United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Michael F. Urbanski, Chief United States District Judge
Meyers, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed
this action pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28
U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671-80 (“FTCA”).
Meyers has filed twenty-eight cases in this court, sixteen of
which were filed in the past six months, and most of which
allege facts duplicative of and/or intertwined with those of
other cases. In this FTCA case, Meyers claims that (1) the
Clerk of Court, a deputy clerk, three district judges, and
two magistrate judges “refuse” to let him sue
various state officials who allegedly caused him injuries in
2016; (2) a magistrate judge, a state assistant attorney
general, and seven state prison officials threatened
Meyers' inmate witness into testifying falsely at a
hearing in another action; (3) two district judges
“boldly declared in . . . unsealed civil actions that
[Meyers] is a FBI informant and assisting law enforcement, so
that they could advertise the cases to the prison gangs and
inmates making death threats to murder [him]”; and (4)
two district judges, two magistrate judges from this court,
and “all other U.S. magistrates” “refused
to seal” his cases and “refused to assist [him]
in obtaining a highlighter.” After reviewing the
complaint, the court dismisses the action for lack of
jurisdiction and, in the alternative, pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
the United States and its agencies enjoy sovereign immunity
from suit unless Congress has explicitly abrogated such
immunity. FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994).
The FTCA provides a limited waiver of that immunity insofar
as it allows the United States to be held liable “for
injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death
caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any
employee of the Government . . . under circumstances where
the United States, if a private person, would be liable to
the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where
the act or omission occurred.” 28 U.S.C. §
1346(b)(2); see Suter v. United States, 441 F.3d
306, 310 (4th Cir. 2006). This waiver is subject to the
condition that an administrative claim must first be
submitted to the appropriate agency and denied before a FTCA
lawsuit can be filed. See 28 U.S.C. 2675(a);
McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1980);
see also Bellomy v. United States, 888 F.Supp. 760
(S.D. W.Va. 1995). The failure of an agency to make final
disposition of a claim within six months after it is filed
shall, at the option of the claimant at any time thereafter,
be deemed a final denial of the claim. 28 U.S.C. §
2675(a). Filing a timely administrative claim is
jurisdictional and cannot be waived. Ahmed v. United
States, 30 F.3d 514, 516 (4th Cir. 1994) (citing
Henderson v. United States, 785 F.2d 121, 123
(4thCir. 1986); Muse v. United States, 1 F.3d 246
(4th Cir. 1993)). The burden of establishing subject matter
jurisdiction over an FTCA claim lies with the plaintiff.
See Welch v. United States, 409 F.3d 646, 650-51
(4th Cir. 2005). A FTCA claim which is prematurely filed in
court “cannot become timely by the passage of time
after a complaint is filed.” Price v. United
States, 69 F.3d 46, 54 (5th Cir. 1995) (citing
McNeil, 508 U.S. 106).
to his complaint, Meyers submits a completed Standard Form
95, dated July 18, 2018. See ECF No. 1, pp. 7-8.
Although not referenced in his complaint, presumably Meyers
has submitted this form to the court in an attempt to
demonstrate administrative exhaustion of his FTCA claims.
Meyers does not allege, however, that he ever actually
submitted this form to the federal agencies listed on it.
Further, he does not allege that he ever received a response
to it from any of the agencies. However, even assuming that
he did submit it to the agencies, Meyers did not wait six
months before pursuing his claims in this court. Instead, he
filed this action on January 13, 2019, less than six months
after the form is dated. Therefore, this action was filed
prematurely and, Meyers has not met his burden of
demonstrating that the court has jurisdiction over his
claims. Accordingly, the court will dismiss this action for
lack of jurisdiction.
Meyers had exhausted administrative remedies, however, his
FTCA claims would nevertheless fail. The United States may
only be held liable for monetary damages for personal injury,
property loss, or death to the plaintiff caused by the acts
of governmental employees acting within the scope of their
employment if such acts meet the definition of negligence
under state law. 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b); Laird v.
Nelms, 406 U.S. 797, 798-99 (1972) (noting that
negligence is the prerequisite for recovery under the FTCA).
To state a claim for negligence under Virginia law, a
plaintiff must allege facts sufficient to show: (1) a legal
duty of the defendant to the plaintiff, (2) a breach of that
duty, and (3) injury to the plaintiff (4) proximately caused
by the breach. Talley v. Danek Med., Inc., 179 F.3d
154, 157 (4th Cir. 1999). Meyers' complaint fails to
allege personal injury, property loss, or death, and fails to
state a claim for negligence.
the FTCA only applies to employees of the government. 28
U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1). The United States Code defines
“employee of the government” as “officers
or employees of any federal agency” or “persons
acting on behalf of a federal agency in an official capacity,
temporarily or permanently in the service of the United
States, whether with or without compensation . . .” 28
U.S.C. § 2671. Therefore, Meyers' FTCA claims
against the state assistant attorney general and various
state prison staff are legally frivolous. See, e.g.,
Goins v. Fleming, No. 7:16cv154, 2017 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 146891, at *2 n.2, 2017 WL 4019446, at *1 n.2 (W.D. Va.
Sep. 12, 2017)
further, the judges and court staff are immune from
Meyers' FTCA claims. Title 28, section 2674 of the United
States Code provides in relevant part:
With respect to any claim under this chapter, the United
States shall be entitled to assert any defense based upon
judicial or legislative immunity which otherwise would have
been available to the employee of the United States whose act
or omission gave rise to the claim, as well as any other
defenses to which the United States is entitled.
28 U.S.C. § 2674; see Tinsley v. Widener, 150
F.Supp.2d 7, 12 (D. D.C. 2001) (explaining that the United
States possesses whatever immunity is available to the
judicial officer whose act is the basis of the suit);
Coulibaly et al v. Chasanow, et al., Case No.
TDC-15-0425, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24290, at *8, 2015 WL
877786, at * 3 (D. Md. Feb. 27, 2015) (FTCA claim). The FTCA
only allows claims for damages. 28 U.S.C. §1346(b)(1).
Federal judges are immune from liability for damages for
“acts committed within their judicial
jurisdiction.” Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S.
409, 419 (1976); Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349
(1978); Smith v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, et al.,
Case No. ELH-15-3807, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173098, at *10,
2015 WL 9581802, at *4 (D. Md. Dec. 29, 2015). Because
judicial immunity ensures that judges can perform their
functions without harassment or intimidation, it is a benefit
to the public at large, “whose interest it is that the
judges should be at liberty to exercise their functions with
independence and without fear of consequences.”
Pierson v. Ray, 386 U.S. 547, 554 (1967). In
determining whether a particular judge is immune, inquiry
must be made into whether the challenged action was
“judicial” and whether, at the time the
challenged action was taken, the judge had jurisdiction over
the subject matter before him. Stump, 435 U.S. at
356. Unless it can be shown that a judge acted in the
“clear absence of all jurisdiction, ” absolute
immunity exists even when the alleged conduct is erroneous,
malicious, or in excess of judicial authority. Id.
at 356-57. Meyers has not alleged that any of the judges
acted in the clear absence of all jurisdiction and, thus,
they are entitled to absolute judicial immunity. Likewise,
the Clerk of Court and deputy clerk are entitled to
quasi-judicial immunity for tasks they undertook as part of
the judicial process. Ross v. Baron, 493 Fed.Appx.
405, 406 (4th Cir. 2012); Hamilton v. Newman, Civil
Action No. 2:18-0622-RMG, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164941, at
*4-5, 2018 WL 46150, at *2 (D.S.C. Sep. 26, 2018).
foregoing reasons, the court dismisses the action.