[a] federal agency is not a suit against the United States of America'") (quoting Lopez v. United States Dep't of Agriculture, No. 83 C 6191, slip op. at 2 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 1984)). Since the FTCA clearly provides that a suit against the United States is the exclusive remedy in cases like this, we dismiss the claim against the United States Postal Service.
V. Potential Amendment to Name United States as Defendant
Having dismissed the two parties who were wrongfully named as defendants in this action, we now turn our attention to the question of whether the proper party, the United States of America, can be added at this late date. Since the statute of limitations on this action has already run, the plaintiffs' only hope of adding the United States would be to do so pursuant to Rule 15(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 15(c) allows a plaintiff to add a new defendant and have the date of that amendment "relate back" to the date the original action was filed, thus avoiding the statute of limitations. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). However, in order for Rule 15(c) to apply, the "new" party must have had actual notice of the action before the statute of limitations ran. See, e.g., Hughes v. United States, 701 F.2d 56, 58-59 (7th Cir. 1982); Stewart, 655 F.2d at 742; Martin's Food & Liquor, 702 F. Supp. at 216-17.
In order for the United States to have "actual" notice, service of process must be made upon "the United States Attorney, or the United States Attorney's designee, or the Attorney General of the United States, or an agency or officer who would have been a proper defendant if named." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). The statute of limitations on this action ran on October 30, 1990. The U.S. Attorney's office did not receive a copy of the complaint until November 5, 1990, six days after the limitations period expired.
Plaintiffs cannot argue that Rule 15(c) was satisfied by the notice afforded to either the Postal Service or Diamond. With respect to the Postal Service, this court "will not impute the knowledge of a government agency to the U.S. Attorney or the U.S. Attorney General." Williams v. United States, 711 F.2d 893, 898 (9th Cir. 1983) (citing Barrie v. United States, 615 F.2d 829, 830 (9th Cir. 1980)); cf. Hughes, 701 F.2d at 58 ("government agencies do not merge into a monolith" for the purpose of litigation). As for the notice given to Diamond, it is ineffective since the statute only allows for such substitute service when the person served "would have been a proper defendant if named." Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c). Since Diamond was not a proper defendant in this action, the notice given to her did not constitute notice to the United States. See Stewart, 655 F.2d at 742.
Thus, the United States did not receive notice of this action until after the statute of limitations had expired. Accordingly, we find that Rule 15(c) cannot be satisfied and that it is not possible to amend the plaintiffs' complaint to include the United States, the only proper party in this suit. For the foregoing reasons, the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint is granted with prejudice. It is so ordered.