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Hunt v. U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 14, 2019

BENNIE N. HUNT, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Kevin McNulty United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Bennie N. Hunt, Jr., has filed this action against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (the "VA"), as well as VA hospitals and personnel of the VA. The legal basis of the claims is not specified; the plaintiff alleges that in the period 1999-2000, he suffered from an "enlarged heart" and "sexual dysfunctioning," with a suggestion that they were "caused by" the VA. I interpret these allegations as a tort claim of medical malpractice. (See Complaint, DE 1; Motion Suing the VA for Negligence, DE 1-4.)

         The United States has moved to dismiss the complaint on jurisdictional and substantive grounds. (DE 19) Both before and after the United States filed its motion, Mr. Hunt filed a series of letters, which I have reviewed and treated as his response to the motion to dismiss. (DE 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29)

         For the reasons stated herein, however, the motion to dismiss must be granted, because as a matter of law this complaint does not state a claim that this court may hear.

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS & CLAIMS

         The "Statement of Claim" section of the complaint (DE 1) states that in November 1998 the plaintiff "started dealing [with] the V.A. Regional Office in downtown Newark, N.J. and the East Orange New Jersey Veteran's Hospital."

         The "Facts" section of the complaint reads, in its entirety, as follows:

September 1999 to March 2000 V.A. Homeless Program at 51 Lincoln Street Haven-Manor, East Orange, N.J. 07018.
A.R.H.F.C. [A Residential Healthcare Facility]
Started November 1998 to May 2018 and still continuing dealing [illegible] the fVA's systems svstemicallv).
I'm a Lone Wolfe - Loner Hermit Crab Capabilities & Settings Solely & Only (me, myself & I). I am a Bachelor.
The "Injuries" section of the Complaint states the following:
(Enlarge - Heart) inch diameter all around my entire heart Sexual dysfunctioning Medicine Pills Medication Caused by V.A. Homeless Program September 1999 to March 2000

         Plaintiff demands the following relief: "Whatever the U.S. of A. deficit is I still want the same exact."

         My belief that the complaint is intended to assert a tort claim of medical malpractice is confirmed by a prior administrative claim. On February 2, 2009, Mr. Hunt filed an SF-95 administrative tort claim with the VA, which was denied on April 28, 2009. (See DE 19-2) The letter of denial states that the claim was one of negligence against die East Orange VA, arising from events in the period September 1999 to November 2000. (Id.) The letter instructs Mr. Hunt tiiat he could pursue the claim as a tort action against the United States in federal court under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671-80, within six montiis. (Id.) The VA denied plaintiffs reconsideration request by letter dated June 3, 2009, delivered to Mr. Hunt on June 22, 2009. (DE 19-3, 19-4)

         II. JURISDICTION

         The United States first moves to dismiss the complaint, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

         A Rule 12(b)(1) challenge to die court's subject matter jurisdiction may be either a facial or a factual attack. See 2 Moore's Federal Practice g l2.3O[4] (3d ed. 2007); Mortensen v. First ...


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