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Lequieu v. United States Post Office

United States District Court, D. Idaho

November 20, 2018

SANDRA DAWN LEQUIEU, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES POST OFFICE - BONNERS FERRY, TERESA SKEEN, and MIKE FELLER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DAVID C. NYE, U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction. Dkt. 15. Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the Motion without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause to GRANT the Motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Sandra Lequieu alleges that, on January 11, 2013, she slipped and fell on a sidewalk outside the United States Postal Service's Office in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Lequieu alleges that the sidewalk was improperly maintained.

         On January 9, 2015, the Postal Service received notice of Lequieu's administrative tort claim. On October 26, 2015, the Postal Service formally denied Lequieu's tort claim. In its denial letter, the Postal Service told Lequieu that:

. . . if dissatisfied with the Postal Service's final denial of an administrative claim, a claimant may file suit in a United States District Court no later than six (6) months after the date the Postal Service mails the notice of that final action. Accordingly, any suit filed in regards to this denial must be filed no later than six (6) months from the date of the mailing of this letter, which is the date shown above. Further, note the United States of America is the only proper defendant in a civil action brought pursuant to the Federal Claims Act and such suit may be heard only by a federal district court.

Dkt. 10, at 3. (emphasis added).

         On April 1, 2016-within the required six-month period-Plaintiff filed the above-captioned action. However, rather than naming the United States as required, Lequieu named the United States Post Office - Bonners Ferry, and two employees, as Defendants in her FTCA action.

         On August 25, 2017, the Court granted Lequieu's motion to proceed in forma pauperis. In its Memorandum Decision and Order, the Court directed Lequieu to proceed with serving her summons and complaint and referenced the District's general instructions to pro se litigants-should Lequieu have any questions.

         On October 3, 2017, the Court dismissed the action sua sponte for failure to comply with the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Upon Lequieu's motion to reconsider-and with supplemental documentation showing she had complied with the FTCA-the Court re-opened the case on October 23, 2017. In that Order, the Court included the same admonition regarding service.

         On February 8, 2018, the clerk of the Court issued summons for the three named Defendants. On February 20, 2018, Lequieu personally served each of the Defendants at the Bonner's Country Post Office.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) challenges the Court's subject matter jurisdiction. A lack of jurisdiction is presumed unless the party asserting jurisdiction establishes that it exists. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). Thus, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Sopcak v. Northern Mountain Helicopter Serv., 52 F.3d 817, 818 (9th Cir. ...


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