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Braddy v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

March 9, 2016

THOMAS MONIQUE BRADDY, JR. Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, etai, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS)

HENRY E. HUDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

Thomas M. Braddy, Jr. ("Braddy"), a former federal inmate, filed suit[1] in the Circuit Court for Prince George County, Virginia (the "Circuit Court") against Defendants[2] for breach of contract and tort violations. Defendants removed the case to this Court. This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 3); Braddy's Motion to Remand (ECF No. 6); and, Braddy's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 7). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and deny Braddy's motions.

I. Procedural History

On May 11, 2014, Braddy, proceeding pro se, filed suit against Defendants in the Circuit Court. On June 8, 2015, Defendants filed a Notice of Removal of State Court Action to United States District Court. ("Notice of Removal, " ECF No. 1.) On June 12, 2015, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 3.)

On June 22, 2015, Braddy filed a "Motion to Remand Back to State Court" ("Motion for Remand, " ECF No. 6).[3] Braddy also filed a "Motion for Summary Judgment & for Injunctive Relief in Support of Remand" ("Motion for Summary Judgment, " ECF No. 7). Defendants filed an Opposition to Braddy's Motion to Remand and an Opposition to Braddy's Motion for Summary Judgment on June 29, 2015. (ECF Nos. 10, 11.)

II. Summary of Allegations

Braddy alleges that on November 16, 2014, after the 10:00 a.m. count, he left his assigned living quarters "to take the chair assigned to him to the area where T.V. viewing takes place." (Compl. 3.) Subsequently, Officer Palmer came out of his office and started to complain about the positions of the chairs and televisions. (Id.) Officer Palmer began telling inmates to move their chairs back. (Id.) Eventually, Officer Palmer "picked up about 7-10 chairs and beg[an] to throw them to the left and right of the path he was making to the door." (Id. at 4.) Braddy was able to dodge the first chair, but was struck on his left thigh by the second chair. (Id.)

Braddy also appears to allege that 18 U.S.C. § 4001, [4] § 4002, [5] and § 4042[6]constitute "contracts" between the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") and the United States, that he is a third party beneficiary to these "contracts, " and that Officer Palmer's actions constitute a breach of those contracts. (Id. at 5-6.) Braddy further contends that Officer Palmer's behavior violates his "contract plea." (Id. at 6.) Braddy seeks "damages both punitive and real to be determined by a duly empaneled jury." (Id. at 7.)

III. Lack of Jurisdiction

"Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and are empowered to act only in those specific instances authorized by Congress." Goldsmith v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, 845 F.2d 61, 63 (4th Cir. 1988) (citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). "[A] federal court is obliged to dismiss a case whenever it appears the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.... Determining the question of subject matter jurisdiction at the outset of the litigation is often the most efficient procedure." Lovern v. Edwards, 190 F.3d 648, 654 (4th Cir. 1999) (citations omitted). As explained below, because the Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction over Braddy's claims, so too does this Court.

A. Sovereign Immunity and Waiver

"Absent a waiver, sovereign immunity shields the Federal Government and its agencies from suit. Sovereign immunity is jurisdictional in nature. Indeed, the terms of consent [by the United States] to be sued in any court define that court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit." FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted) (citing United States v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983); United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941)).

1. Contract Claims

The statutes Braddy cites in his Complaint, 18 U.S.C. §§4001, 4002, [7] and 4042, [8]do not create a private right of action against the United States for breach of contract. See Touche Ross & Co. v.Redington, 442 U.S. 560, 569 (1979) (refusing to find that a statute created an implied private remedy when it failed ...


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