Ryan vs. United States (text)

Marvin E. Lewis, Esq.
John Winer, Esq.
Lewis, Lewis & Less
attorneys at law
Penthouse-American savings building
630 Market Street
San Francisco, California 94104
(415) 421-7616

Attorneys for plaintiff

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
OF THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN RYAN,
SHANNON JO RYAN,
PATRICIA ELLEN RYAN,
KEVIN LEO RYAN and
ERIN MEAD RYAN,
plaintiffs,

vs.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, defendant.

Civil No. 80-3137
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Plaintiff alleges:

I

Jurisdiction: this action arises under the Federal Tort Claims Act, and this Court has jurisdiction under the provisions of 28 USC §1346(b) and §2401(b).

II

The plaintiffs have fully complied with the provisions of Title 28 §2675(a) of the United States Code as evidenced by Exhibit I attached hereto.

III

In compliance with the provisions of 28 USC 2401(b), the Department of State served on plaintiffs, through their attorneys, an Administrative Determination dated February 1, 1980. The claim of plaintiffs was denied. A copy of this Administrative Determination and denial of claim is attached hereto and marked as Exhibit II.

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IV

This Honorable Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the matter in controversy pursuant to the provisions of Title 28 §1346(b) of the United States Code.

V

That Leo J. Ryan is now deceased. The only surviving heirs of Leo J. Ryan, deceased, are:

Christopher Robin Ryan, surviving child;
Shannon Jo Ryan, surviving child;
Patricia Ellen Ryan, surviving child;
Kevin Leo Ryan, surviving child;
Erin Mead Ryan, surviving child.

VI

All of said surviving heirs were dependent on decedent for support and comfort.

VII

At the time of his death Leo J. Ryan was a United States Congressman.

VIII

At least one plaintiff is, and at all times herein mentioned was, a citizen and resident of San Mateo County, California, thus venue is properly laid in this Court.

IX

On or about November 14, 1978, decedent embarked upon an official United States Government fact-finding mission to the country of Guyana, South America, for the purpose of investigating reports of grave mistreatment of United States citizens in the colony of Jonestown, Guyana. Jonestown was in settlement of United States citizens that existed as part of the People’s Temple Church based in San Francisco, California.

X

Said citizens were constituents from decedent’s congressional district in California, or relatives of constituants [constituents].

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XI

On or about November 18, 1978, as said mission was being concluded, and decedent was in the process of leaving the colony of Jonestown, decedent was murdered in an attack made upon his official party by members of the Jonestown Colony ordered by leader of said Colony, James Warren Jones.

XII

Prior to his November fact-finding mission to Guyana, decedent had many times unsuccessfully attempted to learn from the United States Department of State of the true circumstances and events occurring at the Jonestown Colony in Guyana.

XIII

United States Department of State knew prior to November 14, 1978 of vital information concerning said Jonestown colony and withheld this information from decedent despite his many requests for such information.

XIV

Said information included knowledge by the Department of State of: a volatile, tense and highly charged atmosphere of Jonestown immediately prior to decedent’s visit; false imprisonment of members of the Jonestown Colony; the existence of a huge, illicit supply of arms and ammunition at the Jonestown Colony; the existence of acts of extreme violence perpetrated on members of the Jonestown Colony; the fact that leaders of the Colony of Jonestown regarded members of the outside world with extreme and irrational distrust; the existence of a large supply of mind control narcotics at the Jonestown Colony which were being used in mind control experiments, initiated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency open citizens of the Jonestown colony.

XV

That if the Department of State had provided said vital

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information to decedent, decedent would not have attempted his fatal fact-finding mission to Jonestown, Guyana.

XVI

That decedent had requested, prior to November 1978, in writing, that the Department of State send a special investigating team from Washington, D. C. to Jonestown. No such investigating team was sent.

XVII

If said special investigating team had been sent, decedent would not have attempted his fatal fact-finding mission to Guyana.

XVIII

At times when decedent made inquiries to the Department of State of activities of People’s Temple in Guyana or provided the Department of State with information decedent had learned of activities of the People’s Temple in Guyana, decedent, shortly thereafter would receive letters from members of the People’s Temple urging decedent to assist his effort to probe into People’s Temple’s affairs.

XIX

On information and belief there was a leak between the Department of State and leaders and/or members of the People’s Temple.

XX

On information and belief at the Jonestown Colony was infiltrated with agent(s) of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States.

XXI

On information and belief the name of one said agent was Phillip Blakely, a trusted aide of People’s Temple leader James Warren Jones.

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XXII

On information and belief that said agents were working with the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency to: use the Jonestown colony as a massive mind control experiment as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s MK ULTRA program.

XXIII

On information and belief that massive quantities of mind control drugs were found at the Jonestown Colony after the fatal incident of November 18, 1978.

XXIV

On information and belief that in November, 1978, the Central Intelligence Agency with the knowledge and approval of the Department of State was working in Guyana to maintain in power the then current government headed by Prime Minister Forbes Burnham.

XXV

On information and belief that the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of State were more concerned with promoting exportation of natural resources from Guyana than exposing injustices at the Jonestown Colony or protecting decedent and his official party on their fact-finding mission to Guyana.

XXVI

On information and belief that in November, 1978, Richard Dwyer, Deputy Chief of the United States Embassy in Guyana was also an agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

XXVII

On information and belief that Richard Dwyer arranged for the transportation of decedent and his party once in Guyana; briefed decedent and his party on the events and conditions at Jonestown upon their arrival; and escorted decedent and his party to Jonestown in November, 1978.

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XXVIII

On information and belief that Richard Dwyer, as an agent and employee of the Central Intelligence Agency and Department of State negligently, maliciously and intentionally withheld crucial information about the Jonestown Colony which would have prevented harm to decedent.

XXIX

On information and belief that said agent and employee of said agency and department knowingly, intentionally and maliciously led decedent into a trap at the Port Kaituma Air Strip, which cost decedent his life.

XXX

That decedent’s fact-finding mission to Guyana was official Congressional business, thus the United States Government and its Department of State were under a special duty to afford decedent and his party adequate military protection and security.

XXXI

Despite the fact that the Department of State knew of the extreme risk involved in decedent’s fact-finding mission to Guyana and negligently failed to provide him with adequate security and adequate military protection.

XXXII

Despite the fact that the Department of State knew of the extreme risk involved in decedent’s fact-finding mission to Guyana it willfully, intentionally, maliciously and with concious [conscious] disregard to the safety of decedent, failed to provide adequate security and military protection for decedent.

XXXIII

The Department of State had a special duty to warn decedent, a United States Congressman, of the dangers and risks involved in his official fact-finding mission to Jonestown, Guyana.

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XXXIV

Despite the fact that the Department of State knew of the extreme risk and danger involved in decedent’s fact-finding mission to Guyana it negligently failed to warn decedent of such extreme risk and danger.

XXXV

Despite the fact that the Department of State knew of the extreme risk and danger involved in decedent’s fact-finding mission to Guyana, it intentionally, maliciously and with concious disregard of the safety of decedent failed to warn decedent of such extreme risk and danger.

Wherefore, plaintiffs, as survivors of decedent, prays judgment against defendant, United States of America as follows:

1. For general damages in the sum of #3,000,000.
2. For funeral expenses in the amount of $1481.20.
3. For costs of the suit herein.
4. For such other and further relief as the court deems just and proper.

Dated: July 31, 1980

Lewis, Lewis & Less
By: /s/ Marvin E. Lewis
Marvin E. Lewis
Attorney for Plaintiff

Originally posted on February 11th, 2021.

Last modified on October 12th, 2021.
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