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Eagar v. Gardner

United States District Court, D. Utah

March 7, 2019

MICHAEL PAUL EAGAR, Plaintiff,
v.
ALAN GARDNER, Washington County Commission; JAMES EARDLEY, Washington County Commission; DENNIS DRAKE Washington County Commission; JAMES CRISP, Bureau of Land Management; BRIAN TRITTLE, Bureau of Land Management; JIMMEE TYREE, Bureau of Land Management; UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Defendants.

         MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDERDISMISSING CLAIMS AGAINST JAMES CRISP, BRIAN TRITTLE, JIMMEE TYREE, AND THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION; ANDADOPTING IN PART AND MODIFYING IN PART [34] REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead

          DAVID NUFFER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The Report and Recommendation[1] issued by United States Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead on January 8, 2019 recommends that:

         1. The County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss[2] be GRANTED and the action dismissed with prejudice;[3]

         2. The County Defendants' Motion to Strike Objection or Motion for Leave[4] be rendered MOOT;[5]

         3. The Country Defendants' Motion to Strike Addendum to the Complaint[6] be GRANTED;[7]

         4. Plaintiff's Motion for Contempt[8] be rendered MOOT;[9] and

         5. Plaintiff's Motion for Entry of Default as to County Defendants[10] be DENIED.[11]

         The Report and Recommendation also recommends[12] courses of action as to Plaintiffs' motions against Defendants Bureau of Land Management, James Crisp, Brian Tritle, Jimmie Tyree, and Ryan Zinke (the “Federal Government Defendants”).[13] However, as will be detailed below, due to a lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the claims against the Federal Government Defendants, these claims must be dismissed without prejudice and the merits of those motions cannot be addressed

         On July 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking default and summary judgment against Defendants Bureau of Land Management, Brian Trittle, Jimmie Tyree, and Ryan Zinke.[14] On July 30, 2018 Plaintiff filed a similar motion, adding Defendant James Crisp.[15] In both motions, Plaintiff argued that the Federal Government Defendants had not responded within the timeframe specified under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[16]

         On July 30, 2018, counsel for the Federal Government Defendants made a special appearance and filed a motion in opposition.[17] The Federal Government Defendants argued that the United States had not been properly served under Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(i).[18] Furthermore the Federal Government Defendants argued that even with proper service, this court would not have subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's complaint for takings because under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(a)(2) and 1491(a)(1), the Federal Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over takings claims in excess of $10, 000.00.[19] Because Plaintiff's Complaint[20] asserts that the United States has taken Plaintiff's property and seeks $50, 000, 000.00 in compensation, the Federal Government Defendants argued that this claim can only be heard in the Federal Court of Claims.[21] The Federal Government Defendants therefore requested dismissal of the claims against them.[22].

         Plaintiff responded to this motion by filing a letter in which Plaintiff made the conclusory assertion—unsupported by citation to statute or precedent—that the Federal Government Defendants' argument regarding subject matter jurisdiction was “not true, and not the law.”[23]

         As 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(a)(2) and 1491(a)(1) are clear that the Federal Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over takings claims in excess of $10, 000.00, this court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the claims in Plaintiff's complaint against the United States and the Federal Government Defendants. These claims must be dismissed without prejudice[24] and Plaintiff's motions[25] are moot.

         Returning to the Report and Recommendation, the parties were notified[26] of their right to file objections to the Report and Recommendation within 14 days of its service pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 72. Because a copy of the Report and Recommendation was mailed to Plaintiff, the parties were provided an additional three days to file and objection under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(d).

         During the objection period, Plaintiff filed a letter[27] that was unresponsive to the analysis and recommendations detailed in the Report and Recommendation. Instead the letter requested that the case proceed and Plaintiff asked again that default judgement against the Defendants be entered.[28]

         On January 30, 2019, Plaintiff did file another letter[29] entitled “In response and challenge to Magistrate Judge Dustin B. Pead[], ” but even if this letter was construed to be an objection, Plaintiff's filing was untimely. With the additional three days provided to the parties under Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(d), any objection was to have been filed with the court no later than January 25, 2019.

         Because Plaintiff's filings were either unresponsive to the Report and Recommendation or untimely filed to be properly construed as an objection, and because the analysis and conclusion are sound, the Report and Recommendation[30] is adopted in part as to the motions specified[31] at the beginning of this Memorandum Decision and modified in part as to the remaining decisions.[32]

         ORDER

         IT IS ...


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