaries. Likewise, Ms. Montoya's Complaint does not suggest the District of Utah has any connection to the events alleged therein or to the parties.

         3. Dismissal, rather than transfer, is appropriate because the Complaint does not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.