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.

Washburn v. United States Postal Service

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

May 8, 2019

LONNIE J. WASHBURN, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION & ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CLARK WADDOUPS UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         Introduction

         This action was assigned to United States District Court Judge Clark Waddoups, who then referred it to United States Magistrate Judge Brook Wells pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (ECF. No. 4.) On February 13, 2019, Judge Wells issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that “this case be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as Defendant is immune from suit under these circumstances . . . .” (ECF No. 7 at 3.) After careful review of the record, applying a de novo standard of review, the court adopts Magistrate Judge Wells’ recommendation.

         Background

         On January 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against the United States Postal Service. In this Complaint, Plaintiff wrote that “[o]n June 7, 2018 and October 26, 2018,” in “Salt Lake City, UT,” a:

Mail carrier fraudulently signed as customer for receipt of package, and then either stole the package, Or left the package in a public area, where it was stolen. The package containing the gold coin was sent Registered mail and insured. The package was slit Open and the coin was stolen during the time it was in the [c]ustody of the USPS.

(ECF No. 3 at 4.)

         The undersigned referred this case to Magistrate Wells on January 17, 2019. On January 29, 2019, the court received proof of service of Plaintiff’s complaint on the United States Postal Service.[1] (See ECF No. 6 at 2.)

         On February 13, 2019, Magistrate Judge Wells entered a Report and Recommendation, recommending that “this case be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as Defendant is immune from suit under these circumstances.” (ECF No. 7 at 3.) In support of this conclusion, Judge Wells provided:

Plaintiff’s claims against the USPS is a suit against the government of the United States. The United States, as sovereign, is “immune from suit save as it consents to be sued ... and the terms of its consent to be sued in any court define that court’s jurisdiction to entertain the suit.” A plaintiff’s rights are thus limited to the terms of the government’s consent to be sued. “Absent a waiver, sovereign immunity shields the Federal Government and its agencies from suit.” One such waiver is the Federal Tort Claims Act. The court broadly construes Plaintiff’s claims to fit within the Federal Tort Claims Act, but this still cannot save them. Under 28 U.S.C. § 2680(b), the United States retains sovereign immunity for tort claims against it for ‘loss, miscarriage, or negligent transmission of letters or postal matter.” Therefore, Plaintiff’s claims against the USPS for loss of his package is barred by sovereign immunity and this case should be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

(ECF No. 7 at 2–3 (citations omitted).)

         On February 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed an objection, arguing that this “Court has jurisdiction based on 39 U.S. Code S 409.” (ECF No. 8 at 1.) Plaintiff also argued that “the defendant is not immune from this civil action . . . .” (ECF No. 8 at 1.) On April 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed a request for clerk’s entry of default for the Postal Service’s failure to plead or otherwise defend. (ECF No. 9 at 1.) On April 1, 2019, Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Default Judgment. (ECF No. 10 at 1.) In this Motion, Plaintiff wrote, in relevant part:

It may be argued that this claim should have been dismissed under 28 U.S.C. S 2680(b) because the United States retains sovereign immunity for tort claims against it for ‘loss, miscarriage, or negligent transmission of letters or postal matter.’ That would be true if either of these items were los[t], or if the postal employees were negligent. These items were purposefully stolen, and are therefore not covered under this exception.

(ECF No. 10 at 1.) On April 1, 2019, Plaintiff also submitted a detailed affidavit in support of the motion for default judgment. On April 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed two addendums. (ECF Nos. 12 & 13.) On May 6, 2019, Plaintiff ...


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.