United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
.J. Hazel United States District Judge.
Vincent Jones and Demetria Weir bring this pro se
action against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development ("HUD") for a dispute relating to
inoperable air conditioning ("A/C") units and water
damage in a home sold to Mr. Jones. Now pending before the
Court is the United States* Motion to Dismiss or in the
Alternative for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 8. No hearing is
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the following
reasons. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted.
Jones purchased a single-family dwelling located at 4635
Bridgemount Place. La Plata. MD 20646 on July 2.
with Demetria Weir acting as his broker. ECF No. 8-3 at
1. The HUD Property Condition Report stated
that the A/C units on the property were inoperable. ECF No. 2
at 2; ECF No. 8-2 at 28. Between the sales date and date of
closing, the A/C units were stolen from the property. ECF No.
2 at 2. HUD initially declined to provide a credit to
Plaintiffs, but eventually offered a $1.000.00 credit.
Id. The cost to replace the units was $4, 900.00.
HUD's property management company informed Plaintiffs
that HUD would not replace the units because the units, which
were 8 years old or newer, were "inoperable when
weeks after the "A/C issue, " Plaintiffs also
discovered "severe ceiling water leaks"" on
the property when the water was tested. Id. The
Property Inspection Report, which had been provided
previously, slated there were "no water leaks in the
property." Id. The water leak repairs and
damages cost $5, 300.00. Id. HUD provided Plaintiffs
a $3, 500.00 credit. Id. Therefore, between
replacing the A/C units and repairing the water damage.
Plaintiffs allegedly incurred a total of $4, 900.00 after
subtracting credits received from HUD.
January 12. 2016, Plaintiffs filed the instant Pro
se Complaint in the District Court of Maryland for
Charles County, seeking damages for the home repairs and
inaccurate representations in the Property Inspection Report.
ECF No. 2. Defendant removed the action to this Court on
March 11. 2016. ECF No. 1. Defendant filed a Motion to
Dismiss or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment on April
15, 2016. ECF No. 8. Plaintiffs filed a Response on July 1.
2016. ECF No. 11. Defendant filed its Reply on July 8. 2016.
ECF No. 12.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
is well established that before a federal court ean decide
the merits of a claim, the claim must invoke the jurisdiction
of the court." Miller v. Brown. 462 F.3d 312,
316 (4th Cir. 2006). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)
governs motions to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. See Khoury v. Meserve, 268 F.Supp.2d
600. 606 (D. Md. 2003), aff'd, 85 F. App"x
960 (4th Cir. 2004). Once a challenge is made to subject
matter jurisdiction. Plaintiffs bear the burden of proving
that subject matter jurisdiction exists. See Evans v.
B.F. Perkins Co., a Div. of Standex Int'l Corp., 166
F.3d 642. 647 (4th Cir. 1999); see also
Ferdinand-Davenport v. Children's Guild. 742
F.Supp.2d 772. 777 (D. Md. 2010).
Court should grant a Rule 12(b)(1) motion "only if the
material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the
moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law."
Evans. 166 F.3d at 647. In ruling on a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court "should regard
the pleadings as mere evidence on the issue, and may consider
evidence outside the pleadings without converting the
proceeding to one for summary judgment."
Ferdinand-Davenport. 742 F.Supp.2d at 777 (quoting
Evans. 166 F.3d at 647); see also Richmond.
Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States.
945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991).
Complaint does not specify a legal cause of action. However,
the Court must construe pleadings of pro se
litigants liberally. See Mow v. United States. No.
CIV. A. ELH-12-1857, 2013 WL 762971. at *3 (D. Md. Feb. 26.
2013) (citing Eriekson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89. 94
(2007)). Thus. Plaintiffs' claims shall be construed as
claims arising under the Federal Tort Claims Act
("FTCA"). 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346. 2401, and
2671-2680. See id: Milton v. U.S. Dep 7 of
Rous. & Urban Dev.. No. CIV 09-2226JNE/FLN, 2010
WL 1486498. at *2 (D. Minn. Mar. 19.2010) (construing
negligent home inspection claim against HUD as claim under
FTCA requires that a claimant first exhaust administrative
remedies with the appropriate federal agency before pursuing
a claim in federal court. Section 2675 of the FTCA provides,
in relevant part:
An action shall not be instituted upon a claim against the
United States for money damages for injury or loss of
property or personal injury or death caused by the negligent
or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government
while acting within the scope of his office or employment,
unless the claimant shall have first presented the claim to
the appropriate Federal agency and his claim ...