United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY, JUDGE
the court is a motion to dismiss (Doc. 3) the third-party
joinder complaint (hereinafter referred to as “the
third-party complaint”) (Doc. 1-1). Original
defendants, Kirby Upright d/b/a Lamplighter Associates, and
Lamplighter Associates of GP (hereinafter referred to
collectively as “Upright”), filed the third-party
complaint against additional defendants, Blakeslee Post
Office and U.S. Post Office (hereinafter referred to as
“the United States” or “the
government”) in the Court of Common Pleas for Monroe
County, Pennsylvania. In response, the United States removed
the case to this court and filed a motion to dismiss pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
This matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for
August 2017, plaintiff filed the instant case in the Monroe
County Court of Common Pleas. Plaintiff Schouppe sues for
injuries suffered in a slip and fall on ice at the Blakeslee
Post Office. Defendant owns the land where the post office is
located and rents it to the government. Plaintiff sued
Upright but not the United States or any government
entity. Upright filed a third-party complaint on
December 26, 2017, joining Blakeslee Post Office and U.S.
Post Office as additional defendants in the litigation, (Doc.
1-1), alleging claims for indemnification and contribution.
The United States removed the case to this court on February
27, 2018, (Doc. 1), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1):
(a) A civil action or criminal prosecution that is commenced
in a State court and that is against or directed to any of
the following may be removed by them to the district court of
the United States for the district and division embracing the
place wherein it is pending:
(1) The United States or any agency thereof or any officer
(or any person acting under that officer) of the United
States or of any agency thereof, in an official or individual
capacity, for or relating to any act under color of such
office or on account of any right, title or authority claimed
under any Act of Congress for the apprehension or punishment
of criminals or the collection of the revenue.
28 U.S.C. §1442(a)(1).
United States then filed a motion to dismiss the third-party
complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction,
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), bringing the case to its current
States moves to dismiss plaintiff's third-party complaint
under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 12(b)(1) provides that a court may dismiss a complaint
for “lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.” A
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) contests the
court's authority to hear and decide the case. Federal
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction; accordingly, every
case begins with the presumption that the court lacks
jurisdiction to hear it. See Kokkonen v. Guardian Life
Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994). In a Rule
12(b)(1) motion, the party invoking jurisdiction has the
burden of demonstrating that subject matter jurisdiction
exists. See Thomson v. Gaskill, 315 U.S. 442, 446
(1942). “[N]o presumptive truthfulness attaches to
plaintiff's allegations, and the existence of disputed
material facts will not preclude the trial court from
evaluating for itself the merits of jurisdictional
claims.” Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan
Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977).
explained in our reasoning below we find that we lack subject
matter jurisdiction to hear the case at this time.
United States removed this case from state court under 28
U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1) and now moves to dismiss the action.
In support of its motion the United States asserts that,
pursuant to the derivative jurisdiction doctrine, this court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Upright's claims
raised against the government in the third-party complaint.
Essentially, the United States argues that the state court
lacked jurisdiction to entertain that claim because it was
brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (hereinafter
referred to as “the FTCA”). Claims brought under
the FTCA are subject to federal jurisdiction exclusively. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1346(b)(1); 2679(b)(1); Clinton Cnty.
Comm'rs v. EPA, 116 F.3d 1018, 1021 (3d Cir. 1997).
does not contend that the state court had jurisdiction to
hear his FTCA claim. Instead, he first argues that he
“could not control where the suit was initiated, nor
would the suit have been proper to have been brought in
federal court with the original parties alone.” (Doc. 8
at 3-4, orig. def. Upright br. in opp'n). While we agree
with Upright in this ...