United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING UNITED STATES' MOTION FOR
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Rashid Muhammad (“Muhammad”) claims that the
United States is liable to him under the Federal Tort Claims
Act (“FTCA”) for failing to provide him
appropriate medical care while he was incarcerated at the
Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. The
United States denies this claim and on October 12, 2016,
filed a motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of the
FTCA claim on the basis Muhammad failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies prior to filing this action. Muhammad
was given an extended period of time to file a response.
See dkt. 69. He did so on March 27, 2017.
See dkt. 82. For the reasons explained below, the
United States' motion for summary judgment, dkt. , is
granted and the FTCA claims are dismissed.
Standard of Review
United States relies on a declaration outside the pleadings
in support of its argument that the FTCA claim should be
dismissed. Accordingly, the United States treated its request
for dismissal as a motion for summary judgment and proceeding
accordingly. See dkt 62 (notice of pro se litigant).
judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material fact”
is one that “might affect the outcome of the
suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court views the facts in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable
inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor. Ault
v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011).
“The applicable substantive law will dictate which
facts are material.” National Soffit &
Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d
262, 265 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S.
March 16, 2015, Muhammad filed an SF-95 “Claim for
Damage, Injury, or Death” which was signed and dated by
Muhammad on March 11, 2015. See Administrative Claim
TRT-NCR-2015-03166, Docket No. 60-1 at ¶ 4.
March 27, 2015,  Muhammad filed an amendment to his tort
claim. The amendment raised no new issues or allegations, but
included attachments Muhammad forgot to attach to his
original filings. See dkt. 60-1 at 17. In a letter
dated April 28, 2015, the Bureau of Prisons, Office of
Regional Counsel, specifically informed Muhammad that the
agency had six months in which to make a final deposition of
his claim, such that a response to the amended administrative
claim was not due until September 27, 2015 (six months from
March 27, 2015). Id.
civil action was filed on July 27, 2015.
Administrative Tort Claim was denied by the Agency on August
5, 2015. See dkt. 60-1 at 70, denial letter for
Administrative Claim TRT-NCR-2015-06109.
United States seeks dismissal of the FTCA claims raised in
this action because Muhammad filed this action before
receiving a final decision on his tort claim from the Bureau
of Prisons. In response, Muhammad argues that the regional
office almost never grants a prisoner any relief on a tort
claim and for this reason exhaustion was unavailable. In
addition he asserts that he is entitled to relief on the
merits of his FTCA claims.
FTCA constitutes a limited waiver of the United States'
sovereign immunity and allows individuals to bring an action
for damages against the federal government for
“personal injury or death caused by the negligent or
wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government
while acting within the scope of his office or
employment.” 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1); Warrum v.
United States, 427 F.3d 1048, 1049 (7th Cir. 2005). The
FTCA requires exhaustion of administrative remedies before a
claimant can institute legal action. Specifically, §
An action shall not be instituted upon a claim against the
United States for money damages for injury or loss of
property or personal injury or death caused by the negligent
or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government
while acting within the scope of his office or employment,
unless the claimant shall have first presented the claim to
the appropriate Federal agency and his claim shall have been
finally denied by the agency in writing and sent by certified
or registered mail. The failure of an agency to make final
disposition of a claim within six months after ...