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Ramsey v. Ramsey

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga

May 23, 2018

CRYSTAL RAMSEY, RANDY BOWEN, Manager office 37406 in official and individual capacity, Unknown Supervisors and inspectors in official and individual capacity, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE



         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Kenneth E. Ramsey, pro se, has filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis [Doc. 1]. Because I conclude his complaint does not state a claim for which relief can be granted, I RECOMMEND this action be DISMISSED and the application to proceed in forma pauperis be DENIED as moot.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the Court has the responsibility to screen all actions filed by plaintiffs including non-prisoners seeking in forma pauperis status and to dismiss any action or portion thereof which is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601, 608 (6th Cir.1997), overruled on other grounds by Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007) and La Fountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944, 951 (6th Cir. 2013); Johns v. Maxey, 2008 WL 4442467 *1 (E.D. Tenn. Sept. 25, 2008) (Greer, J.).

         The standard required by § 1915(e)(2) to properly state a claim for which relief can be granted is the same standard required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Brand v. Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 924 (6th Cir. 2008); accord Thomas v. Eby, 481 F.3d 434, 437 (6th Cir. 2007). In determining whether a party has set forth a claim in his complaint for which relief can be granted, all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam), Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 555 (2007). “Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569-70.) Further, a pro se pleading must be liberally construed and “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Nevertheless, the complaint must be sufficient “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, which simply means the factual content pled by a plaintiff must permit a court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         III. Facts

         Plaintiff alleges that, at some unspecified time, he had a contract for a six month period with the United States Postal Service for the rental of Post Office Box 5097 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at a post office in the zip code area of 37406. Plaintiff's wife, Sandra Ramsey, also received mail at Post Office Box 5097. Defendant Crystal L. Ramsey presented a “conservator letter issued by a local court” to Postal Service manager and Defendant, Randy Bowen. Thereafter, for a period of two to three weeks, Plaintiff was locked out of Post Office Box 5097 “without notice, hearing or availability to correct dispute . . . . [Doc. 1, Complaint at p. 2]. Plaintiff made a complaint to the “Post Office Inspector's office.” Plaintiff does not state whether he made this complaint in writing. The postal inspector called Plaintiff and “den[ied] any mail problem . . . [Id. at 3]. Plaintiff asserts that there should have been an administrative hearing or court hearing to resolve this dispute, and that his mail and his company's mail “should not have been blocked.” The Complaint is silent as to the relief Plaintiff seeks from the Court.

         Plaintiff purports to bring a claim against Defendants, the United States Postal Service, Randy Bowen, and Crystal Ramsey for (1) interference with delivery of mail pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1703, and for (2) tortious interference of contract pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104. Plaintiff also cites at the beginning of his complaint 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b) and 39 CFR 912.9(a).

         IV. Discussion

         1. Claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1703

         Under 18 U.S.C. §1703, a postal employee who unlawfully destroys, detains, or opens mail can be fined or imprisoned not more than five years. 18 U.S.C. § 1703. This is a criminal statute. There is no private civil right of action under 18 U.S.C. § 1703 for tampering with, or withholding mail. Woods v. McGuire, 954 F.2d 388, 391 (6th Cir. 1992). This claim should be dismissed.

         2. Claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2401

         Likewise, 20 U.S.C. § 2401 does not provide a private right of action. Rather, it sets forth the statute of limitations for a tort claim against the United States, providing that a person asserting such a claim has three years within which to file it. 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a). It further provides that any “tort claim” against the United States “shall be forever barred unless it is presented in writing to the appropriate Federal Agency within two years after such claim accrues” or unless an action is begun within six months after notice by that agency of a “final denial” of the claim. 28 U.S.C. § 2401(b); see also 39 U.S.C. § 409(b) (“the provisions of title 28 relating to . . . limitations of time for bringing action in suits in which the United States, its officers, or employees are parties and the rules of procedure adopted under title 28 for [such] suits . . . shall apply in like manner to suits in which the Postal Service, it officers, or employees are parties.”) The Complaint fails to ...

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