[B]Case Name: [/B][I]Richard Tipton, et al. v. Northrup Grumman Corporation[/I]
[B]Date Decided: [/B]September 10, 2009"
[B]Court: [/B]U.S.D.C. Eastern District of Louisiana
[B]Judge: [/B]Judge Duval
[B]Citation: [/B]2009 WL 2969505 (E.D.La.)[B]Background:
[/B]Before this Court was a motion to dismiss filed on behalf of the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”). Plaintiffs, Richard Tipton (“Tipton”), and other employees, were employed by Northrup Grumman Ship Services, Inc. (“NGSS”) at a shipbuilding facility in Louisiana. Each of the employees suffered an employment related injury and were assigned to the Restricted Work Rehabilitation Program (“RWRP”) which provided employment for NGSS workers with permanent work related injuries.
Plaintiffs were classified as [I]semi-skilled workers [/I]as employees in the RWRP and were paid an hourly rate less than that what they had earned prior to their injuries.
The wage discrepancy was a result of negotiations between NGSS and the New Orlens Metal Trade Council-AFL-CIO (“Union”).
Plaintiffs, [I]pro se[/I] (without counsel), filed suit against NGSS, the DOL, and Union alleging claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (“LHWCA”), and other claims.
The DOL moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims under 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
[/B]Did this Court grant DOL’s motion to dismiss ruling that they did not have subject matter jurisdiction over DOL pursuant to the doctrine of sovereign immunity?
[/B]The DOL contended that because the plaintiffs’ claims against the DOL are barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity, then it is certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of their claim that would entitle them to relief.
The United States must consent to be sued and that consent is a prerequisite to federal jurisdiction. Alternately stated, sovereign immunity shields the DOL and all other US departments from damages actions [I]absent a waiver[/I].
Plaintiffs claim, that the DOL can be sued under their Rico claim. However, this Court found, relying on other jurisdictions’ precedent, that RICO claims may not be brought against the US or its agencies or departments.* *
Moreover, the DOL moves to dismiss the plaintiffs’ LHWCA claims brought against it by the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs conceded that the DOL is not their employer and as such, because the LWCHA does not waive sovereign immunity for a claim against the US, then it must be dismissed.
Accordingly this Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims against the DOL because the plaintiffs have failed to provide a statutory waiver giving this Court jurisdiction over DOL for its claims.
A waiver of sovereign immunity must be found in the statute giving rise to the cause of action. Basically, no suit may be brought against the United States, under the sovereign immunity doctrine. However, some statutes, such as the Federal Tort Claims Act (not asserted here) will “waive” the government’s right to declare sovereign immunity and subject the United States to claims under that Act. Absent such waiver, or consent by the government,* claims against the United States are barred. [/B]