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.

Stevens v. United States

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 27, 2019

JOHN STEVENS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISMISS, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT, ON SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION DEFENSE

          WILLIAM P. JOHNSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, on Subject Matter Jurisdiction Defense. [Doc. 48, filed December 12, 2018]. Upon reviewing the parties' briefs and the applicable law, the motion is DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         This is a slip-and-fall case arising under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671 et seq., wherein Plaintiff John Stevens seeks damages arising out of an incident occurring on October 19, 2015, at the United States Post Office located at 110 Montaño Road in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

         The Court first notes the procedural history. A bench trial was set for February 4, 2019. [Doc. 40]. Under the Court's scheduling order governing this case, the deadline for pretrial motions was July 12, 2018. No. motions were filed by either side. Five months after the expiration of the dispositive motions' deadline, Plaintiff filed the present motion. This was done in order to address a question that any federal court must answer and that any party that does not want the court to exercise jurisdiction must raise in order to meet its duty of candor to the court: whether the Court has jurisdiction under the FTCA.

         Due to the fast-approaching trial date, and the late motion, the Court issued an Order to Show Cause, [Doc. 49], which was later vacated. In the Order, the Court noted that it would have expected the Government to raise an administrative exhaustion issue early in the case, before general discovery had taken place and sometime during the year and a half this case had been sitting on the Court's docket. Thus, the Government's motion is long overdue. Also, while the parties had stipulated to federal jurisdiction, [Doc. 11 (Jt. Stat. Rep't) at 2; and [Doc. 47 (Pretrial Order) at 2], the parties' agreement does not confer jurisdiction on the Court.

         The Court will take up the jurisdictional issue. Plaintiff filed two administrative claims, also known as SF95 forms, with the United States Postal Service. [Doc. 59-1; Doc. 48-3]. The second administrative claim amended the first administrative claim. The first administrative claim stated: “Mr. Stevens was a visitor at the Post Office when the automatic door closed on him causing him injuries.” [Doc. 59-1]. It further stated: “Mr. Stevens suffered trauma from head trauma, fractured clavicle, torn ligaments and bruising.” [Id.].

         The amended administrative claim stated: “Mr. Stevens was a visitor at the postal facility at 110 Monta[ñ]o Road NE in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While he was exiting the facility, the automatic door closed on him, causing to fall and hit the concrete with his head and left shoulder.” [Doc. 48-3]. It further alleged:

The fall cause a left clavicle fracture, acromioclavicular joint separation, head injury, scalp laceration and scalp contusion. Mr. Stevens suffered headaches, vertigo and left shoulder pain. His arm was immobilized in a sling. He treated the injuries with physical therapy and pain medication. He developed scapular winging, meaning his shoulder bone struck out of his back in an abnormal position. The last examination on June 30, 2016 indicated rotator cuff injury. His left shoulder pain still reached 8/10 with activity.

[Id.]. It finally claimed damage of $7.5 million dollars. [Id.].

         Plaintiff then received a letter from the federal government stating that the administrative claims were denied, and consequently, Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit alleging:

• On or about October 19, 2015, Plaintiff was a visitor at the postal facility located at 110 Montaño Road NE, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
• Plaintiff was exiting the facility, through the automatic handicap door, when it abruptly and forcefully closed on him, causing him to fall and hit the concrete with his head and left shoulder.
• Plaintiff suffered a clavicle fracture, acromioclavicular joint separation, head injury, scalp ...

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.