United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
Honorable Richard A. Jones United States District Judge.
matter comes before the Court upon Motions to Dismiss by
Defendants Sohi Hemit, Soon Kim, U.S. Post Office, Inspector
General's Office, and Consumer Affairs (Dkt. # 58) and
Defendant Vincent Sablan and Alan Hancock (Dkt. # 66). For
the reasons set forth below, the Court
GRANTS Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.
Plaintiff's “Motion to Expedite re Motions to
Dismiss” (Dkt. # 75) is hereby DENIED AS
lawsuit arises from Plaintiff's encounters with his mail
carrier. Plaintiff claims that he complained to the U.S. Post
Office in July 2015 about the bad attitude of “Sohi
Hemit, ” Plaintiff's mail carrier. Dkt. # 1-1
(Complaint) at 1. Plaintiff avers that Hemit began throwing
trash in Plaintiff's mailbox in retaliation for this
complaint. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he appealed to
Soon Kim, the Post Master General, as well as to Kim's
superiors, who responded but refused to come to
Plaintiff's apartment to examine the “trash”
that was placed in Mr. Rodriguez's mailbox. Id.
at 2. Plaintiff claims that he experienced further
retaliation for his insistence on an investigation into the
initial complaint. Id. For example, Plaintiff states
that Hemit tampered with his mail on one occasion and, on
another occasion, stole $60.00 by slicing open three letters
meant for Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff claims that the
harassment has not stopped. Id.
25, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit against Hemit, Kim, and a slew
of unknown defendants. Dkt. # 1. Plaintiff alleged that these
actions or failures to act constituted violations under the
Constitution and various criminal codes. Dkt. # 5. Plaintiff
requested that this Court order the Postal Service to change
certain procedures regarding complaints, including requiring
investigators to “no longer minimize complaints”
and to go “to grievants' places of residents,
” and to order that criminal charges be brought against
“all Defendants.” Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff
also demanded $70, 000 in nominal and punitive damages from
each Defendant, costs and attorney's fees. Id.
filed an amended complaint on December 14, 2017. Dkt. # 41.
The allegations are largely the same as the first complaint,
but Plaintiff named five additional defendants: Vincent
Sablan, Alan Hancock, the U.S. Post Office, the Inspector
General's Office, and Consumer Affairs. Id. at
1. Plaintiff alleged that he complained to both Mr. Sablan
and Mr. Hancock about his mail service, but both
“denied” his appeals and refused to come to his
apartment. Id. at 2. Mr. Rodriguez also alleged that
he spoke of his complaints with other employees at the
“Inspector General and  Consumer Affairs, ”
although it is unclear what action Plaintiff alleges they
took. Id. at 3.
February 16, 2018, Sohi Hemit, Soon Kim, U.S. Post Office,
Inspector General's Office, and Consumer Affairs moved to
dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 (b)(1) & 12(b)(6).
Dkt. # 58. In response, Plaintiff filed a “Rejoinder,
” and Defendants filed a Reply. Dkt. ## 59,
On April 3, 2018, Defendants Vincent Sablan and Alan Hancock
filed their own Motion to Dismiss on the same grounds as the
other Defendants. Dkt. # 66. Plaintiff filed a
“Rejoinder” in response, and Defendants filed a
Reply. Dkt. ## 69, 71.
Defendants have all moved to dismiss this case for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1);
12(b)(6). Plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the
Court has subject matter jurisdiction. See, e.g., Stock
West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221, 1225
(9th Cir.1989). In evaluating a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court
must liberally construe the complaint in favor of the
plaintiff and take its factual allegations as true. See,
e.g., Oscar v. Univ. Students Co-Operative Ass'n,
965 F.2d 783, 785 (9th Cir.1992). The Supreme Court has
explained that “when allegations in a complaint,
however true, could not raise a claim of entitlement to
relief, this basic deficiency should be exposed at the point
of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and
the court.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007) (internal citation and quotation
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court must
construe his pleading liberally, and the pleading,
“however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers[.]” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007) (citation omitted). Nonetheless, pro se
litigants are still “bound by the rules of
procedure.” Ghazali v. Moran, 46 F.3d 52, 54
(9th Cir. 1995).
The Court Lacks Jurisdiction Over Plaintiff's
enacting the Postal Accountability and Enforcement Act of
2006 (“PAEA”), Congress gave jurisdiction to the
Postal Regulatory Commission (“PRC”) to hear
complaints regarding postal rates and services. The PAEA
provides a detailed procedure by which an interested party
may lodge a complaint with the PRC. 39 U.S.C. § 3662.
After those procedures have been followed, the party may file
a petition for review with the United States Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia. 39 U.S.C. § 3663. The PAEA
provides that district courts have jurisdiction to enforce,
and to enjoin and restrain the U.S. Postal Service from
violating, any order issued by the PRC. 39 U.S.C. §
3664. Read together, these provisions demonstrate that this
Court lacks jurisdiction to consider service-related
complaints in the first instance. McDermott v.
Potter, No. C09-0776RSL, 2009 WL 2971585, at *3 (W.D.
Wash. Sept. 11, 2009), aff'd sub nom. McDermott v.
Donahue, 408 Fed.Appx. 51 (9th Cir. 2011); see also
LeMay v. United States Postal Serv., 450 F.3d 797, 801
(8th Cir. 2006) (finding that the PRC has exclusive
jurisdiction over complaints about unsatisfactory service).
claims are based on his allegations that Defendants
improperly delivered his mail by placing “trash”
in his mailbox, took money out of his mail, and failed to
investigate his complaints. Dkt. ## 5, 41. These are
service-related complaints, therefore this Court does not
have jurisdiction over them. Assuming his allegations are
valid, Plaintiff must pursue his complaint directly with the
Postal Service through the Postal Regulatory Commission. 39
U.S.C. § 3662(a). If he was dissatisfied with the
resolution provided by the PRC, he could have sought relief
from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia within thirty days of a final decision from the PRC.
39 U.S.C. § 3663. Plaintiff, pursuant to Section
3662(a), was required to file his claim with the PRC, not
this Court. By all accounts, Plaintiff failed to pursue this
remedy before bringing an action before this Court.
Plaintiff has not exhausted his administrative remedies by
pursuing a complaint with the PRC. For this reason alone,
this Court lacks subject matter ...