Wade v. Trump et al
Judge George A. OToole, Jr: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER(PSSA, 5)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
Civil Action No. 17-10497-GAO
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT and
DONALD J. TRUMP,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
June 22, 2017
For the reasons stated below, plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis will be
allowed and the complaint will be dismissed.
On March 22, 2017, pro se plaintiff Rossi Wade filed a self-prepared complaint against the
United States Government and Donald J. Trump. Plaintiff complains that she has suffered damages
because of President Trump’s candidacy and assumption of Office of the President of the United
States. Plaintiff’s complaint can be divided into two categories: (1) President Trump’s alleged acts
and omissions as President of the United States; (2) President Trump’s alleged derogatory
statements and discriminatory acts before assuming the office of President of the United States.
Plaintiff makes no allegation that President Trump has ever interacted with her. Rather, plaintiff
complains that from June 16, 2015 through March 20, 2017, she has experienced “loss of
enjoyment of life,” has been “tormented by the thought” of President Trump, and “the sight [of
him] and sound of his voice frightens” her. As a result, plaintiff claims that she is under the care
of a physician. Plaintiff alleges that she has been unable to sleep, focus or believe in a secure future
for herself or daughter. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages in an amount of
$1,000,000,000 for claims for negligence, vicarious liability, and strict liability.
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Plaintiff’s Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is Allowed.
Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is ALLOWED. Because plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis, her complaint is subject to screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1915(e). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) a complaint must be dismissed if it is frivolous
or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against
a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Furthermore, this Court
has a duty to examine its jurisdiction and must dismiss an action if it determines that it has no
subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(3). In connection with this preliminary
screening, plaintiff's pro se complaint is construed generously. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9
(1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Plaintiff’s Complaint is Subject to Screening and Dismissed.
Plaintiff’s Claims against President Trump Concerning his Official Acts
The President of the United States enjoys broad, absolute immunity Presidential immunity
from civil suits for damages for his official acts within the outer perimeter of his authority. Nixon
v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731, 757 (1982)(“In view of the special nature of the President's
constitutional office and functions, we think it appropriate to recognize absolute Presidential
immunity from damages liability for acts within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official
responsibility.”); accord Eves v. LePage, 842 F.3d 133, 144 (1st Cir. 2016)(citing Nixon for
proposition of “affording absolute immunity to former U.S. President” concerning civil actions).
Accordingly, plaintiff’s claims concerning President Trump’s alleged acts or omissions in his
capacity as President of the United States are dismissed.
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Plaintiff’s Remaining Claims against Trump and the United States.
Plaintiff’s remaining claims against President Trump fail. To succeed on a claim for
negligence, plaintiff must allege a duty, a breach of that duty, causation and damages. Coons v.
A.F. Chapman Corp., 460 F. Supp. 2d 209, 218 (D. Mass. 2006). “Absent a duty of care, there can
be no liability for negligence.” Id. To the extent that plaintiff brings a claim for President Trump’s
conduct prior to his presidency, she has failed to allege a duty owed to her by President Trump.
Furthermore, as to a claim based upon “strict liability” plaintiff has failed to allege any factual or
legal basis that would support a claim for strict liability. See Thomalen v. Marriott Corp., 880
F.Supp. 74 (D. Mass. 1995)(explaining narrow bounds of strict liability for ultra-hazardous
activities). Finally, based upon the factual allegations in the complaint, it is unclear how “vicarious
liability” would be applicable at all. Even under a generous reading, the complaint fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
Plaintiff’s claims against the United States fail as well. “‘The United States, as sovereign,
is immune from suit save as it consents to be sued..., and the terms of its consent to be sued in any
court define that court's jurisdiction to entertain the suit.’” United States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535,
538 (1980)(quoting United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586 (1941)). The Federal Tort
Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §1346, §2675(a), is a discrete waiver of sovereign immunity. “There is no
strict liability under the FTCA”, Fisher v. United States, 705 F. Supp. 2d 57, 70 (D. Mass. 2010).
“The FTCA requires presentment of the claim to the administrative agency prior to filing a lawsuit
in order to give the agency sufficient notice to commence an investigation, place a value on the
claim, and to permit settlement of meritorious claims more quickly and without litigation.’”
Xinrong Zhuang v. Bush, No. CIV.A. 12-12220-RGS, 2013 WL 1788482, at *1 (D. Mass. Apr.
25, 2013)(citing Barrett ex rel. Estate of Barrett v. U.S., 462 F.3d 28, 41 (1st Cir.2006)(quotations
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omitted)). Plaintiff has made no allegation of presenting her claim to the United States.
Accordingly, this Court has no subject matter jurisdiction to address plaintiff’s claims against the
United States. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2675(a). The claims against the United States are therefore dismissed.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated herein:
Plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis is hereby ALLOWED.
Plaintiff’s civil action is hereby DISMISSSED.
___/s/ George A. O’Toole, Jr.
George A. O’Toole, Jr.
United States District Judge
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