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Jones v. Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the Dist. of Columbia

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


November 18, 2010

CHARLES E. JONES, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
COURT SERVICES AND OFFENDER SUPERVISION AGENCY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellen Segal Huvelle United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In this pro se action removed from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, plaintiff, an inmate at the District of Columbia Jail, sues defendants for false imprisonment and constitutional violations stemming from his arrest in March 2008. He names the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency ("CSOSA") and two Community Supervision Officers ("CSO"), "Daniel Carter" and Supervisor Gladys Dorgett, and seeks $150,000 in monetary damages.*fn1 Defendants move to substitute the United States and to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(1) and (b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the Court will grant defendants' motion and dismiss the case.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested at his job site and "falsely" imprisoned for ten days "when employee(s) acting in the scope of his or her employment, failed to withdraw a parole violation warrant in a timely manner as ordered by Ms. Dorgett." (Compl. at 1.) He alleges that Carter "intentionally made false allegations and intentionally took sick leave to make sure plaintiff was locked up because she did not like the way Ms. Dorgett ordered her." (Id.) In his opposition to the pending motion to dismiss, plaintiff states that "[t]he case is a Negligence Tort Claim." (Pl.'s Mem. of P. & A. in Opp'n to the Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss [Dkt. # 7] at 1.) He claims that defendants breached a duty to timely inform the United States Parole Commission ("USPC") "to cancel the [parole violator] warrant" and faults Carter for "not forward[ing] the [cancellation] memo to the Commission before the warrant was executed."*fn2 (Id. at 2.)

II. DISCUSSION

The Attorney General's designee has certified that Carter and Dorgett were acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the events forming the basis of the complaint. (Defs.' Exs. B, C.) "When a federal employee is sued for wrongful or negligent conduct, the [Westfall] Act empowers the Attorney General to certify that the employee 'was acting within the scope of his office or employment at the time of the incident out of which the claim arose.' Upon the Attorney General's certification, the employee is dismissed from the action, and the United States is substituted as defendant in place of the employee." Wuterich v. Murtha, 562 F.3d 375, 377 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (quoting Osborn v. Haley, 549 U.S. 225, 229-30 (2007)). Plaintiff has not contested the certification. The United States therefore is substituted as the proper federal defendant.*fn3 See id. at 381 ("[W]here a plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to rebut the certification, the United States must be substituted as the defendant because the federal employee is absolutely immune from suit.").

The Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA") is the exclusive remedy for plaintiff's claim against the United States for monetary damages.*fn4 See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 et seq. The FTCA requires that a claimant present his claim to the appropriate federal agency prior to filing a civil action in a federal district court. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a) (requiring claimant to present claim "for money damages for injury or loss of property . . . . caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment . . . to the appropriate Federal agency" from which written notice of the denial of the claim has been mailed to the claimant, or six months has passed, before suit may be filed). Because plaintiff has not alleged that he exhausted his administrative remedies by having presented his claim first to the appropriate agency, this Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain his complaint against the United States. A separate Order of dismissal accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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