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Ibrahim v. Dist. of Columbia

March 12, 2008

JIBRIL L. IBRAHIM, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James Robertson United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

In this action, the fortieth suit on file in this District in which he is or has been a party, federal inmate Jibril Ibrahim brings what the Court of Appeals has called a "smorgasbord" of claims. See Ibrahim v. Dist. of Columbia, 463 F.3d 3, 7 (D.C. Cir. 2006). He names as defendants the District of Columbia, the United States, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") and a number of officials and employees of the BOP in their individual and official capacities. My earlier dismissal was reversed (in part), and the case was remanded for reconsideration.*fn1

I. BACKGROUND

Mr. Ibrahim alleges that, in May 2001, he was in the custody of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("DOC"), confined at the Central Facility in Lorton, Virginia. He further alleges that, following a blood-test for AIDS awareness, a doctor informed him that his test results showed signs of both prostate cancer and liver damage. Ibrahim contends that, instead of having him further evaluated or scheduling corrective procedures, DOC transferred him to a federal prison on May 31, 2001. See Complaint [1] at ¶ 9.

On or about August 30, 2002, plaintiff was transferred to the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina for therapy related to his prostate cancer. Id. at ¶ 18. Treatment concluded in November, and the plaintiff was transferred back to USP-Allenwood in Pennsylvania on January 28, 2003. Id. Plaintiff alleges that follow up blood tests for his prostate cancer at Allenwood confirmed liver damage and the presence of Hepatitis C virus, but that DOC and BOP employees either negligently missed or maliciously ignored this data and failed to treat his Hepatitis C to his serious medical detriment. Id. at ¶¶ 9-10, 13.

In addition to these medical treatment claims, Ibrahim brings various additional complaints. He alleges that, when he was transferred to Butner for medical treatment, BOP employee Vitale did not forward his property in a timely manner, with the result that the United States Supreme Court dismissed one of his cases for want of prosecution. Id. at ¶¶ 22-23. Ibrahim also complains that he was denied priority placement on a prison hiring list because of an (unnamed) disability, id. at ¶¶ 25-26; that his custody/security designation makes him eligible for a lower security prison placement, but that BOP has denied him transfer to such a facility, id. at ¶ 29; that BOP improperly confiscated his coats during the winter months and subjected him to disciplinary confinement in retaliation for his filing of grievances against prison staff, id. at ¶¶ 30, 44; that, without his coat, he was exposed to soiled mattresses and clothing that caused him pain, id. at ¶ 56; and that an official at USPAllenwood violated his right to free exercise of religion by confiscating his religious headgear. Id. at ¶ 50.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

On a motion to dismiss, I must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Taylor v. FDIC, 132 F.3d 753, 761 (D.C. Cir. 1997). The Supreme Court has recently made it clear, however, that the claims in a complaint must be "plausible" rather than wholly speculative to survive a motion to dismiss -- that they must "raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of illegal[ity]." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). Dismissal is appropriate where the complaint recites only "a wholly conclusory statement of claim." Id. at 1968.

III. DISCUSSION

A. District of Columbia

My dismissal of plaintiff's claims against the District with respect to his prostate cancer as barred by res judicata was affirmed on appeal. See Ibrahim v. Dist. of Columbia, 463 F.3d 3, 7 (D.C. Cir. 2006). Plaintiff's other claims against the District will be dismissed for the reasons stated below.

The District is correct that it has no liability for conduct that occurred after plaintiff was transferred to the custody of the BOP, which is most of the content of this Complaint. See Joyner v. Dist. of Columbia, 267 F. Supp. 2d 15, 20 (D.D.C. 2003); Welch v. Kelly, 882 F. Supp. 177, 180 (D.D.C. 1995). The Complaint also makes allegations about plaintiff's lack of treatment or proper diagnosis while he was in D.C. custody, however, and those allegations are not so easily disposed of.

The District of Columbia's response to those claims is that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") while he was briefly incarcerated on its watch. The PLRA provides that:

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined to any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.

42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The exhaustion requirement of Section 1997e(a) is mandatory and "applies to all prisoners seeking redress for prison circumstances or occurrences." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 520 (2002). A prisoner must complete the administrative process "regardless of the relief offered through administrative avenues," Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001), and must properly exhaust the administrative process (i.e, in a timely and complete ...


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