United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. O'Toole, Jr. United States District Judge
reasons stated below, plaintiff's motion to proceed
in forma pauperis will be allowed and the complaint
will be dismissed.
March 22, 2017, pro se plaintiff Rossi Wade filed a
self-prepared complaint against the United States Government
and Donald J. Trump. Plaintiff complains that she has
suffered damages because of President Trump's candidacy
and assumption of Office of the President of the United
States. Plaintiff's complaint can be divided into two
categories: (1) President Trump's alleged acts and
omissions as President of the United States; (2) President
Trump's alleged derogatory statements and discriminatory
acts before assuming the office of President of the United
States. Plaintiff makes no allegation that President Trump
has ever interacted with her. Rather, plaintiff complains
that from June 16, 2015 through March 20, 2017, she has
experienced “loss of enjoyment of life, ” has
been “tormented by the thought” of President
Trump, and “the sight [of him] and sound of his voice
frightens” her. As a result, plaintiff claims that she
is under the care of a physician. Plaintiff alleges that she
has been unable to sleep, focus or believe in a secure future
for herself or daughter. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and
punitive damages in an amount of $1, 000, 000, 000 for claims
for negligence, vicarious liability, and strict liability.
Plaintiff's Motion to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is
motion to proceed in forma pauperis is
ALLOWED. Because plaintiff is proceeding in
forma pauperis, her complaint is subject to screening
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B) a complaint must be dismissed if it is
frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which
relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a
defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Furthermore, this Court has a duty to examine
its jurisdiction and must dismiss an action if it determines
that it has no subject matter jurisdiction. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). In connection with this preliminary
screening, plaintiff's pro se complaint is
construed generously. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9
(1980); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Plaintiff's Complaint is Subject to Screening and
Plaintiff's Claims against President Trump Concerning
his Official Acts
President of the United States enjoys broad, absolute
immunity Presidential immunity from civil suits for damages
for his official acts within the outer perimeter of his
authority. Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 731, 757
(1982)(“In view of the special nature of the
President's constitutional office and functions, we think
it appropriate to recognize absolute Presidential immunity
from damages liability for acts within the ‘outer
perimeter' of his official responsibility.”);
accord Eves v. LePage, 842 F.3d 133, 144 (1st Cir.
2016)(citing Nixon for proposition of
“affording absolute immunity to former U.S.
President” concerning civil actions). Accordingly,
plaintiff's claims concerning President Trump's
alleged acts or omissions in his capacity as President of the
United States are dismissed.
Plaintiff's Remaining Claims against Trump and the
remaining claims against President Trump fail. To succeed on
a claim for negligence, plaintiff must allege a duty, a
breach of that duty, causation and damages. Coons v. A.F.
Chapman Corp., 460 F.Supp.2d 209, 218 (D. Mass. 2006).
“Absent a duty of care, there can be no liability for
negligence.” Id. To the extent that plaintiff
brings a claim for President Trump's conduct prior to his
presidency, she has failed to allege a duty owed to her by
President Trump. Furthermore, as to a claim based upon
“strict liability” plaintiff has failed to allege
any factual or legal basis that would support a claim for
strict liability. See Thomalen v. Marriott Corp.,
880 F.Supp. 74 (D. Mass. 1995)(explaining narrow bounds of
strict liability for ultra-hazardous activities). Finally,
based upon the factual allegations in the complaint, it is
unclear how “vicarious liability” would be
applicable at all. Even under a generous reading, the
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
claims against the United States fail as well.
“‘The United States, as sovereign, is immune from
suit save as it consents to be sued..., and the terms of its
consent to be sued in any court define that court's
jurisdiction to entertain the suit.'” United
States v. Mitchell, 445 U.S. 535, 538 (1980)(quoting
United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 586
(1941)). The Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §1346,
§2675(a), is a discrete waiver of sovereign immunity.
“There is no strict liability under the FTCA”,
Fisher v. United States, 705 F.Supp.2d 57, 70 (D.
Mass. 2010). “The FTCA requires presentment of the
claim to the administrative agency prior to filing a lawsuit
in order to give the agency sufficient notice to commence an
investigation, place a value on the claim, and to permit
settlement of meritorious claims more quickly and without
litigation.'” Xinrong Zhuang v. Bush, No.
CIV.A. 12-12220-RGS, 2013 WL 1788482, at *1 (D. Mass. Apr.
25, 2013)(citing Barrett ex rel. Estate of Barrett v.
U.S., 462 F.3d 28, 41 (1st Cir.2006)(quotations
omitted)). Plaintiff has made no allegation of presenting her
claim to the United States. Accordingly, this Court has no
subject matter jurisdiction to address plaintiff's claims
against the United States. 28 U.S.C.A. § 2675(a). The
claims against the United States are therefore dismissed.
Conclusion Accordingly, for the ...