Broussard v. United States

Case: 21-30376 Document: 00516520483 Page: 1 Date Filed: 10/25/2022 United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit FILED October 25, 2022 No. 21-30376 Lyle W. Cayce Clerk Nathaniel Broussard, Plaintiff—Appellant, versus United States of America, Defendant—Appellee. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana USDC No. 2:21-CV-355 Before Wiener, Graves, and Duncan, Circuit Judges. Stuart Kyle Duncan, Circuit Judge: After an alleged collision with a mail vehicle, Nathaniel Broussard submitted a claim to the U.S. Postal Service under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), seeking about $15,000 for damage to his truck. The postal service denied his claim because Broussard’s insurance covered it. Under the FTCA, this triggered a six-month window in which Broussard could either seek reconsideration or sue. He did neither. Instead, over eight months later, Broussard filed a second claim with the postal service, now seeking $2 million for back injuries from the same incident. Broussard’s claim was denied. He sued. The district court dismissed his suit as time-barred. We affirm. Case: 21-30376 Document: 00516520483 Page: 2 Date Filed: 10/25/2022 No. 21-30376 I. Broussard claims he was involved in a car crash with a U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) driver in Sulphur, Louisiana, on November 14, 2019. The postal vehicle allegedly pulled out of a private driveway and struck Broussard’s Ford F-150. As a result, Broussard filed a Standard Form 95 (“SF-95”) with the USPS on December 2, 2019, seeking $15,169.58 in property damage. He did not list any damages under the “Personal Injury” and “Wrongful Death” sections of the SF-95. Under the section asking about the extent of his injuries, Broussard wrote “None so far.” The USPS denied Broussard’s claim in a letter sent on March 26, 2020. The basis for the denial was that Broussard had submitted a claim to State Farm Insurance for the same incident. The letter also notified Broussard of his options if he was unhappy with the denial. He could sue in federal court “no later than six (6) months after the date the Postal Service mails the notice of that final action,” or, also within six months, he could “file a written request for reconsideration with the postal official who issued the final denial of the claim.” Broussard did neither. Instead, on December 1, 2020, Broussard— now represented by an attorney—sent in another SF-95. This SF-95 described the same November 14, 2019 collision but now claimed Broussard “sustained injuries to his lower back.” It requested $2,000,000 in personal injury damages and $0 in property damages. The USPS denied Broussard’s claim again. By letter dated February 2, 2021, the USPS stated Broussard’s six-month period for suing or seeking reconsideration had elapsed on September 26, 2020. The letter added that Broussard was “not entitled to submit more than one claim resulting from the November 14, 2019 motor vehicle collision,” and noted that, to the extent the second SF-95 meant to seek administrative reconsideration, it was untimely. 2 Case: 21-30376 Document: …

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