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FTCA Does Not Apply to Prisoner's Property Mailed Outside Prison
Appeals held that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) does not apply to a
federal prisoner's personal property mailed outside of prison.
Samuel Haywood Myles, a prisoner at the United States Penitentiary in
Leavenworth, Kansas, had a ceramic mug, ceramic plate and 151 books taken
as contraband during a shakedown. Prison officials ordered the property
sent out. Mr. Myles sent the mug and plate to one address and the books to
another. The books never arrived at their destination.
Myles sued Leavenworth officials under the FTCA for loss of his property.
The U.S. District Court of Kansas dismissed the case, claiming lack of
subject matter jurisdiction. Mr. Myles appealed.
The Court of Appeals held that the FTCA is a waiver of sovereign immunity
conferring subject matter jurisdiction on a court for a limited set of
claims. Accordingly, the FTCA must be strictly and narrowly construed.
The appeals court held that 28 U.S.C. §2680(c) denies waiver of sovereign
immunity under the FTCA "where a prisoner alleges that defendant prison
officials detained his personal property and mailed it outside the
prison." The district court's dismissal was correct, and the decision was
affirmed. This case is published in the Federal Appendix and is subject to
rules governing unpublished cases. See: Myles v. U.S., 52 Fed.Appx. 108
(10th Cir. 2002).
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