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Hammond v. D.C. Record Center

January 22, 2009

KENNETH HAMMOND, PLAINTIFF,
v.
D.C. RECORD CENTER AND
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, DEFENDANTS.



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

Document No. 6

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART,WITHOUT PREJUDICE, THE DEFENDANTS'MOTION TO DISMISS

I. INTRODUCTION

This case comes before the court on the defendants' motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment. The plaintiff, who was sentenced in the District of Columbia Superior Court to serve 15 1/2 years for various crimes, alleges that the defendants violated his constitutional rights by denying him good-time credits that would have reduced his sentence. The defendants lodge several objections to the plaintiff's complaint that go largely unanswered. Because the plaintiff names improper defendants and because he does not state a cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, the court grants the defendants' motion to dismiss these improper parties and claims. But because the plaintiff raises for the first time in his opposition to the defendants' motion new allegations under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 et seq., and names two new defendants to his Fifth Amendment claim, the court denies, without prejudice, the defendants' motion as to these claims so that the court may receive the benefit of full briefing.

II. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The defendants' unopposed statement of facts indicates that the District of Columbia Superior Court sentenced the plaintiff to 3 to 9 years imprisonment for robbery on July 13, 1992. Defs.' Statement of Material Facts ("Defs.' Statement") ¶ 2. Four days later, the District of Columbia Superior Court sentenced the plaintiff to 3 to 6 years imprisonment for burglary and 180 days for violating the Bail Reform Act. Id. ¶ 3. The court ordered that these sentences run consecutively, for a maximum term of 15 years and 180 days. Id. ¶ 4.

On April 26, 1996, the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") released the plaintiff on parole, but on February 25, 1998, the District of Columbia Board of Parole issued an order revoking the plaintiff's parole due to a violation, and ordered the plaintiff to serve the balance of his sentence. Id. ¶¶ 5-8 & n.3. The plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on May 14, 2002 in the Eastern District of Virginia. Id. ¶ 10. He alleged that he was being illegally detained because the BOP miscalculated his good-time credits. Id. The court disagreed and denied the petition on March 1, 2004. Id. ¶ 11.

In January 2005, the BOP deducted 120 days of the plaintiff's good-time credit for "Escape" and "possessing Intoxicants." Id. ¶¶ 13-14. The plaintiff alleges in his current complaint and opposition that this forfeiture was illegal.*fn1 Compl. ¶ 1. The BOP released the plaintiff on July 12, 2005, but the plaintiff was to continue on parole until May 29, 2009. Defs.' Statement ¶ 15.

On February 23, 2007, the plaintiff was arrested on a warrant for violation of parole, and on April 23, 2007, he admitted violating his parole and accepted a 13-month sentence. Id. ¶¶ 17, 19. He was subsequently released on March 20, 2008. Id. ¶ 29. Before his release, however, on January 25, 2008, the plaintiff filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, alleging violations of the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments based on the purported illegal forfeiture of 150 days of good-time credit. Compl. ¶ 1. The BOP removed the action to this court and filed a motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment on April 3, 2008. See generally Defs.' Mot. The plaintiff responded on May 2, 2008, adding a claim under the FTCA and two new defendants. See generally Pl.'s Opp'n. The court now turns to address the defendants' motion.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard for Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

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)). "Such simplified notice pleading is made possible by the liberal opportunity for discovery and the other pre-trial procedures established by the Rules to disclose more precisely the basis of both claim and defense to define more narrowly the disputed facts and issues." Conley, 355 U.S. at 47-48 (internal quotation marks omitted). It is not necessary for the plaintiff to plead all elements of his prima facie case in the complaint, Swierkiewicz v. Sonoma N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 511-14 (2002), or "plead law or match facts to every element of a legal theory," Krieger v. Fadely, 211 F.3d 134, 136 (D.C. Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Yet, the plaintiff must allege "any set of facts consistent with the allegations." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 (2007) (abrogating the oft-quoted language from Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-56,instructing courts not to dismiss for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that "no set of facts in support of his claim [] would entitle him to relief"); Aktieselskabet AF 21. Nov. 2001 v. Fame Jeans, Inc., 525 F.3d 8, 16 n.4 (D.C. Cir. 2008)(affirming that "a complaint needs some information about the circumstances giving rise to the claims"). While these facts must "possess enough heft to 'sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief,'" a complaint "does not need detailed factual allegations." Twombly,127 S.Ct. at 1964, 1966. In resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must treat the complaint's factual allegations -- including mixed questions of law and fact -- 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); Holy Land Found. for Relief & Dev. v. Ashcroft, 333 F.3d 156, 165 (D.C. Cir. 2003); Browning, 292 F.3d at ...


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