United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Tonya R. Chapman, Plaintiff,
Greenville S.C. United States Postal Service, Jennifer J. Aldrich, Ann E. Mandernach, Defendants.
Timothy M. Cain, United States District Judge
proceeding pro se, filed this action against in forma
pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915. In accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02,
D.S.C., this matter was referred to a magistrate judge for
pretrial handling. Before the court is the magistrate
judge's Report and Recommendation (“Report”),
recommending that the court dismiss Plaintiff's action
without prejudice and without issuance and service of
process. (ECF No. 15). Plaintiff was advised of her right to
file objections to the Report, (ECF No. 15 at 6), and has
filed timely objections (ECF No. 18). On March 21, 2017,
Plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment. (ECF No. 14).
On April 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for discovery
sanctions and motion for default judgment. (ECF No. 21).
magistrate judge makes only a recommendation to the court.
The Report has no presumptive weight and the responsibility
to make a final determination in this matter remains with
this court. See Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261,
270-71 (1976). The court is charged with making a de novo
determination of those portions of the Report to which
specific objection is made, and the court may accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the
magistrate judge, or recommit the matter with instructions.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). However, the court need not
conduct a de novo review when a party makes only
“general and conclusory objections that do not direct
the court to a specific error in the magistrate's
proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v.
Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). In the absence
of a timely filed, specific objection, the magistrate
judge's conclusions are reviewed only for clear error.
See Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins.
Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005).
Report, the magistrate judge recommends summary dismissal of
Plaintiff's claim against the United States Postal
Service (“USPS”). (ECF No. 15 at 2-3). Under the
principle of sovereign immunity, individuals may not sue the
United States or its agencies, including the USPS, without
their consent. Global Mail Ltd. V. U.S. Postal
Serv., 142 F.3d 208, 210 (4th Cir. 1998). While the
Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) waives sovereign
immunity for certain tort claims arising out of the
activities of the USPS, sovereign immunity is not waived for
claims based on the “failings in the postal obligation
to deliver mail in a timely manner to the right address . . .
.” Dolan v. Postal Serv., 546 U.S. 481, 487
(2006); see 28 U.S.C. § 2680(b) (explicitly
excluding from the FCTA's waiver of immunity claims
“arising out of the loss, miscarriage, or negligent
transmission of letter or postal matter.”). Because the
present action clearly concerns the USPS's failure to
properly deliver Plaintiff's mail, Plaintiff's claims
against the USPS are barred by 28 U.S.C. 2680(b) and the
magistrate judge recommends summary dismissal. In addition,
as the Magistrate Judge also notes, because the United States
is the only proper defendant in a suit brought under the
FTCA, Miller v. United States, 710 F.2d 656, 657,
n.1 (10th Cir. 1983), the United States Postal Service is not
a proper party to this action.
magistrate judge also recommends summary dismissal of the
action against defendants Jennifer Aldrich
(“Aldrich”) and Ann Mandernach
(“Mandernach”) because Plaintiff has failed to
allege a violation of federal law or a viable state law claim
with respect to these defendants, thus failing to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). Further, in response to Plaintiff's claims
that Aldrich and Mandernach have violated discovery rules,
the magistrate judge noted that at the time that this action
was filed, Plaintiff had no other pending cases in this court
and made no allegations that this is the proper court in
which to move for sanctions in actions pending in other
objections, Plaintiff requests that Defendants be served by
U.S. Marshals and that her action be allowed to continue
“[f]or the following claims of negligence, breach of
contract and fraud.” (ECF No. 18 at 1). Plaintiff then
reiterates her claim and quotes cases defining
“contract.” However, Plaintiff fails to
specifically object to any dispositive portion of the
magistrate judge's Report. Plaintiff does not address the
exclusions from the FTCA's waiver of immunity with
respect to defendant USPS. Nor does Plaintiff object to the
magistrate judge's finding that, even construing
Plaintiff's complaint liberally, Plaintiff fails to
present any claim or violation directly attributable to
Aldrich or Mandernach. Therefore, Plaintiff's objections
are overruled and the court adopts the Report. The summary
dismissal of Plaintiff's claim moots Plaintiff's
pending motions for sanctions and default judgment (ECF Nos.
14 and 21).
thorough review of the Report and the record in this case,
the court adopts the magistrate judge's Report (ECF No.
15) and incorporates it herein. Accordingly, Plaintiff's
action is DISMISSED without prejudice and without
issuance and service of process. Further, Plaintiff's
motion for default judgment (ECF No. 14) and motion for
sanctions and default judgment (ECF No. 21) are DENIED as
OF RIGHT TO APPEAL
parties are hereby notified of the right to appeal this order
pursuant to Rules 3 and 4 of the Federal Rules of Appellate
 In any event, in her first motion for
default judgment, Plaintiff claims that Defendants continue
to ignore her previously filed claim against the USPS. (ECF
No. 14 at 1). However, the court summarily dismissed
Plaintiff's previous claim against the USPS on February
2, 2017. Chapman v. Greenville S.C. U.S. Postal
Service, C.A. 6:16-3712-TMC (D.S.C. Feb. 2, 2017).
“When a party against whom a judgment for affirmative
relief is sought has failed to plead or otherwise defend as
provided by these rules and that fact is made to appear by
affidavit or otherwise, the clerk shall enter the party's
default.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). However, as service was
never authorized in the present or previous case (C.A. No.
17-556, ECF No. 15; C.A. No. 16-3712, ECF No. 9) none of the
defendants failed to plead pursuant to the aforementioned
rule. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12; Fed.R.Civ.P. 55.