The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge
This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Marjorie Guthrie (hereinafter "Guthrie") and Southern Illinois Health Care's (hereinafter "SIH") Motion to Dismiss and Substitute Party (Doc. 24) and Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 25) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff Mary Casey (hereinafter "Casey") has yet to file a response brief to either motion, and she need not do so.*fn1
For the following reasons, the Court, inter alia, GRANTS the instant motions and REMANDS this matter to the Circuit Court of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County, Illinois, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
I. Relevant Procedural Posture
On September 22, 2009, Casey brought wrongful death and survival actions against Guthrie, SIH, and all of the other named defendants in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois. Guthrie and SIH thereafter removed the matter to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1442(a)(1), which prescribes federal jurisdiction over federal officers/agencies that are sued. SIH alleged that it fell under said statute as an entity of the United States. Meanwhile, calling upon the Westfall Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2679,*fn2 Guthrie sought to establish her status as a deemed employee of the United States by attaching certification (hereinafter "Westfall certification") from the U.S. Attorney to her removal notice.*fn3 (See Doc. 2-2). However, believing that Guthrie and/or SIH were/was not a federal employee or agency respectively at the time of the events underlying the lawsuit, Casey filed a Motion (Doc. 28) to conduct limited discovery so that she could meaningfully challenge the U.S. Attorney's Westfall certification.
On February 4, 2010, the Court, inter alia, granted Casey's discovery motion. In its memorandum and order, the Court set the parameters of preliminary discovery as to the Westfall certification, including the requirement that a joint status report be submitted to the Court. The joint Status Report (Doc. 47), which the Court has since received, states that the necessary discovery has been exchanged and indicates that Guthrie and SIH were indisputably acting as a federal employee and agency respectively at the time of the events alleged in the lawsuit.*fn4 (See Doc. 47, p. 1, ¶ 2). The status report also impliedly states that Casey concedes the merits of the instant motions and will not be filing a response thereto. Id. at p. 1, ¶ 3. Finally, in the report, Casey asks that the Court remand this case if the dismissal motions are granted. Id. at p. 2, ¶ 4.
With the above in mind, the Court can now address the relief requested in the instant motions.
II. Motion to Dismiss and Substitute Party (Doc. 24)
In their first motion to dismiss, Guthrie and SIH ask that the claims against them be dismissed with prejudice as the United States is the proper party pursuant to the Westfall Act.
Additionally, the two ask that the United States be substituted in their stead for purposes of this litigation.
Here, since Casey has since conceded that the United States, not Guthrie and SIH, is the proper defendant, the Court sees no reason to deny the relief sought. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2679(d)(1), the Court ORDERS that the United States be substituted as a defendant for Guthrie and SIH. Further, the Court DISMISSES Guthrie and SIH with prejudice.
III. Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 25)
In the second motion to dismiss, the United States asks under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) that the claims against it be dismissed because Casey has yet to exhaust his administrative remedies. Casey's only hope for recovery against the United States, which is typically protected from lawsuits for money damages by sovereign immunity, is by way of the Federal Tort Claims Act (hereinafter "FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2671, et seq. However, in order to recover under the FTCA, Casey must have first filed an administrative claim with the appropriate federal agency. See 28 U.S.C. § 2675(a) (2006); McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Sullivan v. United States,21 F.3d 198, 206 (7th Cir. 1994). Nevertheless, ...