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Lewis v. Bayh

September 9, 2008

GEORGE M. LEWIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
EVAN BAYH, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Document No.: 12

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

I. INTRODUCTION

This case comes before the court on the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint. The pro se plaintiff, George M. Lewis, brings suit against Senator Evan Bayh, cataloguing and attributing ten years of personal difficulties to the defendant's involvement in a civil conspiracy to violate his Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), 42 U.S.C. § 1986 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The defendant moves to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint, contending that the claims fall outside the statute of limitations or alternatively that the complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Because all but six of the alleged conspiratorial acts occurred outside the statute of limitations period, the court dismisses these claims. The court dismisses four of the remaining six claims as frivolous. Because the remaining two claims fail to state a claim, the court dismisses them as well.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The plaintiff, a medical doctor filed this action alleging that he was evicted from his home in Hamilton County, Indiana, on July 9, 1998 in violation of his constitutional rights. Am. Compl. at 25. In January 2001, the plaintiff contacted Senator Charles Grassley, who forwarded the plaintiff's request for an inquiry to the Department of the Treasury three months later. Id. at 8. The Department of the Treasury subsequently had the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration ("TIGTA") investigate the allegations. Id. The TIGTA produced seven investigative reports addressing the plaintiff's numerous complaints. Id.

In August 2001, the plaintiff submitted Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") requests in an effort to obtain copies of these reports. Id. The Department of the Treasury released 509 of the 714 pages of the reports and withheld the remaining pages under applicable FOIA exemptions. Id. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed suit under FOIA in the Central District of California challenging the Department of the Treasury's decision to withhold portions of the reports, but that court upheld the claimed exemptions. Id.

The plaintiff alleges that before the decision was made to withhold the 205 pages, the defendant reviewed the documents and instructed the Department of the Treasury to block those portions of the reports from the plaintiff, thus violating his constitutional rights. Id. at 9. The plaintiff contends that the defendant blocked the pages that "pertained to the alleged official misconduct of the public officials, private citizens, business, law enforcement officer, members of the bar, and other Indiana constituents," who were all involved in a conspiracy to deprive the plaintiff of his constitutional rights. Id. After becoming aware of the conspiracy in July 2003, the plaintiff allegedly suffered numerous other harms, all in continuance of the conspiracy. See generally Am. Compl.

In 2004, the plaintiff filed a complaint in the Central District of California against Senator Bayh and various federal, state and local officials, as well as private citizens and companies alleging civil and constitutional rights violations. Id. at 2. That court dismissed without prejudice the claims against Senator Bayh for improper venue and dismissed the claims against the other defendants for failing to bring them within the statute of limitations and failing to state a cognizable claim. Id. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint. Id. at 3.

Shortly thereafter, on May 21, 2007, the plaintiff filed a complaint in this court, making similar allegations but naming only Senator Bayh as a defendant. Id. at 1. On August 3, 2007, the defendant moved to dismiss the original complaint. On September 10, 2007, prior to the court ruling on the defendant's motion to dismiss, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint. The defendant then filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. Fully briefed, the court now turns to resolve this motion.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Statute of Limitations

1. Legal Standard for Rule 12(b)(6) and Statute of Limitations

A defendant may raise the affirmative defense of statute of limitations via a Rule 12(b)(6) motion when the facts that give rise to the defense are clear from the face of the complaint. Smith-Haynie v. District of Columbia, 155 F.3d 575, 578 (D.C. Cir. 1998). Because statute of limitations issues often depend on contested questions of fact, however, the court should hesitate to dismiss a complaint on statute of limitations grounds based solely on the face of the complaint. Firestone v. Firestone, 76 F.3d 1205, 1209 (D.C. Cir. 1996). Rather, the court should grant a motion to dismiss only if the complaint on its face is conclusively time barred. Id.; Doe v. Dep't of Justice, 753 F.2d 1092, 1115 (D.C. Cir. 1985). If "no reasonable person could disagree on the date" on which the cause of action accrued, the court may dismiss a claim ...


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