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.

Hamilton v. Stevens

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 5, 2019

JAN B. HAMILTON, Plaintiff,
v.
MARCUS STEVENS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jan Hamilton (“Hamilton”) filed this civil action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on September 28, 2017 and amended her complaint on April 17, 2018. The operative pleading is titled:

Amended COMPLAINT OF NEGLECT, ABUSE & TORTURE IN DISALLOWING DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION FOR ELDERLY DISABLED, LESBIAN, RESULTING IN EXPLOITATION, EXTORTION, DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER FOR RECOVERY OF LOSSES AND DAMAGES

(Notice of Removal of Civil Action, Ex. A (“Am. Compl.”) at 1 (page numbers designated by Hamilton) (emphasis in original)). Following removal of this action on May 17, 2018, it has come before the Court on defendants' motions to dismiss. For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants their motions and dismisses the complaint and this civil action with prejudice.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         Hamilton returned to the District of Columbia after having resided for some time in Aspen, Colorado. (See Am. Compl. at 2-3.) She sought membership in Christ Church, Georgetown (“Christ Church”), of which Father Timothy Cole (“Cole”) is the Rector. (See id. at 4.) Hamilton has alleged the following: (1) twice, on October 23, 2016, and November 13, 2016, she was assaulted physically by Assistant Rectors Kristin Lawley and Elizabeth Keeling with the support of Senior Warden Harry Volz; (2) she was denied membership in Christ Church; and (3) she was presented with a barring notice on November 13, 2016. (See generally id. at 4-6; see also Mem. of Law in Support of Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Am. Compl. (“Church Defs.' Mem.”), Ex. 1 at 24 (Barring Notice).) According to Hamilton, Cole and the other Church Defendants defamed her, (see Am. Compl. at 4-5, ) negligently caused her physical injury, (see id. at 5-8, ) discriminated against her on the bases of her religion, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, and disability, (see generally id. at 9-11, ) and committed criminal offenses against her, (see id. at 20-21.) Hamilton has demanded an “award [of] all losses and damages of $250, 000.00 in treble in the form of cashier's checks from each guilty party, the conspirator/perpetrators under the leadership and direction of Tim Cole . . ., Harry Volz, Kristin Hawley and Elizabeth Keeling[.]” (Id. at 23.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         For purposes of this Memorandum Opinion, the Court presumes without deciding that all defendants properly have been served with process and that this Court may exercise personal jurisdiction over them.

         A. Dismissal for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction

         The United States is substituted for defendants Channing Phillips, Wendy Pohlhaus, Scott L. Sroka, Hon. Rudolph Contreras, Hon. Lewis Babcock, Daniel F. Van Horn and Roger Kemp. If the Court were to construe Hamilton's amended complaint so liberally as to raise a tort claim against the federal government, or against a government officer or employee acting in his or her official capacity, the claim must proceed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). The United States is the only proper defendant in a suit under the FTCA. See, e.g., Hall v. Admin. Office of U.S. Courts, 496 F.Supp.2d 203, 206 (D.D.C. 2007). Even though Hamilton has not named the United States as a party, the Court overlooks this pleading defect and instead treats Hamilton's purported tort claim as if she brought it against the United States directly. See, e.g., Hui v. Castaneda, 559 U.S. 799, 810 (2010).

         The FTCA allows a claimant to file a civil suit for claims of “personal injury . . . 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b). This is a waiver of sovereign immunity, see United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980), and “the terms of [the United States'] consent to be sued in any court define [the] court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit, ” id. (quoting United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941)).

         There are limitations under and exceptions to the FTCA which militate dismissal of any tort claim Hamilton purports to bring against the United States. Relevant to this case is the exhaustion requirement:

An action shall not be instituted upon a claim against the United States for money damages for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death 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, unless the claimant shall have first presented the claim to the appropriate Federal agency and his claim shall have been finally denied by the agency in writing and sent by certified or registered mail.

28 U.S.C. § 2675(a) (emphasis added). “The FTCA bars claimants from bringing suit in federal court until they have exhausted their administrative remedies, ” and a claimant's “fail[ure] to heed that clear statutory command” warrants dismissal of any tort claim Hamilton attempts to bring. McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); see Henderson v. Ratner, No. 10-5035, 2010 WL 2574175, at *1 (D.C. Cir. June 7, 2010) (per curiam) (affirming dismissal of FTCA claim where “[a]ppellant failed to demonstrate that he exhausted his administrative remedies before filing suit in the district court”).

         The United States argues that any tort claim Hamilton raises against it must be dismissed on the ground that she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing this action. (See Def. United States's Mot. to Dismiss at 3.) Hamilton does not allege or otherwise demonstrate that she submitted a tort claim to the appropriate federal agency. Her failure to exhaust her administrative remedies deprives this Court of subject matter jurisdiction, see GAF Corp. v. United States, 818 F.2d 901, 904 (D.C. Cir. 1987), and her purported tort claim against the United States must be dismissed, see, e.g., Evans v. Tyler, No. 17-CV-02728, 2018 WL 5312189, at *3 (D.D.C. Oct. 26, 2018) (‚ÄúThus, to the extent Plaintiff's Complaint can be construed to state a claim under the FTCA, the court dismisses the Complaint for lack of subject- matter jurisdiction for failure to exhaust administrative ...


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.