United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
KENNETH E. RAMSEY
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
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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.
Standard of Review
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.).
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).
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.
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).
Claim pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1703
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.
Claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2401
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 ...