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Farris v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 26, 2014



LISA PUPO LENIHAN, Chief Magistrate Judge.

I. Summation

The Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant United States of America ("Defendant") will be denied, as William Farris ("Plaintiff") properly filed his complaint before the six-month statute of limitations expired pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b) (2012), interpreted in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(a) (2012) and the holding of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Frey v. Woodward , 748 F.2d 173, 175 (3d Cir. 1984).

II. Factual and Procedural History

Plaintiff is an individual residing in New Castle, Pennsylvania. See Plaintiff's Complaint ("Complaint") (ECF No. 1) at ¶ 1. Plaintiff asserts a claim under the FTCA, arising from a motor vehicle collision with a United States Postal Service ("USPS") truck. See id. at ¶¶ 2, 7. Defendant, the United States of America, is the owner and operator of the USPS, an independent agency of the United States federal government. See id.

On or about December 18, 2012, Plaintiff's vehicle and Defendant's USPS truck collided in Pagley's Pasta & More parking lot located in New Castle, Pennsylvania. See id. at ¶ 7. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's USPS agent "negligently operated his postal truck" while driving through and exiting Pagley's Pasta & More's parking lot. Plaintiff asserts that Defendant's negligence caused the USPS truck to strike the right corner of Plaintiff's bumper while Plaintiff's vehicle was stopped. See id. at ¶ 8.

As a result of the accident, Plaintiff claims to have suffered several physical injuries, including "severe pain in his back, face, left elbow, and right hip", which he further alleges have caused him to become disabled from his work. Id. at ¶¶ 9-14. At some point after the accident, Plaintiff filed an administrative tort claim with the USPS. See Defendant's Mem. of Law In Support of Its Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 5) at ¶ 4. The USPS denied the administrative tort claim and mailed its denial letter to Plaintiff on October 4, 2013, via certified mail. See Ex. A (ECF No. 1-2).

On April 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania pursuant to the FTCA. See ECF No. 1. Plaintiff asserts one count of negligence against Defendant and seeks money damages. See id. at ¶¶ 17-20. In response, on May 5, 2014, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. See Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 4). Defendant avers that by filing his complaint on April 7, 2014, Plaintiff failed to satisfy 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b), which stipulates that a tort action against the government must be filed "within six months after the date of mailing... of notice of final denial of the claim by the agency to which it was presented."

III. Applicable Standard of Review

Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit aptly summarized the standard to be applied in deciding motions to dismiss filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6):

Under the "notice pleading" standard embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must come forward with "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." As explicated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), a claimant must state a "plausible" claim for relief, and "[a] claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Although "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a plaintiff "need only put forth allegations that raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Fowler v. Univ. of Pittsburgh Med. Ctr. Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 213 (3d Cir. 2009) (quotation marks and citations omitted); see also Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials , 710 F.3d 114, 117-18 (3d Cir. 2013).

Thompson v. Real Estate Mortg. Network , 748 F.3d 142, 147 (3d Cir. Apr. 3, 2014).

"In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must consider only the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these ...

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