United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
DANIEL TURNER, JR.
ARDIE SCOTT, III
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 2)
filed by Defendant. Plaintiff did not file a response. For
the reasons stated herein, the motion is
October 3, 2018, pro se Plaintiff filed a Petition
for Protection from Stalking or Sexual Assault in the
19th Judicial District Court. On November 5, 2018,
Defendant removed the action to federal court. (Doc. 1).
Plaintiff is employed by the United States Postal Service
("USPS") facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana as a
clerk. Defendant is a supervisor at the same facility.
alleges that Defendant harassed him at work on two separate
occasions. First, he claims that Defendant harassed him on
October 1, 2019 by directing him to clear a full stacker
machine in order to allow mail to continue processing.
Plaintiff claims that he felt uncomfortable because Defendant
"showed no signs of backing away." (Doc. 1-2 at p.
4). Second, Plaintiff asserts that on July 2, 2018, Defendant
struck Plaintiff with his forearm as "Plaintiff was
trying to get around Defendant" at work. (Id.)
seeks a temporary restraining order prohibiting Defendant
from harassing him, contacting him, approaching him, coming
to work at USPS, and damaging any of Plaintiffs belongings.
Defendant contends that the Court does not have subject
matter jurisdiction in this case because Plaintiffs lawsuit
is barred by sovereign immunity. (Doc. 2-1 at p. 1).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a claim is"
'properly dismissed for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction when the court lacks the statutory or
constitutional power to adjudicate' the claim."
In re FEMA Trailer Formaldehyde Prods. Liab. Litig.,
668 F.3d 281, 286 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Home Builders
Ass'n v. City of Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th
Cir. 1998)). To "prevent [ ] a court without
jurisdiction from prematurely dismissing a case with
prejudice," a court should consider a Rule 12(b)(1)
motion for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction before
addressing any motions that concern the merits of a case.
Id. at 286-87 (citing Ramming v. United
States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001)).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) is analyzed under the
same standard as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
Benton v. United States, 960 F.2d 19, 21 (5th Cir.
1992). That standard seeks to determine whether "a
complaint... contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted
as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "[F]acial plausibility"
exists "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). Hence, the complaint need not set out "detailed
factual allegations," but something "more than
labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action" is required.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. "Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level." Id.
Is Sovereign Immunity Applicable?
asserts that Plaintiffs suit is a suit against the United
States and is therefore barred by sovereign immunity. The
United States Government is cloaked with sovereign immunity
from suit unless it expressly waives such immunity.
United States, v. McLemore, 45 U.S. 286, 288 (1846).
Moreover, officers of the United States acting "in
pursuit of their official duties remain protected by
sovereign immunity." Williamson v. United States
Dept. of Agriculture, 815 F.2d 368, 380 (5th Cir. 1987).
Here, Plaintiff brings suit against Defendant in his official
capacity as a U.S. postal worker. This matter relates
directly to Defendant's performance of his duties as
Plaintiffs supervisor at a federal facility. Accordingly,
Plaintiffs claim is subject to sovereign immunity.
Did the United States Waive Sovereign Immunity?
Court must next determine whether the United States has
waived sovereign immunity. The United States Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit has not addressed whether an individual
can bring suit against a USPS worker for injunctive relief.
However, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
Circuit has addressed a set of facts nearly identical to
Plaintiffs case. Hendy v. Bello,555 Fed.Appx. 224,
228 (4th Cir. 2014) (holding that a USPS employee's
petition for a restraining order against her coworker was
barred by sovereign ...