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.

Schouppe v. Upright

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 7, 2018

PATRICIA SCHOUPPE, Plaintiff
v.
KIRBY UPRIGHT d/b/a LAMPLIGHTER ASSOCIATES, and LAMPLIGHTER ASSOCIATES OF GP, Defendants
v.
BLAKESLEE POST OFFICE, and U.S. POST OFFICE, Additional Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY, JUDGE

         Before 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”)[1] 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 disposition.[2]

         In 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.[3] 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).

         The 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 posture.

         Standard of review

         United 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).

         Jurisdiction

         As explained in our reasoning below we find that we lack subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case at this time.

         Discussion

         The 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).

         Upright 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 ...


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.