The opinion of the court was delivered by: URBINA
Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Complaint and Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
Pro se plaintiff Ann Armstrong brings this action seeking damages from the United States Bureau of Prison ("BOP"), several named and unnamed federal agencies,
and unnamed individuals under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (1996). Plaintiff claims that the BOP denied her the right to access and amend her prison records as provided for under the Privacy Act. This matter comes before the court on defendant BOP's summary judgment; plaintiff's opposition; plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint; and defendant's response to plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the applicable law, and the record herein, the court denies plaintiff's motion to amend the complaint as futile and grants defendant BOP's motion for summary judgment.
From June 26, 1992 to August 2, 1992, plaintiff was in the custody of the United States Attorney General's Office for conspiracy to commit mail fraud. From August 2, 1992 to November 2, 1996, plaintiff was initially held at the BOP at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, and later moved to the Federal Prison Camp at Bryan, Texas.
Plaintiff is currently on supervised release, which is scheduled to expire on November 2, 1999.
Plaintiff has been previously incarcerated from 1972 to 1978 on a separate conviction.
Plaintiff seeks to amend records that are maintained in the Inmate Central Record System.
This system contains information compiled during each period of plaintiff's incarceration.
Plaintiff alleges that her previous file, created during plaintiff's first incarceration from 1972 to 1978 ("First File"), contains both negative and favorable history. Specifically, the First File contains both information on plaintiff's escape history as well as records of plaintiff's successful participation in work/study release and furlough/community contact programs.
Plaintiff further alleges that the file created during plaintiff's second period of incarceration from 1992 to 1996 ("Second File") only contains references to her prior escape history, but not her successful participation in work/study and furlough/community contact programs.
During plaintiff's second period of incarceration, plaintiff made several requests including requests for custody reductions, a transfer to a facility closer to her family, and furloughs. On January 3, 1993, plaintiff sent a letter to Mr. R. Kelly, a Case Manager at the prison, requesting custody reduction and camp placement at a facility closer to her family.
The request was subsequently denied. Plaintiff alleges that the denial was due to her Second File having an incomplete record of her prison history.
By letter dated February 5, 1993, plaintiff requested Mr. Kelly's assistance in incorporating a record of her successful participation in the work/study and furlough/community programs into her Second File.
Plaintiff further alleges that, from February 5, 1993 to October 20, 1994, she repeatedly sought access to her Second File to amend it under the Privacy Act, but was denied each time.
On August 12, 1994, plaintiff was notified of the death of her father.
Plaintiff applied for an unescorted three-day furlough to be with her family in order to attend the funeral and assist with the funeral arrangements.
Plaintiff alleges that this request was also denied based on incomplete information in her Second File.
Following the denial, plaintiff applied for an escorted furlough to attend her father's funeral, but the request was also denied. Plaintiff alleges that defendant failed to process this second request for the escorted furlough in a timely manner, which amounted to a denial of her request.
On August 4, 1995, plaintiff filed this instant action for damages claiming that she was denied access to her First File and thus was precluded from amending her Second File, in violation of the Privacy Act.
In considering the defendant BOP's motion for summary judgment, the court must examine all evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Summary judgment should be granted if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The movant has the initial burden to show that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Id. In order to defeat the motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). The non-moving party must show there is a genuine issue for trial by way of affidavits or other documentary evidence, where a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party. Neal v. Kelly, 295 U.S. App. D.C. 350, 963 F.2d 453, 456-57 (D.C. Cir. 1992).
A. Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Complaint
In response to defendant's motion for summary judgment, plaintiff filed a motion to amend the complaint. Although defendant does not oppose plaintiff's motion to amend, defendant contends that plaintiff's amended complaint still lacks sufficient factual and legal basis to survive defendant's motion for ...