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Cedric Lightfoot v. United States

May 7, 2009

CEDRIC LIGHTFOOT, APPELLANT
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania District Court No. 2-08-cv-00170 District Judge: The Honorable Jan E. Dubois.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: STEARNS,District Judge.

PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit L.A.R. 34.1(a) April 14, 2009

Before: McKEE, SMITH, Circuit Judges and STEARNS, District Judge*fn1

OPINION

This appeal arises out of the District Court's dismissal of Cedric Lightfoot's Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claim against the United States Postal Service (USPS) for failure to file his claim within the applicable statute of limitations. For the reasons stated, we will affirm the judgment of the District Court.

I.

Lightfoot was driving northbound on Broad Street in Philadelphia on October 6, 2004, when he claims to have been sideswiped by a postal van driven by USPS employee Darrell E. Moore.*fn2 Lightfoot alleges that the accident was caused by Moore's inattentiveness as he attempted a lane change. The contact caused Lightfoot to "violently" collide with a parked vehicle. Lightfoot alleges that he sustained serious personal injuries as well as damage to his car.

On September 19, 2006, Lightfoot submitted an administrative claim to the USPS. Edward Weiss, Lightfoot's attorney, sent the claim by certified mail. Lightfoot demanded $3,790.74 in compensation for property damage and $75,000 for his personal injuries. The USPS denied Lightfoot's claim on or about November 8, 2006. The letter of denial notified Lightfoot that he had six months to file a civil action in the District Court or, alternatively, that he could request reconsideration by the USPS within six months of the date of the denial.

Lightfoot alleges that he sought reconsideration three weeks prior to the deadline by mailing a first class letter to the USPS on April 16, 2007. Lightfoot claims that the letter was sent by his attorneys to Richard Teszner, the Tort Claims Coordinator for the USPS. However, the USPS has no record of having received the letter.*fn3 Lightfoot filed the instant complaint in the District Court on January 4, 2008.

The USPS moved to dismiss Lightfoot's complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The District Court granted the motion, holding that the FTCA requires proof of receipt of a request for reconsideration. For the reasons stated, we will affirm the judgment of the District Court.

II.

This Court has jurisdiction to review the District Court's order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 1291. "The standard of review for subject matter jurisdiction is plenary." Sikirica v. ...


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