United States District Court, D. Maryland
THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Azuredee Chambers, who is self-represented, has filed this
action against Angel Reid, a federal government employee,
seeking an order restraining Reid from threatening her,
contacting her, or harassing her. Pending before the Court is
the Government's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Subject
Matter Jurisdiction. Having reviewed the submitted materials,
the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D.
Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion shall be granted in part and denied in part.
and Reid are employees of the United States Postal Service
("USPS") and work at the United States Post Office
in Germantown, Maryland. At the time of the relevant events,
Reid was Chambers supervisor. Although Chambers has since
been reassigned and no longer reports to Reid, they continue
to work in the same building.
and Reid have a had a contentious relationship since at least
December 2017, when Chambers alleges that Reid began
threatening her with violence and termination. In April 2018,
Chambers filed an equal employment opportunity
("EEO") complaint alleging that Reid discriminated
against her based on race and gender and retaliated against
her. Most recently, Chambers alleges that on January 7, 2019,
while at work at the Post Office in Germantown, Reid walked
past her and said, "I'm still going to fuck you
up." Pet'n 5, ECF No. 1-1.
that encounter, on January 8, 2019, Chambers filed a Petition
for Peace Order in the District Court of Maryland for
Montgomery County ("the Montgomery County Court").
The Petition asks that Reid be ordered not to commit or
threaten to commit any acts of physical violence against
Chambers and not to contact, attempt to contact, or harass
Chambers. On January 8, 2019, the Montgomery County Court
entered an ex parte temporary peace order barring
Reid from: (1) committing or threatening to commit certain
acts of violence against Chambers; (2) contacting Chambers by
any means; (3) entering Chambers residence; or (4) entering
the vicinity of Chambers place of work, which is listed as
"Puma Clarksburg Premium Outlets" in Boyds,
Maryland. Temp. Peace Order 1, ECF NO.1-.. A final peace
order hearing was set for January 15, 2019.
January 14, 2019, the United States of America ("the
Government"), acting on Reid's behalf, removed the
Petition to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1442(a). See, e.g., Hendy v.
Bello, 555 Fed.Appx. 224, 225-26 (4th Cir. 2014)
(upholding the removal of a petition for a peace order by a
postal worker against her supervisor arising from a workplace
fracas). The Government attended the final peace order
hearing on January 15, 2019 and submitted its Notice of
Removal to advise the Montgomery County Court that the matter
had been removed to this Court. The Montgomery County Court
accepted the Notice of Removal for filing and stated that it
would stay the state court action, but it then issued a
second temporary peace order extending the first peace order
for another week and setting a final peace order hearing for
January 23, 209.. On January 23, 2019, the second temporary
order expired and the petition was dismissed because the case
had been removed to this Court.
Government, on behalf of the USPS and Reid, is seeking
dismissal of Reid's Petition pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). The Government contends that this
Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the
action because sovereign immunity has not been waived. The
Government also seeks an order vacating the now-dismissed
second temporary peace order because it was entered on
January 15, 2019, after the matter had been removed to this
the plaintiffs burden to show that subject matter
jurisdiction exists. Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., Div. of
Standex Int'l Corp., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir.
1999). Rule 12(b)(1) allows a defendant to move for dismissal
when it believes that the plaintiff has failed to make that
showing. When a defendant asserts that the plaintiff has
failed to allege facts sufficient to establish subject matter
jurisdiction, the allegations in the complaint are assumed to
be true under the same standard as in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion,
and "the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges
sufficient facts to invoke subject matter
jurisdiction"" Kerns v. United States, 585
F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009). When a defendant asserts that
facts outside of the complaint deprive the court of
jurisdiction, the Court "may consider evidence outside
the pleadings without converting the proceeding to one for
summary judgment." Velasco v. Gov
't of Indonesia, 370 F.3d 392, 398
(4th Cir. 2004); Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192. The court
should grant a Rule 12(b)(1) motion based on a factual
challenge to subject matter jurisdiction "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 (quoting Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac R. Co. v. United States,
945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991)).
Government argues that the case must be dismissed on
sovereign immunity grounds because in seeking an order that
would require that Reid have no contact with her in response
to Reid's conduct in a federal workplace, Chambers is
attempting to use the state court system to regulate a
federal workplace. "Absent a waiver, sovereign immunity
shields the Federal Government and its agencies from
suit." FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994);
accord Hendy, 555 Fed.Appx. at 226 (citing
United States v. McLemore, 45 U.S. 286, 288 (1846)).
Moreover, "officers acting within their authority
generally ... receive sovereign
immunity" because an action against a government
official for using the authority of a government office is
actually a "suit against the official's
office." Id. (quoting Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989)).
Here, Chambers has not established that this action should be
treated as one against Reid as an individual as opposed to
one against the United States. Indeed, Chambers has not
provided any allegations regarding misconduct outside the
workplace or outside the supervisor-employee relationship.
The Court therefore construes this suit as against the United
suit against the United States, Chambers's Petition must
be dismissed unless she can show that there has been an
express waiver of sovereign immunity. Chambers has failed to
show that any such waiver exists. For example, the Federal
Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. 99 1346,
2671-80 (2012), waives immunity for suits seeking monetary
damages, but does not waive immunity for injunctive relief
such as restraining orders. 28 U.S.C. 9 1346(b)(1);
Hendy, 555 Fed.Appx. at 226. Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 9 2000e-16 (2012), waives
sovereign immunity for employment discrimination "suits
brought by federal employees against the United States,"
but only for actions that are filed in federal court after
having been ...