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MONTEMAYOR v. FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS

August 25, 2005.

MATIAS MONTEMAYOR, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GLADYS KESSLER, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [Dkt #62] and Defendant's Second Renewed Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment or to Transfer (Def.'s Mot.") [Dkt. #61]. Having considered the Motions, the Oppositions, the Replies, the entire record in this case, and the applicable case law, the Court will deny both Motions.

I. BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff is a federal prisoner who has been in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") since 1981. Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint ("Sec. Amd. Compl."), ¶ 4; Def.'s Mot., Ex. 1 ("Montemayor Dep.") at 4. He brings this action against BOP under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. Sec. Amd. Compl., ¶ 2.

  Since 1993, BOP's records have designated Plaintiff an associate of a Security Threat Group ("STG" or "STG group") because of his alleged affiliation with a prison gang.*fn1 Sec. Amd. Compl., ¶ 7; Pl.'s Facts, Ex. 6 (Wilford Dep.) at 75.*fn2 Plaintiff consistently has denied any gang association, and asserts that BOP's records pertaining to him in this regard are entirely false. See Sec. Amd. Compl., ¶¶ 6-8, 13.

  Plaintiff alleges that BOP's reliance on the false records of gang association "began a pattern of regularly isolating [Plaintiff] in administrative detention," including confinement in a small cell, severe restrictions on activities, and restrictions on access to his personal property.*fn3 Sec. Amd. Compl., ¶ 9. These periods of administrative detention, he alleges, caused substantial stress and has adversely affected his health.*fn4 Id., ¶¶ 14-15. In particular, Plaintiff remains concerned that actual members of the gang will retaliate against him. Id., ¶ 16.

  In 2002, BOP determined that the STG designation was not warranted. Sec. Amd. Compl., ¶ 20. Although BOP stated that it would remove the STG designation from its records pertaining to Plaintiff, the agency allegedly continues to maintain and rely upon false records of gang association. Id., ¶ 21. Consequently, Plaintiff has been placed in administrative detention on other occasions solely on the basis of the alleged gang affiliation, and has been transferred from one BOP facility to another. Id., ¶¶ 22-23. Such treatment, Plaintiff alleged, constitutes a "continuing pattern of harassment . . . that has gone on for over a decade." Id., ¶ 23.

  In this action, Plaintiff demands, among other relief, monetary damages and amendment or expungement of the inaccurate records. Sec. Amd. Compl., ¶ 33.

  II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

  With regard to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12, a complaint should not be dismissed unless the "`plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.2d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-45 (1957)). In deciding a motion to dismiss, a court must "accept the plaintiff's factual allegations as true and construe the complaint `liberally,' `grant[ing] plaintiff? the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged.'" Browning, 292 F.3d at 235 (quoting Kowal v. MCI Communications Corp., 16 F.2d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994)).

  For a motion to transfer, 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a) provides that "[f]or the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action to any other district or division where it might have been brought." Section 1404(a) vests "discretion in the district court? to adjudicate motions for transfer according to an individualized, case-by-case consideration of convenience and fairness." Stewart, 487 U.S. at 27 (internal citations omitted). The moving party bears the burden of establishing that the transfer of the action to another federal district is proper. See Shenandoah Assoc. Ltd. P'ship v. Tirana, 182 F. Supp.2d 14, 25 (D.D.C. 2001).

  Finally, with regard to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, such dispositive motions may be granted if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A material fact is one "that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When evaluating a summary judgment motion, "[c]redibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge." Id. at 255; Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). The party opposing a motion for summary judgment "may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleadings, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 248; see also, Jackson v. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, 101 F.2d 145, 150 (D.C. Cir. 1996).

  III. DEFENDANT'S SECOND RENEWED MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR ...


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