United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Monica Hickmon initiated this action in the District Court of
Maryland for Prince George's County alleging fraud,
defamation, and employment discrimination claims against
Rosie Taylor who was acting within the scope of her
employment with the United States Postal Service at the time
of the alleged incidents. ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-4, 3-1, 9-1. The
United States of America removed the action to this Court,
ECF No. 1, and filed a Motion to Substitute, removing Ms.
Taylor and adding the United States as the proper defendant,
ECF No. 3. Pending before the Court is the United States'
Motion to Dismiss. No. hearing is necessary. See
Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted.
alleges that Ms. Taylor “committed contract fraud, wage
fraud, defamation of character and discrimination based on
[Plaintiff's] disability” while Ms. Taylor was
acting within the scope of her employment with the United
States Postal Service. ECF No. 1-4. She claims that Ms.
Taylor “continuously and intentionally misused and
withheld material information that was vital to several
contract disputes from September 2016 to
present.” Id. And that Ms.
“intentionally continued to deny [her] wages and
benefits that are legally and rightfully owed to [her] from
September 2016 to present, ” including by
“deleting information from the system.” ECF No.
9-1. In support of her “discrimination” claim,
Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Taylor “took a job”
from her because Ms. Taylor believed Plaintiff
“wasn't qualified for it” even though
Plaintiff had previously been detailed to that position and
was performing it until September 2016. Id.
Plaintiff also asserts that Ms. Taylor “intentionally
misclassified” her in the work system. Id.
Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Ms. Taylor made “untrue
statements to employees, ” “spoke
negatively” about her to others, called the police to
report Plaintiff, and had Plaintiff placed on
“emergency suspension without documentation.”
Id. Plaintiff alleges that she exhausted her
“internal administrative options but to no
avail.” ECF No. 9-1. Plaintiff asserts that she is owed
$30, 000 in damages. ECF No. 1-4.
STANDARDS OF REVIEW
United States moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack
of subject-matter jurisdiction and Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.
is well established that before a federal court can 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 Fed.Appx. 960
(4th Cir. 2004). Once a challenge is made to subject matter
jurisdiction, the plaintiff bears 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). 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).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a Complaint shall contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” and “each
allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Further, to state a
claim that survives a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint,
relying on only well-pled factual allegations, must state at
least a “plausible claim for relief.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). The
“mere recital of elements of a cause of action,
supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to
survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).”
Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir.
2012). The Court need not accept unsupported legal
allegations, Revene v. Charles Cnty. Comm'rs,
882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), nor must it agree with
legal conclusions couched as factual allegations,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, or conclusory factual
allegations devoid of any reference to actual events,
United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844,
847 (4th Cir. 1979); see also Francis v. Giacomelli,
588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009). “[U]nadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” or
“naked assertions devoid of further factual
enhancement” do not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. Although the Court must accept well-pleaded factual
allegations in the Complaint as true, the Court is “not
bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation, ” and “[t]hreadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice” and “are
not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id.
se complaints must be construed liberally and must be
“held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, “[p]rinciples requiring
generous construction of pro se complaints are not .
. . without limits.” Beauciett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Courts are
not required to “conjure up questions never squarely
presented to them” nor “construct full blown
claims from sentence fragments.” Id.
discussed in more detail below, Plaintiff has failed to
establish that this Court has subject-matter jurisdiction
over her tort claims because she has not alleged facts
showing she exhausted her administrative remedies pursuant to
the Federal Tort Claims Act. Additionally, Plaintiff has
failed to sufficiently plead an employment discrimination
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) provides the “exclusive
remedy for all tort suits against the government and its
employees who commit tortious acts in the course of their
employment.” Ross v. Fed. Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco & Firearms, 807 F.Supp.2d 362, 369 (D. Md.
2011) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 2679(b)(1)). Federal courts
have subject-matter jurisdiction over FTCA claims “for
injury or loss of property . . . 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.” 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1). Because
Plaintiff alleges claims based upon the alleged negligence or