United States District Court, C.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO DISMISS
WITH PREJUDICE 
D. WRIGHT, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
April 7, 2016 Plaintiff “J and R”/Joseph Liba
(hereinafter “Liba”) filed this action in the Los
Angeles County Superior Court, Small Claims Division. (Not.
of Removal, Ex. 1, Compl., ECF No. 1.) In his short form
Complaint, he alleges that the United States Postal Service
(“USPS”) negligently lost a package belonging to
him valued at $850. (Id.) Before Liba properly
effectuated service under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4,
on May 10, 2016, the Small Claims Court entered judgment
against USPS. (USPS Mot. to Dismiss (“Mot.”) 2,
ECF No. 10.) Two days later, USPS removed this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a). (Not. of Removal.) On
June 20, 2016, USPS filed the instant Motion to Dismiss. (ECF
No. 1.) Liba failed to timely oppose.
reviewing Liba’s Complaint, it is clear that the suit
against the United States Postal Service is barred by
sovereign immunity. Thus, the Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over the case at bar. Consequently, this action
is DISMISSED with prejudice.
several arguments for dismissal, the Postal Service contends
that this Court lacks jurisdiction over Liba’s claims,
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). (Mot.
1.) In considering a motion to dismiss for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, the plaintiff, as the party seeking to
invoke the Court’s jurisdiction, always bears the
burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction. See
Stock West, Inc. v. Confederated Tribes, 873 F.2d 1221,
1225 (9th Cir. 1989). “A plaintiff suing in a federal
court must show in his pleading, affirmatively and
distinctly, the existence of whatever is essential to federal
jurisdiction, and, if he does not do so, the court, on having
the defect called to its attention or on discovering the
same, must dismiss the case, unless the defect be corrected
by amendment.” Smith v. McCullough, 270 U.S.
456, 459 (1926). The court presumes a lack of subject matter
jurisdiction until the plaintiff proves otherwise. See
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375,
the United States has sovereign immunity from being sued,
except where it consents to be sued. Lehman v.
Nakshian, 453 U.S. 156, 160 (1981). The United
States’ consent to suit defines the jurisdiction of the
court to hear an action against the federal government.
Baker v. United States, 817 F.2d 560, 562 (9th Cir.
1987). Congress can, of course, waive sovereign immunity.
See, e.g., Loeffler v. Frank, 486 U.S. 549,
554 (1988); Blue v. Widnall, 162 F.3d 541, 544 (9th
Cir. 1998). However, such a waiver “must be
unequivocally expressed in statutory text.” Lane v.
Pena, 518 U.S. 187, 192 (1996).
Liba seeks to sue the United States via one of its agencies,
the Postal Service, for negligence. (Compl.) The Postal
Reorganization Act of 1970, 39 U.S.C. § 401(1),
authorizes USPS to sue or be sued in its official name.
However, this provision does not constitute consent to
all types of lawsuits. Section 409(c) of Title 39
restricts tort claims to those which may be brought under the
Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b).
Loeffler v. Frank, 486 U.S. 549, 557 n.4 (1988);
Ins. Co. of North Am. v. United States Postal Serv.,
675 F.2d 756, 758 (5th Cir. 1982). Moreover, in yet another
caveat, the United States “retains sovereign immunity
over claims ‘arising out of the loss, miscarriage, or
negligent transmission of letters or postal
matter.’” Anderson v. U.S. Postal Serv.,
761 F.2d 527, 528 (9th Cir. 1985) (quoting 28 U.S.C. §
2680(b)); see also Abdul-Aleem v. U.S. Postal Serv.,
No. C 03-4006 JL, 2004 WL 422621, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 1,
2004). This provision has been invoked to exclude claims
based on delays in delivering a letter, delivering a letter
to the wrong address, or the loss of a registered letter.
See, e.g., Rider v. United States Postal
Serv., 862 F.2d 239 (9th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 490
U.S. 1090 (1989) (claim based on the failure to deliver mail
within the promised time barred); Anderson, 761 F.2d
at 528 (plaintiff’s claim for loss of stolen certified
letters is barred by sovereign immunity).
language of section 2680(b) of the Federal Tort Claims Act is
clear: the United States is sovereignly immune from suit for
claims arising out of lost mail. Accordingly, this Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction over Liba’s
negligence action for injuries resulting from a lost package.
avenues for this Court to exercise jurisdiction over this
action, the Court GRANTS Defendant USPS’s Motion to
Dismiss WITH PREJUDICE and instructs the Clerk of Court to
close this case..