Jensen v. U.S. Nat'l Park Serv., Civil Action No. 14–14095.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtRICHARD G. STEARNS, District Judge.
Citation113 F.Supp.3d 431
Parties Leyah JENSEN v. UNITED STATES NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 14–14095.
Decision Date06 July 2015

113 F.Supp.3d 431

Leyah JENSEN
v.
UNITED STATES NATIONAL PARK SERVICE.

Civil Action No. 14–14095.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.

Signed July 6, 2015.


113 F.Supp.3d 433

Leyah Jensen, Nantucket, MA, pro se.

Anita Johnson, Boston, MA, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON GOVERNMENT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

RICHARD G. STEARNS, District Judge.

Plaintiff Leyah Jensen instituted this action under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. §§ 3001 –3013, seeking injunctive relief and a monetary award against defendant, National Park Service (NPS), for its failure "to comply with Congressional mandates." Compl. ¶ II(B). Jensen alleges that she found "exposed human remains" in a sewer drain at a National Historic Landmark on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Compl. ¶¶ I, II(B). She filed a police report and notified defendant NPS and the U.S. Department of the Interior informing them that the remains were unprotected in violation of NAGPRA. Having received no response from the NPS, Jensen "made consultation with the local Tribe Officer and the remains were validated as human by the State Coroner." Id. ¶ II(B). Jensen contends that the situation has caused "irreparable damage to American history," as well as causing her "two years of financial, mental, emotional, and physical stresses of attempting to maintain lawful protocols while awaiting response from the National Park Service." Id. ¶ II(C)(2).

The NPS asks the court to dismiss Jensen's Complaint for lack of jurisdiction and her failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted. The NPS asserts that Jensen lacks standing to bring a NAGPRA claim and cannot establish that the United States has waived sovereign immunity and consented to suit. Substantively, the NPS argues that Jensen has failed to allege the necessary elements of a claim under NAGPRA.

DISCUSSION

The NPS moves to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. " ‘The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing’ standing." Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA, –––U.S. ––––, 133 S.Ct. 1138, 1148, 185 L.Ed.2d 264 (2013), quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992). "The federal courts are required to determine whether Article III jurisdiction exists prior to proceeding to the merits of the case." United Seniors Ass'n, Inc. v. Philip Morris USA, 500 F.3d 19, 23 (1st Cir.2007).

"Federal courts lack jurisdiction over claims against the United States unless the government has waived its sovereign immunity." Sanchez v. United States, 740 F.3d 47, 50 (1st Cir.2014), citing F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475, 114 S.Ct. 996, 127 L.Ed.2d 308 (1994). Jensen alleges personal injuries—"financial, mental, emotional, and physical stresses"—that result from the NPS's "neglect" and asks for compensatory money damages.1 Compl. ¶ II(C). This claim(s)

113 F.Supp.3d 434

sounds in tort. The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) comprises a limited waiver of federal sovereign immunity, which allows the government to be held liable for certain tortious acts and omissions. See 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1). However, prior to permitting suit against the United States, a litigant is required to file an administrative claim with the agency having jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a) ("An action shall not be instituted upon a claim against the United States for money...

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1 practice notes
  • Asher v. Clay Cnty. Bd. of Educ., Civil Action 6:21-cv-00124-CHB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • 11 Febrero 2022
    ...did not convert the land to “federal land” within the meaning of the statute. Id; see also Jensen v. United States Nat'l Park Serv., 113 F.Supp.3d 431 (D. Mass. 2015) (dismissing plaintiff's NAGPRA claim for lack of jurisdiction where plaintiff allegedly found “exposed human remains” in a s......
1 cases
  • Asher v. Clay Cnty. Bd. of Educ., Civil Action 6:21-cv-00124-CHB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District of Kentucky
    • 11 Febrero 2022
    ...did not convert the land to “federal land” within the meaning of the statute. Id; see also Jensen v. United States Nat'l Park Serv., 113 F.Supp.3d 431 (D. Mass. 2015) (dismissing plaintiff's NAGPRA claim for lack of jurisdiction where plaintiff allegedly found “exposed human remains” in a s......

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