Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Dominguez v. Bureau of Prisons

May 25, 2006

RAFAEL J. DOMINGUEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BUREAU OF PRISONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina ("FCI-Butner"). He is challenging the validity of the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program ("IFRP") implemented by the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"). Defendants move to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and improper venue. Because the Court concludes that venue is more appropriate in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the case will be transferred.

Background

The BOP instituted the IFRP for the purpose of encouraging "each sentenced inmate to meet his or her legitimate financial obligations." 28 C.F.R. § 541.10. These financial obligations include special assessments, court-ordered restitution, and fines. Id., § 541.11(a). Under the program, prison staff assist an inmate in developing a financial plan and monitor the inmate's progress in meeting the financial obligations. Id., § 541.11. The financial plan can impose a minimum payment of $25.00 per quarter to a maximum of 50% of an inmate's monthly UNICOR pay. Id., § 545.11(b).*fn1

The inmate is responsible for making satisfactory progress in complying with the financial plan and providing documentation of his payments. Id. Prison staff are required to monitor an inmate's progress to assess his level of responsible behavior. Id., § 545.11(c). An inmate's refusal to participate in the IFRP or to comply with his financial plan may result in negative consequences, such as the denial of furloughs and employment, commissary spending limitations, unfavorable housing, and the refusal of placement in a community-based program. Id., § 545.11(d).

On January 29, 1991, in the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, Plaintiff was sentenced to 50 years imprisonment and ordered to pay a $30,000.00 fine. Complaint ("Compl."), Document ("Doc.") 1-2, p. 5.*fn2 Plaintiff alleges that from March, 1997 to the present, he has signed an Inmate Financial Contract pursuant to the IFRP under coercion and duress. Id., ¶ 3 & Doc. 1-2, pp. 1-4, 7. The contract provides, in relevant part, that:

A staff member has provided me with information regarding the potential consequences of a refusal on my part to participate in the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program.

I agree to submit payments toward satisfaction of the financial obligation(s) indicated on this form in accordance with the payment plan outlined below. I agree to follow this payment plan until the financial obligation(s) is satisfied.

Id., p. 1. The required quarterly payment under the plan was either $25.00 or 50% of plaintiff's work salary. Id., pp. 1-4, 7.

In March, 1997, Plaintiff filed a Request for Administrative Remedy challenging the policy. Id., pp. 8-9. He contended that the BOP did not have the authority to implement a payment plan that was imposed by the United States District Court. Id., p. 11 & Compl., ¶ 8. Plaintiff's remedy was denied at the institutional level. Id., ¶ 4. On August 21, 1997, Plaintiff completed the administrative remedy process, and the BOP found that his complaint had no merit. Doc. 1-2, p. 17.Plaintiff then filed this action.*fn3

Standard of Review

Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendants move to dismiss on the grounds of lack of subject matter jurisdiction and because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The complaint need only set forth a short and plain statement of the claim, giving the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Kingman Park Civic Ass'n v. Williams, 348 F.3d 1033, 1040 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) and Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

A court should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim unless the defendant can show beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Warren v. District of Columbia, 353 F.3d 36, 37 (D.C. Cir. 2004); Kingman Park, 348 F.3d at 1040. Thus, in resolving a Rule 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(6) motion, the court must treat the complaint's factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor. Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 64, 67 (D.C. Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1149 (2004); Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft, 333 F.3d 156, 165 (D.C. Cir. 2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1218 (2004); Browning, 292 F.3d at 242. While many well-pleaded complaints are conclusory, the court need not accept as true inferences unsupported by facts set out in the complaint or legal conclusions cast as factual allegations. Warren, 353 F.3d at 39; Browning, 292 F.3d at 242. In addition, the plaintiff has the burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence. Felter v. Norton, 412 F.Supp. 2d 118, 122 (D.D.C. 2006)(citation and quotation omitted).

In resolving a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, pro se complaints are held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Accordingly, pro se plaintiffs are not required to use specific legal terms or phrases, and are granted "the benefit of all inferences that can be derived from the facts alleged." ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.