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Priest v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. California

November 20, 2017

TRACI J. PRIEST ET AL.
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ET AL.

          Present: The Honorable CHRISTINA A. SNYDER

          CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

         Proceedings: DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION AND FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM (dkt. 11, Filed October 23, 2017)

         I. INTRODUCTION

         On July 12, 2016, plaintiffs Traci Priest and David Priest filed a complaint against defendants United States of America (the “United States”) and United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service (the “Forest Service”).[1] Dkt. 1 (“Compl.”). Plaintiffs assert claims for negligence and loss of consortium stemming from personal injuries that Traci Priest allegedly suffered in the parking lot of a visitor center.

         On October 23, 2017, the United States filed the instant motion to dismiss. Dkt. 11 (“MTD”). On October 30, 2017, plaintiffs filed their opposition, dkt. 12 (“Opp'n”), and on November 6, 2017, the United States filed its reply, dkt. 13 (“Reply”).

         Having carefully considered the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs allege the following facts.

         On or about June 7, 2014, Traci Priest was a passenger on a bus that arrived at Grassy Hollow Park and Visitor Center on Angeles Crest Highway in Wrightwood, California (“the premises”). Compl. ¶ 6. Plaintiffs allege that the United States constructed, managed, inspected, and operated the premises. Id. ¶ 5. The bus driver was directed to park the bus in a particular location on the premises, and plaintiffs allege that “it was known that the bus was carrying passengers who, once the bus parked, would be required to disembark the bus.” Id. ¶ 6. Plaintiffs allege that a dangerous condition existed on the premises because the surface upon which passengers disembarked was in a state of disrepair.[2] Id.

         Plaintiffs further allege that the United States, through its employees and agents, negligently maintained and operated the parking lot. Id. ¶ 7. When Traci Priest disembarked from the bus, the dangerous condition caused her to sustain injuries to her foot and ankle. Id. Plaintiffs allege that, as a proximate cause of the United States' negligence, Traci Priest was injured insofar as she sustained bodily injuries and injury to her nervous system. Id. ¶ 9. These injuries have caused and continue to cause Traci Priest mental, physical, nervous pain, in addition to mental anguish, fright, humiliation, and emotional trauma. Id. ¶¶ 9, 11. Traci Priest has incurred and will incur future medical expenses in the examination, care, and treatment of her injuries that include “serious injuries to her foot and ankle, requiring surgery.” Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiffs further allege that Traci Priest, as a result of these injuries, is unable to pursue her vocation and suffers from a loss of earnings and a loss of earning capacity. Id. ¶ 12.

         Plaintiffs allege that David Priest is the husband of Traci Priest, and as a direct result of the United States' negligence, he has suffered a loss of his wife's love, comfort, companionship, affections, society, solace, moral support, and physical assistance in the operation and maintenance of the family home. Id. ¶ 16.

         Plaintiffs assert that this Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1436(b) because their claims are founded upon the filing of a Federal Tort Claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 2671(b).

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Federal Rule of Civil ...


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