BRAUN v. UNITED STATES POST OFFICE et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 9/27/2017. (lcegs2)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
DAVID S. BRAUN,
) Civ. Action No. 16-2079 (EGS)
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
and OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND
Plaintiff, David Steven Braun, alleges that defendant
United States Postal Service ("USPS") somehow "allowed" his
legal name to be changed in an unspecified "national database."
He claims that this mistake has led to court-ordered electronic
surveillance of his residence, made it impossible for him to
obtain employment, left him without healthcare insurance, caused
him to be labeled a "mental subject" by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation ("FBI"), and had a myriad of other collateral
Pending before the Court are four motions. First, Mr. Braun
moves for mandamus relief directing OMB to process tort claims
submitted to the Social Security Administration in 2014. Second,
the Office of Management and Budget ("OMB") moves to dismiss the
entire complaint for lack of jurisdiction and for failure to
state a claim. Third, USPS moves to dismiss Mr. Braun's
allegations to the extent that they do not relate to his
requests under the Privacy Act of 1974 ("Privacy Act"), 5 U.S.C.
§ 552a. And fourth, Mr. Braun requests that the Court take
"corrective action" and change the name that appears on a Post
Office ("P.O.") box owned by plaintiff. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court grants defendants' motions and denies Mr.
A. Factual Background
Mr. Braun, appearing pro se, brings this action under the
Privacy Act. See Compl., ECF No. 1 at 1. 1 Mr. Braun alleges that
he has made at least three requests for records from USPS under
the Privacy Act, and that USPS has failed to release all the
information in its possession relating to those requests. See
id. ¶¶ 4-8, ECF No. 1 at 3.
In addition to alleging violations of the Privacy Act, Mr.
Braun's 12-page complaint strings together a litany of
Mr. Braun does not consistently number the paragraphs in
his complaint, nor does his complaint contain page numbers. As
such, for ease of reference, the Court refers to both the
paragraph numbers (where available) and the page numbers
designated by ECF when citing to the complaint. Likewise,
because Mr. Braun does not include page numbers on his motion
papers, the Court refers to the page numbers designated by ECF
when citing to these documents.
accusations that do not appear to relate to any particular cause
of action. See id. ¶¶ 1-30, ECF No. 1 at 4-12. These allegations
are lodged primarily at USPS. Mr. Braun claims that a post
office in Montana has "allowed fictitious tenants" to be listed
as living at Mr. Braun's physical address. Id. ¶ 15, ECF No. 1
at 8. The alleged addition of these names to his records has
purportedly, inter alia, permitted federal judges to "write an
electronic surveillance order," created errors in his medical
records, caused the Social Security Administration to deny his
disability claim, made it impossible for him to obtain
employment, and has caused "major problem's [sic] 2 with [his]
phone and email services." See, e.g., id. ¶¶ 5-9, 14-21, ECF No.
1 at 5-9.
Mr. Braun also attaches over 100 pages of exhibits to his
complaint. See ECF No. 1 at 14-139. 3 Some of these exhibits
contain correspondence between Mr. Braun and the USPS Office of
the Inspector General or Inspection Service. See, e.g., id. at
Mr. Braun's complaint and motion papers are riddled with
significant spelling and grammatical errors. For purposes of
readability, the Court does not include [sic] after each error
when quoting Mr. Braun's complaint or motion papers.
Because Mr. Braun's exhibits are not uniquely or
consecutively numbered – see, e.g., ECF No. 1 at 59-60 (moving
from "Exhibit 8" to "Exhibit 10" with no "Exhibit 9"); id. at 72
(labeled as "Exhibit 14"); id. at 79 (also labeled as "Exhibit
14") – the Court refers to the page numbers designated by ECF
when citing to Mr. Braun's exhibits.
13-18. Other exhibits tangentially relate to the various
allegations in Mr. Braun's complaint concerning the Montana post
office and his belief that the fictitious names added to his
records are responsible for some of the problems he has
experienced. See, e.g., ECF No. 1 at 59 (letter from County
Attorney's Office informing Mr. Braun that he had been charged
with disorderly conduct for his behavior at the post office);
id. at 62-66 (current copy of Mr. Braun's resume); id. at 83
(results from an FBI search of Mr. Braun's fingerprints); id. at
86-97 (results of a background report for "David Steven Braun"
from the PeopleSmart website); id. at 113-125 (FBI complaint
form documenting Mr. Braun's visit to the Bozeman FBI office).
The relief sought by Mr. Braun is not wholly clear. Under a
section titled "Requested Goal off this suite," Mr. Braun
requests "that all records denied in this and previous request's
be reviewed and processed for criminal/negligent behavior." See
id. at 12. He further states that "[t]heir seams to be this
database, record issues, that might also need a court order from
a Federal Judge." Id. Finally, he requests "5,000,000 dollars a
year for life, to compensate [him] for the negligence and
malicious behavior and damaged caused buy the issues brought to
light in this suite." Id.
B. Procedural History
Mr. Braun filed his complaint on October 17, 2016. On
January 10, 2017, Mr. Braun filed a motion requesting mandamus
relief directing the OMB to process the claims he submitted to
the Social Security Administration. See Pl.'s Mot. to Compel,
ECF No. 11. Attached to Mr. Braun's motion are two claims
submitted on Standard Form 95, "Claim for Damage, Injury, or
Death." See ECF No. 11-3 at 8-11. These claims seek compensation
for alleged delays in paying Mr. Braun the lump sum, back-due
benefits due to him after his disability benefits were approved
by the Social Security Administration. Id. at 5-6. OMB filed its
opposition to that motion on January 30, 2017. See OMB's Opp. to
Pl.'s Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 20. Mr. Braun filed his reply one
day later on January 31, 2017. Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to
Compel, ECF No. 21.
On January 30, 2017, defendants filed motions to dismiss
Mr. Braun's complaint. OMB filed a motion to dismiss the entire
complaint as barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity and
for failure to state a claim. See OMB Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.
22. USPS filed a partial motion to dismiss, requesting dismissal
of all of Mr. Braun's allegations except for those related to
the Privacy Act. See USPS's Partial Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 23.
On February 11, 2017 Mr. Braun filed an opposition to USPS's
motion to dismiss. See Pl.'s Opp. to USPS Partial Mot. to
Dismiss, ECF No. 25. USPS filed its reply on February 21, 2017.
See USPS's Reply in Supp. of Partial Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.
27. Mr. Braun did not file any opposition to OMB's motion to
On July 20, 2017, Mr. Braun filed another motion. See Mot.
for the Court to Take Corrective Action ("Pl.'s Mot. to
Correct"), ECF No. 37. In this motion, Mr. Braun asks the Court
to "take what ever corrective action is necessary" to address
the fact that the registration information for one P.O. box he
owns omits his middle initial. See id. Defendants filed their
opposition to Mr. Braun's motion on August 4, 2017. See Defs.'
Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Correct, ECF No. 39. Mr. Braun filed his
reply on August 6, 2017. See Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to
Correct, ECF No. 40.
A. Rule 12(b)(1) – Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
Federal district courts are courts of limited
jurisdiction, Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511
U.S. 375, 377, 114 S.Ct. 1673, 128 L.Ed.2d 391 (1994), and a
Rule 12(b)(1) motion for dismissal presents a threshold
challenge to a court's jurisdiction, Haase v. Sessions, 835 F.2d
902, 906 (D.C. Cir. 1987). To survive a Rule 12(b)(1) motion,
the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court
has jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555,
561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). Indeed, when it
comes to Rule 12(b)(1), it is "presumed that a cause lies
outside [the federal courts'] limited jurisdiction unless the
plaintiff establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that
the Court possesses jurisdiction." Cofield v. United States, 64
F. Supp. 3d 206, 211 (D.D.C. 2014) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted).
Because Rule 12(b)(1) concerns a court's ability to hear a
particular claim, "the court must scrutinize the plaintiff's
allegations more closely when considering a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) than it would under a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)." Schmidt v. U.S. Capitol
Police Bd., 826 F. Supp. 2d 59, 65 (D.D.C. 2011). As such, the
court "need not limit itself to the allegations in the
complaint," but rather, "may consider such materials outside the
pleadings as it deems appropriate to resolve the question
whether it has jurisdiction in the case." Rann v. Chao, 154 F.
Supp. 2d 61, 64 (D.D.C. 2001) (citations and internal quotation
marks omitted). Nor must the court "accept inferences
unsupported by the facts alleged or legal conclusions that are
cast as factual allegations." Id. Still, in evaluating such a
motion, the Court must "accept as true all of the factual
allegations contained in the complaint," Wilson v. District of
Columbia, 269 F.R.D. 8, 11 (D.D.C. 2010) (citation omitted), and
should review the complaint liberally while accepting all
inferences favorable to the plaintiff, see Barr v. Clinton, 370
F.3d 1196, 1199 (D.C. Cir. 2004).
Faced with motions to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule
12(b)(6), a court should first consider the Rule 12(b)(1) motion
because "[o]nce a court determines that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, it can proceed no further." Ctr. for Biological
Diversity v. Jackson, 815 F. Supp. 2d 85, 90 (D.D.C. 2011)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
B. Rule 12(b)(6) – Failure to State a Claim
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint.
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). A
complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give
the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
Despite this liberal pleading standard, to survive a motion
to dismiss, a complaint "must contain 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, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).
A claim is facially plausible when the facts pled in the
complaint allow the court to "draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. The
standard does not amount to a "probability requirement," but it
does require more than a "sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully." Id.
"[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss [pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(6)], a judge must accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint." Atherton v.
D.C. Office of the Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009)
(internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, the court must
give the plaintiff the "benefit of all inferences that can be
derived from the facts alleged." Kowal v. MCI Commc'ns Corp., 16
F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994). A "pro se complaint is
entitled to liberal construction." Washington v. Geren, 675 F.
Supp. 2d 26, 31 (D.D.C. 2009) (citation omitted). Even so,
"[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action,
supported by mere conclusory statements" are not sufficient to
state a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937.
A. The Court Lacks Subject Matter Jurisdiction Over Mr.
Braun's Request for Mandamus Relief.
Mr. Braun requests mandamus relief directing OMB to process
the tort claims submitted pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims
Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C.§ 2671. These claims, which appear to
have been submitted to the Social Security Administration on
Standard Form 95, seek compensation for the government's alleged
delay in awarding Mr. Braun Social Security benefits. See Pl.'s
Mot. to Compel Ex. 3, ECF No. 11-3 at 8-11.
Standard Form 95 is a form developed by the Department of
Justice to facilitate agency processing of FTCA claims. Chung v.
Chao, 518 F. Supp. 2d 270, 272 n.2 (D.D.C. 2007). Although the
FTCA constitutes a limited waiver of sovereign immunity and
makes the federal government liable for certain torts, see Sosa
v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692, 700, 124 S. Ct. 2739, 2747-48,
159 L. Ed. 2d 718 (2004), the Social Security Act creates an
exception to that waiver. Specifically, in relevant part, the
Social Security Act provides:
No findings of fact or decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security shall be reviewed by any person,
tribunal, or governmental agency except as herein
provided. No action against the United States, the
Commissioner of Social Security, or any officer or
employee thereof shall be brought under section 1331
or 1346 of title 28 to recover on any claim arising
under this subchapter.
42 U.S.C. § 405(h). As OMB correctly argues, this provision, on
its face, "bars district court federal-question jurisdiction
over suits" that "seek to recover Social Security benefits."
Weinberger v. Salfi, 422 U.S. 749, 756-57, 95 S. Ct. 2457, 2462,
45 L. Ed. 2d 522 (1975); see also McKenna v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 156 F.3d 1231 (6th Cir. 1998) ("the Social Security Act
precludes any claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act for the
wrongful withholding of benefits").
In his reply, Mr. Braun argues that even if he cannot bring
a motion compelling the OMB to process his FTCA claims for
Social Security benefits, "[t]here are 7 other court cases
listed that could easily Justify the submitted request." Pl.'s
Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Compel, ECF No. 24 at 1. But Mr. Braun
nowhere explains what relief he can obtain with respect to these
other lawsuits from OMB. To the contrary, Mr. Braun admits that
he "would agree that normally this is not something that would
be submitable or dealt with buy the OMB." Id. at 2.
In short, the Court lacks jurisdiction over Mr. Braun's
request that OMB process claims related to any Social Security
benefits he may be owed. Accordingly, Mr. Braun's motion to
compel OMB is denied. See Thorn v. Soc. Sec. Admin., No. CIV.A.
04-1282 (RJL), 2005 WL 1398605, at *4 (D.D.C. June 11, 2005)
(dismissing plaintiff's challenge to the Social Security
Administration's "refusal to make a lump-sum payment to
plaintiff" for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction").
B. The Court Has Jurisdiction Over Mr. Braun's Privacy
Act Claims Because Those Claims Are Not Barred By
Next, both OMB and USPS argue that they are shielded from
liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. OMB Mot. to
Dismiss at 4 ("The Complaint . . . fails to identify a waiver of
sovereign immunity that would permit this action to proceed
against OMB."); USPS Partial Mot. to Dismiss at 5-6 (arguing
that the FTCA's waiver of sovereign immunity does not apply to
claims related "to loss, miscarriage, or negligent transmission
of letters or postal matter").
It is well-settled that, "[a]bsent a waiver, sovereign
immunity shields the Federal Government and its agencies from
suit." FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475, 114 S. Ct. 996, 1000,
127 L. Ed. 2d 308 (1994) (citations omitted). "Sovereign
immunity is jurisdictional in nature," and the "'terms of [the
United States'] consent to be sued in any court define that
court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit.'" Id. (citation
omitted). Accordingly, "waiver of the Federal Government's
sovereign immunity must be unequivocally expressed in statutory
text and will not be implied." Lane v. Pena, 518 U.S. 187, 192,
116 S. Ct. 2092, 2096, 135 L. Ed. 2d 486 (1996) (citations
omitted). Moreover, "a waiver of the Government's sovereign
immunity will be strictly construed, in terms of its scope, in
favor of the sovereign." Id. (citation omitted).
As an initial matter, the Court agrees with USPS that, to
the extent Mr. Braun alleges claims arising from USPS's
purported "negligent transmission of letters" – see Compl., ECF
No. 1 at 1 ("Their has been consistent problems with getting
packages to their destinations in a timely fashion.") – those
claims are barred under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. See
Dolan v. U.S. Postal Serv., 546 U.S. 481, 489, 126 S. Ct. 1252,
1258, 163 L. Ed. 2d 1079 (2006) ("Congress intended to retain
immunity, as a general rule, only for injuries arising, directly
or consequentially, because mail either fails to arrive at all
or arrives late, in damaged condition, or at the wrong
To the extent defendants assert that all of Mr. Braun's
claims are barred by sovereign immunity, the Court rejects that
argument. After all, the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a,
Indeed, Mr. Braun appears to concede as much. See Pl.'s
Opp. to USPS Partial Mot. to Dismiss at 1 ("[T]here is 28 US
Code § 1339, which gives this court Jurisdiction over any Civil
action relating to the Post Office. Now I fully understand that
this is not a waiver off Sovereign Immunity, and any accusation
that would be found to be true in answering this complaint would
either halve to be submitted through the Tortus process, or
through the OMB[.]").
constitutes a limited waiver of sovereign immunity. See FAA v.
Cooper, 566 U.S. 284, 291, 132 S. Ct. 1441, 1448, 182 L. Ed. 2d
497 (2012) (Congress "has consented to be sued for damages under
the Privacy Act" because the statute "expressly authorizes
recovery from the Government for 'actual damages'"). The statute
contains four separate provisions pursuant to which a plaintiff
may bring suit against an agency. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(1). A
review of Mr. Braun's complaint indicates that he intends to
make a claim under § 552a(g)(1)(b), which provides a cause of
action when an agency "refuses to comply with an individual
request under subsection (d)(1) of this section." Mr. Braun also
may intend to make a claim under § 552a(g)(1)(c), which provides
for suit when an agency "fails to maintain any record concerning
any individual with such accuracy . . . as is necessary to
assure fairness in any determination relating to the
qualifications, character, rights, or opportunities of, or
benefits to the individual that may be made on the basis of such
record, and consequently a determination is made which is
adverse to the individual." Given that these provisions
expressly permit suit against federal agencies, Mr. Braun's
claims under the Privacy Act are not barred by defendants'
C. Mr. Braun Fails To State A Claim Against OMB.
Alternatively, OMB argues that it must be dismissed from
this case under Rule 12(b)(6). See generally OMB Mot. to
Dismiss, ECF No. 22. According to OMB, Mr. Braun's complaint
"totally fails the plausibility standard" because the complaint
"totally fails to identify a factual or legal basis upon which
relief can be granted as to OMB." Id. at 4. The Court agrees
that Mr. Braun fails to state plausible claims against OMB.
As the Supreme Court has explained, "[t]o survive a motion
to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949,
173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct.
1955). "A claim has facial plausibility 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. In instances in which the plaintiff
"cannot possibly win relief," a court may, sua sponte, dismiss a
complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). Baker v. Director, United States
Parole Comm'n, 916 F.2d 725, 726 (D.C. Cir. 1990)
Applying these principles here, the Court concludes that
Mr. Braun failed to include sufficient factual allegations
against OMB in his complaint to survive a motion to dismiss. The
only allegations that reference OMB in Mr. Braun's complaint
relate to a supposed "settlement agreement" entered into by "the
US Government or the OMB." Compl., ECF No. 1 at 10. According to
Mr. Braun, this agreement somehow prevents "this and all other
law suits" from being settled. Id. at 9. But even if these
allegations were aimed at stating some cause of action – and the
Court cannot decipher a way in which they might – OMB's
involvement is purely speculative:
22. Is the Government aware off any agreement or
database entry as such that would lead an attorney or
Judge to believe that there is a legal reason why this
case and any other case cannot settle for even 1
23. Can you produce this agreement.
24. Can you prove that I actually signed it, received
any money from it, and that it was executed legally.
25. I don't believe you can answer yes to the above
three questions. Please correct this buy removing the
database entry and voiding any contract, or does this
entry halve benefit, and feel it needs to remain. See
item 25 for background.
26. I freely admit. This agreement did at one point
halve use full side affects. It cause private
companies to not be able to settle. As such, when they
are dragged into court, chambers simple corrects the
problem, and act's like a branch off law enforcement.
As a result of these suits, problems halve been
corrected, but this has denied me any kind of civil
compensation. Unless this is corrected, I would expect
this to ultimately cause my death.
27. I spoke with an attorney who was knowledgeable in
this aria. He stated that the only two entities off
the US Government that he has seen write contractual
terms that would prevent any further Civil Activity is
the CIA for employment agreements and the OMB in
Settlement Agreements. In Exhibits 20 and 21, the OMB
responded to a records request that is has no Executed
Agreements on file for the Plaintiff and Exhibit 28 is
an official denial off any employment agreement or
record off employment with the CIA, which is the
28. Note, in the interest of full disclosure, I halve
included a record request denial from the CIA. Exhibit
29 and 30. These are denial's off records about my
self, generated through request's to the operations
center over the years. Executive order 13526 was
cited. I am not sure how this database entry came to
be, if it a result off these interaction's ok, but
please let all parties be aware, there is no
employment, training or contractual agreement with the
agency that would affect the settlement process off
29. I halve included the OMB as a defendant so that
they halve representation.
30. There is also some kind off do not correspond
entry on my social security number/and or mailing
address. I do not know how this got their. Can you
remove it. I do not believe it was put their legally.
Compl. ¶¶ 22-30, ECF No. 1 at 10-11 (emphases added).
The remainder of Mr. Braun's complaint, however, is silent
as to why OMB might need representation. After all, Mr. Braun's
requests for information under the Privacy Act do not involve
OMB. Nor do Mr. Braun's disjointed allegations regarding his
concerns with the post office in Montana, the fictitious names
of individuals that have been added to his mailing address, or
his belief that the addition of these fictitious names is
somehow responsible for the problems he is having. Indeed, these
allegations do not plausibly state a claim, much less a claim
against OMB. Although Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 "marks a
notable and generous departure from the hypertechnical, codepleading regime of a prior era, . . . it does not unlock the
doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than
conclusions." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950,
173 L. Ed. 2d 868. Accordingly, Mr. Braun's claims against OMB
are dismissed. 5
D. Only Mr. Braun's Privacy Act Claims Against USPS
USPS also moves to dismiss all of the allegations in Mr.
Braun's complaint except those that, "in whole or in part, . . .
relate to claims Plaintiff brings under the Privacy Act." USPS
Partial Mot. to Dismiss at 1, ECF No. 23. According to USPS,
"[e]xcept for the three Privacy Act requests made to USPS, the
allegations of the complaint are either unrelated to USPS or are
implausible on their face." Id. at 2.
Although he has submitted ten filings since OMB's motion to
dismiss was filed on January 30, 2017, Mr. Braun has not filed
an opposition to OMB's motion to dismiss. Although ordinarily,
before deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court would direct
plaintiff to file an opposition brief and explain to him the
risks of failing to do so, see Fox v. Strickland, 837 F.2d 507,
509 (D.C. Cir. 1988), the Court concludes that such notice is
unnecessary here because it is clear that Mr. Braun cannot
possibly win relief. See, e.g., Stankevich v. Kaplan, 156 F.
Supp. 3d 86, 96 (D.D.C. 2016) ("The Court may dismiss a
complaint sua sponte pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6) where it is
'patently obvious' that the plaintiff cannot prevail on the
facts alleged in the complaint.").
In his opposition, Mr. Braun does not meaningfully respond
to any of USPS's arguments. See Pl.'s Opp. to USPS Partial Mot.
to Dismiss, ECF No. 25 at 1-3. Instead, he states that "failure
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted should not
stop the US Attorney from trying to answer the complaint and
independently determine the truth off each individual
accusation." Id. at 1. Mr. Braun further seems to assert that
the Court should require USPS to answer "the rest off the
complaint" so that the court can "consider the whole package" at
some later date. Id. at 2.
The Court finds that, except for Mr. Braun's allegations
relating to the Privacy Act requests, the complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted against USPS.
Indeed, it is unclear what, if any, other claims Mr. Braun even
seeks to bring. For example, although Mr. Braun's complaint
references 5 U.S.C. § 552, the Freedom of Information Act
("FOIA"), Mr. Braun has expressly denied that he seeks relief
under FOIA. See Pl.'s Resp. to Order of Court, ECF No. 19 at 1
("I would just like to re-iterate the goal off this suite. I am
primarily seeking financial compensation for harm that was done
to me. . . . This case is brought under the Privacy Act, not
FOIA[.]"). In any event, even if Mr. Braun were alleging a cause
of action under FOIA, he "cannot state any tort claim for
monetary damages regarding any FOIA request he may have made
because 'no money damages are available under FOIA.'" Cofield v.
United States, 64 F. Supp. 3d 206, 213 (D.D.C. 2014) (citation
omitted). Rather, "[t]he sole remedy available to a requester is
injunctive relief." Id.
Likewise, as stated above, although Mr. Braun has a litany
of complaints that he claims are the result of actions taken by
a post office in Montana, see Compl. ¶¶ 1-21, ECF No. 1 at 4-9,
none of those allegations plausibly state a legal claim. Mr.
Braun's contentions that the post office somehow "allowed" his
legal name to be changed in its "national database," and that
that change resulted in electronic surveillance of Mr. Braun,
made it impossible for him to obtain employment, or caused any
of the other harms alleged in the complaint, are simply
implausible. See, e.g., Smith v. Shimizu, 544 F. Supp. 2d 15, 17
(D.D.C. 2008) (granting motion to dismiss because allegations
that plaintiff was "victim of identity theft and that several
properties in the District of Columbia have been taken from her
and her family" by employees of the Smithsonian Institution and
U.S. Botanical Gardens were "clearly baseless"); cf. Kleiman v.
Dep't of Energy, 956 F.2d 335, 339 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (although
plaintiff's claims were not "wholly insubstantial and frivolous"
for purposes of establishing jurisdiction, they were
insufficient to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion).
For all these reasons, USPS's partial motion to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is granted.
E. Mr. Braun's Motion for Corrective Action is Not Well
Finally, in a separate motion, Mr. Braun also asks the
Court to "take corrective action." See Pl.'s Mot. to Correct,
ECF No. 37. In that motion, Mr. Braun explains that he has three
P.O. boxes at a post office in Montana. Id. at 1. Two of the
boxes are listed under the name "David S. Braun." Id. The third
box is listed under the name "David Braun." Id. Mr. Braun would
like the name associated with the third box changed to "David S.
Braun." Id. He claims that this error on part of the post office
constitutes yet another violation of the Privacy Act and
requests the court to "take what ever corrective action is
necessary." Id. at 1-2.
In their opposition, defendants assert that Mr. Braun's
motion fails because he may only obtain interim relief through a
"motion for a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary
injunction" – and he has filed neither. Defs.' Opp. to Pl.'s
Mot. to Correct, ECF No. 39 at 2. In response, Mr. Braun claims
that he is, indeed, seeking "temporary injunctive assistance."
Pl.'s Reply in Supp. of Mot. to Correct, ECF No. 40 at 1.
Mr. Braun's request for preliminary relief is not well
taken. Even construed broadly, Mr. Braun's motion fails to
establish any of the requisites for granting a preliminary
injunction. See Winter v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, Inc., 555 U.S.
7, 20, 129 S. Ct. 365, 374, 172 L. Ed. 2d 249 (2008) ("A
plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that
he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief,
that the balance of equities tips in his favor, and that an
injunction is in the public interest."). To the contrary, as
defendants point out, it appears that Mr. Braun may obtain
relief by simply "asking the Post Office to change the name on
the third [P.O.] box." Defs.' Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. to Correct at
2; see also Pl.'s Mot. to Correct at 3 (letter to CEO of USPS
explaining that he would "try to correct" the problem and
requesting that she "halve [her] staff try to see if they can
find out how" his name had been changed). Accordingly, Mr.
Braun's motion for corrective action is denied.
For the reasons stated above, defendants' motions to
dismiss are GRANTED, and plaintiff's motions are DENIED.
Plaintiff may proceed against defendant USPS with his claims
under the Privacy Act. An appropriate Order accompanies this
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