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COOPER v. U.S.

August 28, 2002

DOROTHY COOPER, PLAINTIFF,
V.
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT AND GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola, United States Magistrate Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA") matter has been referred to me for all purposes under LCvR 73.1. For the reasons set forth below, I will grant defendant's motion for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Dorothy Cooper, brings this FTCA suit pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. § 2672 (1994), et seq., alleging that the Government Services Administration ("GSA") was negligent.

Plaintiff admits that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to the following:

1. Government Services, Inc. ("GSI"), a private contractor, entered into a contract with the United States to operate cafeterias, lunch counters, and vending equipment for the convenience and benefit of government employees in buildings under the jurisdiction of the GSA, a federal agency.
2. The Department of Labor, located at 3rd and C Streets, N.W., Washington, DC, is one of the buildings where GSI operates a cafeteria.
3. Plaintiff's injuries occurred in the course and scope of her employment with GSI at the Department of Labor.
4. Under the contract, GSA was obliged to provide what the contract called "original equipment required for satisfactory operation" to include stoves, ovens, and hot food holding equipment.
5. GSI was required by the contract to make all repairs, major and minor, to government owned equipment.

Plaintiff alleges that, on August 5, 1999, she was instructed by her supervisor to clean under the kitchen counters. She asserts that a cover on a transformer box was off on that date and that her hand hit wires in the transformer box and she received a severe electrical shock. Complaint for Negligence ("Compl."), ¶ 7.

She also alleges that on November 22, 1999, she was cleaning a warmer which she discovered later had a worn and exposed wire. Again, she sustained a severe electrical shock. Id., ¶ 9. She asserts that the defendants, the GSA and the United States, "failed to maintain the electrical appliances and let them rune down to a state of disrepair and defectiveness to the extent, that the items in question, had become a hazard to Plaintiff and all in the vicinity." Id., ¶ 10. Plaintiff asserts as a separate count of negligence that defendants had a duty to maintain the kitchen equipment in the Department of Labor and "to warn Plaintiff of the defective and hazardous condition of the electrical equipment." Id., ¶¶ 13-14.

Thus, plaintiff proceeds upon two theories of negligence, that the two federal defendants had a duty to maintain the electrical appliances that hurt her and that they had a duty to ...


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