United States District Court, District of Columbia
DAVID S. BRAUN, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE and OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, Defendants.
David Steven Braun, alleges that defendant United States
Postal Service ("USPS") somehow "allowed"
his legal name to be changed in an unspecified "national
database." He claims that this mistake has led to
court-ordered electronic surveillance of his residence, made
it impossible for him to obtain employment, left him without
healthcare insurance, caused him to be labeled a "mental
subject" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation
("FBI"), and had a myriad of other collateral
before the Court are four motions. First, Mr. Braun moves for
mandamus relief directing OMB to process tort claims
submitted to the Social Security Administration in 2014.
Second, the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB")
moves to dismiss the entire complaint for lack of
jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. Third, USPS
moves to dismiss Mr. Braun's allegations to the extent
that they do not relate to his requests under the Privacy Act
of 1974 ("Privacy Act"), 5 U.S.C. § 552a. And
fourth, Mr. Braun requests that the Court take
"corrective action" and change the name that
appears on a Post Office ("P.O.") box owned by
plaintiff. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants
defendants' motions and denies Mr. Braun's motions.
Braun, appearing pro se, brings this action under
the Privacy Act. See Compl., ECF No. 1 at
Mr. Braun alleges that he has made at least three requests
for records from USPS under the Privacy Act, and that USPS
has failed to release all the information in its possession
relating to those requests. See Id. ¶¶
4-8, ECF No. 1 at 3.
addition to alleging violations of the Privacy Act, Mr.
Braun's 12-page complaint strings together a litany of
accusations that do not appear to relate to any particular
cause of action. See Id. ¶¶ 1-30, ECF No.
1 at 4-12. These allegations are lodged primarily at USPS.
Mr. Braun claims that a post office in Montana has
"allowed fictitious tenants" to be listed as living
at Mr. Braun's physical address. Id. ¶ 15,
ECF No. 1 at 8. The alleged addition of these names to his
records has purportedly, inter alia, permitted
federal judges to "write an electronic surveillance
order, " created errors in his medical records, caused
the Social Security Administration to deny his disability
claim, made it impossible for him to obtain employment, and
has caused "major problem's [sic] with [his] phone
and email services." See, e.g., id.
¶¶ 5-9, 14-21, ECF No. 1 at 5-9.
Braun also attaches over 100 pages of exhibits to his
complaint. See ECF No. 1 at 14-139. Some of these
exhibits contain correspondence between Mr. Braun and the
USPS Office of the Inspector General or Inspection Service.
See, e.g., id. at 13-18. Other exhibits
tangentially relate to the various allegations in Mr.
Braun's complaint concerning the Montana post office and
his belief that the fictitious names added to his records are
responsible for some of the problems he has experienced.
See, e.g., ECF No. 1 at 59 (letter from County
Attorney's Office informing Mr. Braun that he had been
charged with disorderly conduct for his behavior at the post
office); id. at 62-66 (current copy of Mr.
Braun's resume); id. at 83 (results from an FBI
search of Mr. Braun's fingerprints); id. at
86-97 (results of a background report for "David Steven
Braun" from the PeopleSmart website); id. at
113-125 (FBI complaint form documenting Mr. Braun's visit
to the Bozeman FBI office).
relief sought by Mr. Braun is not wholly clear. Under a
section titled "Requested Goal off this suite, "
Mr. Braun requests "that all records denied in this and
previous request's be reviewed and processed for
criminal/negligent behavior." See Id. at 12. He
further states that "[t]heir seams to be this database,
record issues, that might also need a court order from a
Federal Judge." Id. Finally, he requests
"5, 000, 000 dollars a year for life, to compensate
[him] for the negligence and malicious behavior and damaged
caused buy the issues brought to light in this suite."
Braun filed his complaint on October 17, 2016. On January 10,
2017, Mr. Braun filed a motion requesting mandamus relief
directing the OMB to process the claims he submitted to the
Social Security Administration. See Pl.'s Mot.
to Compel, ECF No. 11. Attached to Mr. Braun's motion are
two claims submitted on Standard Form 95, "Claim for
Damage, Injury, or Death." See ECF No. 11-3 at
8-11. These claims seek compensation for alleged delays in
paying Mr. Braun the lump sum, back-due benefits due to him
after his disability benefits were approved by the Social
Security Administration. Id. at 5-6. OMB filed its
opposition to that motion on January 30, 2017. See
OMB's Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 20. Mr.
Braun filed his reply one day later on January 31, 2017.
Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 21.
January 30, 2017, defendants filed motions to dismiss Mr.
Braun's complaint. OMB filed a motion to dismiss the
entire complaint as barred by the doctrine of sovereign
immunity and for failure to state a claim. See OMB
Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 22. USPS filed a partial motion to
dismiss, requesting dismissal of all of Mr. Braun's
allegations except for those related to the Privacy Act.
See USPS's Partial Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 23.
On February 11, 2017 Mr. Braun filed an opposition to
USPS's motion to dismiss. See Pl.'s Opp. to
USPS Partial Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 25. USPS filed its
reply on February 21, 2017. See USPS's Reply in
Supp. of Partial Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 27. Mr. Braun did
not file any opposition to OMB's motion to dismiss.
20, 2017, Mr. Braun filed another motion. See Mot.
for the Court to Take Corrective Action ("Pl.'s Mot.
to Correct"), ECF No. 37. In this motion, Mr. Braun asks
the Court to "take what ever corrective action is
necessary" to address the fact that the registration
information for one P.O. box he owns omits his middle
initial. See Id. Defendants filed their opposition
to Mr. Braun's motion on August 4, 2017. See
Defs.' Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Correct, ECF No. 39. Mr.
Braun filed his reply on August 6, 2017. See
Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Correct, ECF No. 40.
Rule 12(b)(1) - Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction,
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994), and a Rule
12(b)(1) motion for dismissal presents a threshold challenge
to a court's jurisdiction, Haase v. Sessions,
835 F.2d 902, 906 (D.C. Cir. 1987). To survive a Rule
12(b)(1) motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of
establishing that the court has jurisdiction. Lujan v.
Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S.Ct.
2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). Indeed, when it comes to Rule
12(b)(1), it is "presumed that a cause lies outside [the
federal courts'] limited jurisdiction unless the
plaintiff establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that
the Court possesses jurisdiction." Cofield v. United
States, 64 F.Supp.3d 206, 211 (D.D.C. 2014) (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted).
Rule 12(b)(1) concerns a court's ability to hear a
particular claim, "the court must scrutinize the
plaintiff's allegations more closely when considering a
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) than it would
under a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)."
Schmidt v. U.S. Capitol Police Bd., 826 F.Supp.2d
59, 65 (D.D.C. 2011). As such, the court "need not limit
itself to the allegations in the complaint, " but
rather, "may consider such materials outside the
pleadings as it deems appropriate to resolve the question
whether it has jurisdiction in the case." Rann v.
Chao, 154 F.Supp.2d 61, 64 (D.D.C. 2001) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). Nor must the court
"accept inferences unsupported by the facts alleged or
legal conclusions that are cast as factual allegations."
Id. Still, in evaluating such a motion, the Court
must "accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint, " Wilson v. District of
Columbia, 269 F.R.D. 8, 11 (D.D.C. 2010) (citation
omitted), and should review the complaint liberally while
accepting all inferences favorable to the plaintiff, see
Barr v. Clinton, 370 F.3d 1196, 1199 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
with motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule
12(b)(6), a court should first consider the Rule 12(b)(1)
motion because "[o]nce a court determines that it lacks
subject matter jurisdiction, it can proceed no further."
Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Jackson, 815
F.Supp.2d 85, 90 (D.D.C. 2011) (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted).
Rule 12(b)(6) - Failure to State a Claim
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint.
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir.
2002). A complaint must contain "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests."
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (internal quotation marks
this liberal pleading standard, to survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint "must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)
(internal quotation marks omitted). A claim is facially
plausible when the facts pled in the complaint allow the
court to "draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. The standard does not amount to a