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.

Scoratow v. Smith

March 27, 2009

ILENE SCORATOW, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RICHARD SMITH, DEFENDANT,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, ADDITIONAL DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McVerry, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is the MOTION TO DISMISS, with brief in support, filed by Additional Defendant, United States of America/United States Postal Service (Document Nos. 11 and 12), the BRIEF IN OPPOSITION filed by Original Defendant, Richard Smith (Document No. 13), and the REPLY BRIEF filed by Additional Defendant, United States of America/United States Postal Service (Document No. 14). For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted and the claims against the United States of America/United States Postal Service will be dismissed with prejudice. Additionally, this case will be remanded to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

Factual Background

This case involves a February 28, 2006, automobile accident. Plaintiff, Ilene Scoratow ("Scoratow"), alleges that Richard Smith ("Smith") negligently entered her lane of travel, which resulted in a collision between her vehicle and Smith's vehicle. Smith, in turn, alleges that he entered Scoratow's lane of travel in an effort to avoid a United States Postal truck being driven by an employee of the United States Postal Service. In his "Amended Complaint to Join the United States of America," Smith alleges that the United States is either solely liable to Plaintiff, jointly and severally liable to Plaintiff, and/or must indemnify Smith in the above-captioned action.

Procedural Background

Scoratow initiated this action on February 27, 2008, by the filing of a Praecipe for Writ of Summons in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County against Smith. On June 23, 2008, Smith filed a Praecipe for Writ to Join United States of America/United States Postal Service as Additional Defendants in the matter. A representative of the United States Postal Service was served with the Writ on June 30, 2008.

On July 15, 2008, Scoratow filed a one-count Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Civil Division, in which only Smith was named as a defendant. Scoratow seeks monetary damages in excess of $25,000. On August 1, 2008, Smith filed his Answer and New Matter. Over three (3) months later, on October 27, 2008, Smith filed his "Complaint to Join the United States of America/United States Postal Service" as an "Additional Defendant."

On November 14, 2008, the United States removed the lawsuit to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1442(a)(1) and 1446, because the United States Postal Service, a named defendant, is an agency of the United States.

On December 18, 2008, the United States filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint to Join, on the ground that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. On December 29, 2008, Smith filed an Amended Complaint,*fn1 which rendered moot the Motion to Dismiss.

On January 29, 2009, the United States filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint filed by Smith, again arguing that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Smith filed a timely brief in opposition, to which the United States filed a Reply Brief. The Motion has been fully briefed and is ready for disposition.

Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) challenges the subject matter jurisdiction of the court. A Rule 12(b)(1) motion is the proper mechanism for raising the issue of whether the doctrine of derivative jurisdiction bars federal jurisdiction. See Lambert Run Coal Co. v. Baltimore & O.R. Co., 258 U.S. 377, 382 (1922) (holding that the doctrine of derivative jurisdiction is a jurisdictional bar which deprives federal courts of subject matter jurisdiction).

Discussion

The United States of America moves to dismiss Smith's claims on the grounds that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction by virtue of the doctrine of derivative jurisdiction. 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.