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.

Healy v. United States

June 14, 2006

CLARE HEALY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PARENT AND NEXT FRIEND OF HER MINOR CHILD, RODNEY HEALY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rosemary M. Collyer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Clare Healy, individually and on behalf of her minor son, Rodney Healy, sues Special Agent ("S.A.") Hugh Stuart Williamson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") for injuries allegedly sustained when, in June 2002, S.A. Williamson's vehicle struck her vehicle in downtown Washington, D.C. Although Ms. Healy notified S.A. Williamson and the FBI that she and her son were represented by counsel in connection with the accident, she failed to respond to the FBI's two requests that she appropriately document her claims for processing pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2671 et seq. Instead, she waited more than two years, and filed this tort action in D.C. Superior Court.

The United States certified that S.A. Williamson was on official duty when the accident occurred, substituted the United States as the sole defendant, and removed to this Court. The United States now moves to dismiss, asserting that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction due to Ms. Healy's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Ms. Healy does not contest her failure to exhaust; rather, she contends that because S.A. Williamson was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident, the FTCA does not apply, and it is S.A. Williamson, not the United States, that is the proper defendant.

Thus, the narrow question presented here is whether S.A. Williamson was "acting within the scope of his office or employment" at the time of the accident. Ms. Healy requests jurisdictional discovery on this issue. However, the evidence before the Court on this point being uncontroverted, and Ms. Healy's failure to file proper FTCA claims being undisputed, the Court finds it has no jurisdiction over the action. The United States's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction will be granted.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

At about 8:15 a.m. on June 17, 2002, S.A. Williamson was driving a vehicle that struck the rear of a car operated by Ms. Healy.*fn1 Inside Ms. Healy's car was her son, Rodney Healy. Healy Aff. ¶ 2. At the time of the collision, S.A. Williamson was en route from the FBI Field Office in Washington, D.C. - where he had dropped off a colleague - to his own office in Calverton, Maryland. Williamson Decl. ¶ 4. He was driving an FBI-owned vehicle. See id. ¶ 2.

By letter dated August 16, 2002, attorney Jay S. Marks notified S.A. Williamson that he had been retained by Ms. Healy in connection with the accident. That letter said simply: "This office represents Ms. Clare Healy for damages and personal injuries sustained in an automobile accident on June 17, 2002[,] on New York Avenue, N.E., near its intersection with First Street, N.E., in Washington, D.C. Please give this letter to your automobile insurance company and to your employer." Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, Exh. A. Robert W. Chamberlain, Chief Division Counsel, answered Mr. Marks's letter on October 7, 2002. Id., Exh. B. That response stated, in part:

Please be advised that in order to process an administrative claim pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), we must be in receipt of a properly completed claim. Enclosed for your client, Clare Healy's convenience[,] are two blank Standard Form 95's (SF-95's), Claims for Damage, Injury or Death. . . .

In order for you to present a claim on behalf of Ms. Healy and to comply with the regulations governing the filing of such claims, Title 28, Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.), Sections 14.2(a) and 14.3(b), it is necessary that you submit documentation signed by Ms. Healy which evidences your authority to present a claim on her behalf as her agent or representative.

Id. at 1. Mr. Marks wrote to Mr. Chamberlain again on December 17, 2002. Instead of submitting the claim forms as Mr. Chamberlain had suggested, Mr. Marks stated only: "This office represents Mr. Rodney Healy, a minor child, for damages and personal injuries sustained as a passenger in an automobile accident on June 17, 2002, on New York Avenue, N.E., near its intersection with First Street, N.E., in Washington, D.C. Mr. Healy is the minor son of Ms. Clare Healy, whose file number is referenced above." Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, Exh. C. Mr. Chamberlain responded by letter dated January 24, 2003, again advising Mr. Marks of the appropriate way to present a claim under the FTCA and forwarding blank SF-95's. Neither Ms. Healy nor Mr. Marks submitted the necessary paperwork thereafter. Chamberlain Decl. at 2-3.

Ms. Healy filed suit in D.C. Superior Court on June 16, 2005. On October 6, 2005, the United States certified that S.A. Williamson was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the incident, and substituted the United States as the sole defendant, pursuant to the FTCA. See 28 U.S.C. § 2679(d)(1).*fn2 On the same day, the FBI also removed the action to this Court. The FBI's motion to dismiss, filed on December 14, 2005, has been fully briefed and is now ripe for decision.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

The United States moves to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), which governs motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Generally, under Rule 12(b)(1), the Plaintiffs bear the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the Court possesses jurisdiction. See Shekoyan v. Sibley Int'l Corp., 217 F. Supp. 2d 59, 63 (D.D.C. 2002); Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Serv., 27 F. Supp. 2d 15, 19 (D.D.C. 1998). It is well established that, in deciding a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, a court is not limited to the allegations set forth in the complaint, "but may also consider material outside of the pleadings in its effort to determine whether the ...


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.