Unpublished Disposition, 899 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1988)

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US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 899 F.2d 1224 (9th Cir. 1988)

Delores EMMONS, Plaintiff-Appellant,v.UNITED STATES POST OFFICE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 89-15292.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

Submitted March 26, 1990.* Decided April 3, 1990.

Before FLETCHER, LEAVY and FERNANDEZ, Circuit Judges.


Delores Emmons appeals pro se the dismissal of her suit against the United States Post Office and the Kino, Arizona Post Office for tampering with her mail. On May 10, 1988, Emmons received a first notice for a certified letter. She went to the Kino Post Office to retrieve her letter and was told that the letter had been returned to the sender on May 10, 1988. Emmons filed suit in federal district court alleging that because Emmon's certified letter had been prematurely returned, the Post Office had "tampered" with her mail. The district court dismissed Emmons's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the ground that the Postal Service is exempt from liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA") for "any claim arising out of loss, miscarriage or negligent transmission of letters or postal matter." 28 U.S.C. § 2680(b). We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and we affirm.

We review de novo the dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim. Woodrum v. Woodward County, Okl., 866 F.2d 1121, 1124 (9th Cir. 1986). Prior to filing an action alleging a wrongful act of an employee of the Government, the claimant must first present the claim to the appropriate federal agency for resolution. 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a). "A claim is presented properly to an agency ... when the agency is given sufficient written notice ... and the claimant places a value on the claim." Avery v. United States, 680 F.2d 608, 610 (9th Cir. 1982). A claimant's proper presentation of the claim to the agency is a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing suit under the FTCA. Wright v. Gregg, 685 F.2d 340, 341 (9th Cir. 1982). We may affirm the district court on any legal ground supported by the record. Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980).

Here, Emmons, prior to filing suit, did not present her claim for the lost certified letter to the Post Office for resolution as required by Section 2675(a). Because Emmons failed to exhaust her administrative remedy, this failure jurisdictionally barred her suit. See Wright, 685 F.2d at 341. Thus, we find that the district court lacked jurisdiction and affirm the dismissal of Emmons's complaint on this ground. See Aldabe, 616 F.2d at 1092.



The panel unanimously finds this case suitable for disposition without oral argument. Fed. R. App. P. 34(a); 9th Cir.R. 34-4


This disposition is not appropriate for publication and may not be cited to or by the courts of this circuit except as provided by 9th Cir.R. 36-3