United States District Court, D. New Jersey
LORRAINE BLUMBERG, Administratrix of the Estate of Richard Blumberg, and individually, and in her own right, Plaintiff,
WILLIAM J. ROLLE, JR., FRM JR. TRUCKING INC., UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, Defendants.
KENNETH F. FULGINITI SARAH FILIPPI DOOLEY DUFFY PARTNERS On
behalf of Plaintiff.
R. JONES CIPRIANI & WERNER PC, On behalf of Defendant
William J. Rolle, Jr. and FRM Jr. Trucking, Inc.
TUDOR STINSON, JR. OFFICE OF THE U.S. ATTORNEY DISTRICT OF
NEW JERSEY On behalf of Defendant United States Postal
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
matter concerns claims by Plaintiff arising out of a
collision involving a car occupied by Plaintiff and her
husband and a tractor trailer transporting mail for the
United States Postal Service. USPS has moved to dismiss
Plaintiff's claims for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction. For the reasons expressed below, USPS's
motion will be denied.
to Plaintiff's complaint, on July 6, 2017, Plaintiff,
Lorraine Blumberg, and her husband, Richard Blumberg, were
driving through an intersection in Marlton, New Jersey when
Defendant, William Rolle, Jr., who was driving a tractor
trailer containing USPS mail, ran a red light and struck the
Blumbergs' car. Both Plaintiff and her husband sustained
serious injuries. Richard Blumberg died from his injuries two
on her behalf and on behalf of her husband's estate, has
brought a four-count complaint for negligence, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, wrongful death, and a
survival action, against Rolle, the trucking company he
worked for, Defendant FRM Jr. Trucking, Inc., and USPS. Rolle
and FRM have filed cross-claims for contribution and
indemnification against USPS.
an agency of the United States is a Defendant, Plaintiff brought
her claims in this Court pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims
Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b),
2401, 2671-80. Plaintiff claims that Rolle “acted
as an agent, workman, employee and/or servant” of USPS
at the time of the accident, and that USPS had a duty to
properly hire and supervise “employees and
drivers” involved in this matter. Plaintiff seeks to
hold USPS liable for the alleged negligence of Rolle and FRM
(respondeat superior), and for its own liability for
its alleged negligent hiring, training, and supervision of
Rolle and FRM, and its alleged failure to timely discharge
Rolle and FRM.
has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Civil
Procedure Rule 12(b)(1). USPS argues that FRM is an
independent contractor engaged by the USPS to transport mail
pursuant to a detailed, written contract. Under the terms of
such contract, USPS contends that FRM bore all responsibility
for its trucks, drivers, and the performance of FRM's
duties under the contract. USPS further contends that FRM
agreed to bear all liability for harm to persons and
property, and to indemnify USPS from any and all tort
liability, in connection with FRM's performance under the
therefore argues that under the FTCA and its limited waiver
of sovereign immunity, a plaintiff is barred from bringing an
action against the United States to recover for damages for
the allegedly negligent conduct of an independent contractor
or the contractor's employee. USPS further argues that
the FTCA does not waive sovereign immunity for claims of
negligent hiring, training, supervision, and timely discharge
because it is a discretionary function for which it is
entitled to sovereign immunity.
argues that Rolle and FRM are not independent contractors but
rather employees of USPS due to USPS's control over their
actions. Plaintiff further contends that the discretionary
function exception does not apply to her claims against USPS.
Plaintiff also argues that USPS's motion is premature
because there has been no discovery as to USPS's control
and supervision of Rolle and FRM, and the contract between
Rolle and FRM, standing alone, does not negate