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Colley v. Dandan

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

February 28, 2018

TERRY J. COLLEY
v.
DR. DANDAN, et al.

          DRELL JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is a “Motion for Court to Dismiss Joint Stipulation of Dismissal” (Doc. 26) and a “Motion to Vacate Judgment of Dismissal” (Doc. 27) filed by Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges his case was only partially settled and, therefore, should not have been dismissed in its entirety. Those motions should be denied.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Terry J. Colley, an inmate confined by the Bureau of Prisons, filed this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), [1] and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), [2] 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671-2680. The named Defendants are Dr. Dandan, Zita Guerrero, Willie Vasquez, L. Parker, M. Lofstrom, Charles T. Texada, Heather Falgout, and the United States of America. Colley alleges that, while he was confined in the United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana (“USP-Pollock”), medical care for his torn Achilles was delayed seven months, and he was denied appropriate post-operative case at the prison.

         Colley was notified by a letter dated May 3, 2017, from BOP Regional Counsel Jason A. Sickler, that his FTCA claim was “considered for administrative settlement under the Federal Tort Claims Act, Title 28 U.S.C. § 2672, et seq.” (Doc. 27-1).

         Colley and Sickler reached a settlement and executed a settlement agreement entitled “Stipulation for Compromise Settlement and Release of Federal Tort Claims Act Claims Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2672” (Doc. 27-1). Section 4 of the Settlement Agreement states: “This settlement is entered into by all parties for the purpose of compromising disputed claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act” (Doc. 27-1). The Agreement states in Section 2 that the sum paid would be in full settlement of all claims against “the United States of America, its agents, servants, and employees” (Doc. 27-1, § 2). In Section 4, the agreement states: “This settlement is entered into by all parties for the purpose of compromising disputed claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act.” (Doc. 27-2, § 4). The agreement was signed by Plaintiff and “Jason Stickler, Attorney for United States of America” (Doc. 27-1).

         A “Joint Stipulation of Dismissal” (Doc. 24), signed by Plaintiff Colley and Assistant United States Attorney Frederick, asked the Court to dismiss the case on behalf of Colley, the United States of America, Dandan, Guerrero, Vasquez, Parker, Lofstrom, Texada, and Falgout, because the case had been settled. A Judgment of Dismissal was signed by the District Judge (Doc. 25).

         Colley filed a Motion for Court to Dismiss Joint Stipulation of Dismissal (Doc. 26) and a Motion to Vacate Judgment of Dismissal (Doc. 27). Defendants oppose those motions (Doc. 30).

         II. Law and Analysis

         Colley asks the Court to reinstate his case, arguing the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case because he had not exhausted his administrative remedies for his federal tort claim, and because the federal agency improperly exercised “jurisdiction” over the case (Docs. 26, 27). Colley contends the government attorney committed a fraud upon the Court because Colley was offered a settlement, unbeknownst to the Court, after he had submitted his case to the jurisdiction of the Court. Colley also alleges the attorneys did not have the authority to settle claims on behalf of the United States. Colley points out that he did not discuss a settlement with AUSA Frederick, who represented the Bivens claim Defendants.

         Colley appears to bring his motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. rule 60(b):

(b) Grounds for Relief from a Final Judgment, Order, or Proceeding. On motion and just terms, the court may relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or ...

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