Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Does v. Haaland

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington

November 5, 2019

JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 10 PLAINTIFFS
v.
DEBORAH HAALAND, ET AL. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM O. BERTELSMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on various motions to dismiss (Docs. 10, 26, 38, 39, 47, 50, 65), a motion to remand by plaintiffs (Doc. 34), and a motion for admission pro hac vice (Doc. 62). The Court has reviewed these motions and concludes that oral argument is unnecessary.

         Analysis

         A. Removal

         The Court first notes that this matter was properly removed by defendant Elizabeth Warren pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1), which provides, in part, that any officer or agency of the United States may remove an action from state court when sued “for or relating to any act under color of such office.” This statute is construed broadly and, where its requirements are satisfied, the right to removal is absolute. Willingham v. Morgan, 395 U.S. 402, 405 (1969).

         As a member of Congress, Warren is an “officer of the United States.” See Hill Parents Ass'n v. Giamo, 287 F.Supp. 98, 99 (D. Conn. 1968).

         Second, in order to satisfy the “under color of such office” requirement, Warren need only demonstrate a “causal connection” between her official position and the claim against her. Willinghan, 395 U.S. at 409. Here, it is abundantly clear that Warren's statement posted via her official Twitter account on a matter of national interest - an incident on the National Mall with perceived political ramifications - was meant to communicate her position on the event as an elected representative. See, e.g., Giamo, 287 F.Supp. At 100 (removal proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1442 as defendant Congressman was acting under color of office when making allegedly libelous statement to media).

         Finally, Warren has asserted a colorable federal defense of sovereign immunity, as next discussed.

         Therefore, removal was proper, and plaintiffs' motion to remand on this basis is not well taken.

         B. Sovereign Immunity

         Both Warren and defendant Deborah Haaland, who is a United States Representative from New Mexico, raise the defense of sovereign immunity to plaintiffs' claims against them.

         It is axiomatic that the United States may not be sued without its consent and that the existence of consent is a prerequisite for jurisdiction. U.S. v. Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). Sovereign immunity “extends to agencies of the United States” or “federal officers [acting] in their official capacities.” Whittle v. United States, 7 F.3d 1259, 1262 (6th Cir. 1993).

         On the other side of the sovereign immunity coin is the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The FTCA functions as a limited waiver to sovereign immunity. F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994). In fact, if acting “within the scope of employment, ” the FTCA is the exclusive remedy for claims against employees of the United States. 28 U.S.C. § 2679(b)(1).

         If the FTCA applies, then the plaintiff must first exhaust administrative remedies before proceeding against the defendant. 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a). The plaintiff must first present their claim to the “appropriate federal agency”; the plaintiff ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.