EVANS v. UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE
MEMORANDUM OPINION re: 5 Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Amit P. Mehta on 03/02/2017. (lcapm2)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Carrie Lou Evans,
United States Patent and Trademark
Civil No. 1:16-cv-01932 (APM)
Plaintiff Carrie Lou Evans claims that she was improperly terminated from her position
with Defendant United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO” or “Defendant”). See Not.
of Removal, ECF 1, Ex. 1, ECF 1-1 [hereinafter Compl.], at 2. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se,
specifically alleges that other USPTO employees falsified documents to effectuate her termination .
Her Complaint does not, however, specify any particular cause of action arising from the alleged
Id. at 2–3. In response to Plaintiff’s Complaint, Defendant filed a Motion
to Dismiss. See Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF. No. 5 [hereinafter Def.’s Mot.]. Defendant argues
that the court must dismiss the Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction or, alternatively,
for Plaintiff’s failure to state a claim for relief. As the court finds that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this matter, it need not address the sufficiency of Plaintiff’s Complaint.
The court liberally construes Plaintiff’s Complaint to assert a claim of wrongful
termination from federal employment.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Defendant does the same and argues that Plaintiff’s claim necessarily arises under the Civil Service
Reform Act of 1978 (“CSRA”), 5 U.S.C. § 7512.
Def.’s Mot. at 4–6. The CSRA provides
federal employees “remedies for any ‘prohibited personnel practice.’” Weaver v. USIA, 87 F.3d
1429, 1432 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (quoting 5 U.S.C. § 2302). Under the CSRA, a federal employee
seeking review of an agency personnel action must, as a jurisdictional prerequisite to suit, exhaust
all available administrative remedies prior to seeking judicial review. Id. at 1433. (stating that
“[u]nder the CSRA, exhaustion of administrative remedies is a prerequisite to suit”).
argues that Plaintiff failed to satisfy the exhaustion requirement because she did not first challenge
her termination in front of the Merit Systems Protection Board, as required by statute. Def.’s Mot.
at 5 (citing 5 U.S.C. §§ 7512(1), 7513(d)). The court agrees. Defendant represents that it is
unaware of any effort to exhaust by Plaintiff, id. at 6, and Plaintiff offers no evidence to support
any other conclusion, see generally Compl.; Pl.’s Opp’n to Def.’s Mot., ECF No. 7. Thus, the
court finds that Plaintiff failed to satisfy the exhaustion requirement of the CSRA and, as a result,
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s wrongful termination claim.
The court further construes Plaintiff’s Complaint to assert tort claims.
But even that
liberal construction results in dismissal for failure to exhaust remedies. Any tort claim arises
under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1).
Def.’s Mot. at 6–7. The
FTCA operates as a limited waiver of sovereign immunity, rendering the United States amenable
to suit for certain, but not all, tort claims. See Richards v. United States, 369 U.S. 1, 6 (1962).
Like the CSRA, “[t]he FTCA bars claimants from bringing suit in federal court until they have
exhausted their administrative remedies.” McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a). Again, Plaintiff has failed to offer any indication that she in fact
pursued administrative remedies—let alone exhausted them.
Thus, the court also lacks
jurisdiction over any tort claim alleged by Plaintiff under the FTCA. See Ali v. Rumsfeld, 649
F.3d 762, 775 (D.C. Cir. 2011) (recognizing that, under the FTCA, the failure to exhaust
administrative remedies is “jurisdictional”).
Accordingly, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is granted. The Complaint and this matter
shall be dismissed in their entirety.
A separate final order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.
Amit P. Mehta
United States District Judge
Date: March 2, 2017
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