United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on The United States of
America's (“the United States”) Motion to
Dismiss, or in the alternative, for Summary Judgment .
Carolyn Moore (“Plaintiff”) suffers from multiple
sclerosis, which causes her to have difficulty walking.
(Compl.  ¶ 18). On June 22, 2015, Plaintiff was being
transported through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport
(the “Airport”) in a wheelchair pushed by
“John Doe 2, ” later identified as Gabriel
Morales (“Morales”). (Id. ¶ 19;
Mot. Dismiss at Ex. A). Morales was employed by Prospect
Airport Services, Inc. (“Prospect”). (Compl.
¶¶ 17, 19). Plaintiff arrived at the Transportation
Security Administration (“TSA”) checkpoint while
seated in the wheelchair. (Id. ¶ 20).
she arrived at the TSA checkpoint, Plaintiff alleges,
“John Doe 1, ” an unidentified TSA employee,
“instructed [Plaintiff] to exit her wheelchair in order
to undergo a security screening.” (Id. ¶
21). Plaintiff told John Doe 1 “that she was unable to
do so given her medical condition.” (Id.
¶ 22). John Doe 1 then “ordered her to stand and
walk through the security checkpoint.” (Id.
stood, but once again informed the TSA employee that she was
unable to do so given her medical condition.”
(Id. ¶ 24). Plaintiff asserts that
“[s]imultaneously, [Morales], the Prospect employee,
removed Plaintiff's wheelchair from the immediate
vicinity. After further discussion with the TSA employee and
being forced to stand, Plaintiff attempted to sit down again,
but her wheelchair was removed from the area and she fell to
the ground.” (Id. ¶¶ 25-26).
December 16, 2015, Plaintiff submitted to the TSA an
administrative claim based on the June 22, 2015, incident at
the Airport. On June 30, 2016, the TSA “determined that
no legally sustainable grounds exist on which to base a
finding of liability on the part of TSA, ” and denied
Plaintiff's administrative claim. (Compl. Ex. C [1.3]).
October 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Complaint, asserting
claims for negligence against John Doe 1 (Count I), the
United States (Count II), John Doe 2 (Count III), and
Prospect (Count IV). In Counts I and II, Plaintiff alleges
that “John Doe 1 carelessly, negligently and recklessly
forced Plaintiff, whom [sic] suffers from multiple sclerosis,
to stand from her wheelchair and attempt to walk through the
TSA checkpoint at [the Airport], ” and as a result,
“Plaintiff fell to the ground, ” causing
Plaintiff “severe, disabling, and permanent
injuries.” (Compl. ¶¶ 33-35; 42-44).
Plaintiff asserts that, because John Doe 1 was an employee of
the United States and the TSA, and was acting within the
scope of his employment, the United States is liable to
Plaintiff for past and future pain and suffering, medical
expenses, and other damages in an amount not to exceed $1,
000, 000. (Id. ¶¶ 39-40, 46-48).
Counts III and IV, Plaintiff alleges that Morales
“carelessly, negligently and recklessly removed
Plaintiff's wheelchair from the TSA checkpoint at [the
Airport], ” and as a result, Plaintiff “fell to
the ground” and suffered “severe, disabling, and
permanent injuries.” (Id. ¶¶ 50-52,
57-59). Plaintiff asserts that Prospect is vicariously liable
for Plaintiff's injuries because Morales was an employee
of Prospect and acted within the scope of his employment.
(Id. ¶¶ 61-63).
January 14, 2017, the United States moved to dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint. The United States argues that
Count I must be dismissed, under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction because an individual employee cannot be sued
under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §
2679(b)(1). The United States also moves, under Rule
12(b)(6), to dismiss Count II for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. The United States moves, in
the alternative, for summary judgment.
January 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Response . In it,
Plaintiff states that she “does not dispute that John
Doe 1, an employee of the United States, should be dismissed
from the instant action, and [Plaintiff] will consent to a
dismissal of John Doe 1 only.” (Resp. at 6-7).
Accordingly, the United States' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's claim against John Doe 1 is granted and Count
I is dismissed.
Court next considers the United States' Motion to Dismiss