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Scinto v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

March 30, 2009

PAUL SCINTO, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff Paul Scinto, Sr. seeks money damages for alleged violations of his constitutional rights while he was incarcerated in various Federal Bureau of Prisons' ("BOP") facilities between 2002 and 2007. The matter is currently before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, to transfer. After careful consideration of the parties' arguments, as well as the fact that plaintiff is pro se and that any papers drafted by him must be construed liberally, see, e.g., Richardson v. United States, 193 F.3d 545, 547 (D.C. Cir. 1999), the Court will grant defendants' motion in part and will transfer plaintiff's remaining claims to the Eastern District of North Carolina.*fn1

I. BACKGROUND

At all times relevant to this complaint, plaintiff was in the custody and control of the Bureau of Prisons. Plaintiff began a period of 78 months incarceration on October 18, 2002 at the Federal Prison Camp at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. See Compl. ¶ 9. According to the allegations in the complaint, plaintiff alerted the intake medical staff that he had a number of pre-existing medical conditions, including diabetes, a chronic right leg infection and Hepatitis C. See id. Plaintiff alleges that he received inadequate care for his leg infection and Hepatitis C, and that in late 2002 he had to receive emergency surgery on his leg. See Compl. ¶ 10. He was then transferred to the Federal Medical Center at Butner, North Carolina to receive treatment on his infected leg. See Compl. ¶ 11. He was returned to Seymour Johnson in late 2003, but was transferred back to Butner on June 5, 2005, where he remained until he was released to a halfway house on March 1, 2007. See Compl. ¶¶ 12, 14, 24. Plaintiff further alleges that he repeatedly requested treatment for his Hepatitis C, but did not receive any. See Compl. ¶¶ 11, 14, 16. Plaintiff also alleges that he did not receive proper medical treatment for his diabetes. See Compl. ¶ 15.

Plaintiff alleges that on August 24, 2005 he was locked in a dormitory for several hours without water. See Compl. ¶ 17. Plaintiff became severely ill and used an emergency phone to get help. See Compl. ¶ 18. When plaintiff was released from the dormitory, he did not receive medical treatment, but was instead given an incident report and placed in Administrative Segregation for six months. See Compl. ¶ 19. While segregated, plaintiff alleges that he was given a diet that was inappropriate for a diabetic, and that it worsened his diabetes. See Compl. ¶ 20. Plaintiff states that his requests for a wheelchair were refused, which resulted in plaintiff falling several times and further damaging his legs. See Compl. ¶ 21. Plaintiff contacted his Congressman, Walter B. Jones, on January 29, 2006, and shortly thereafter he was released to the general population. See Compl. ¶ 22. As a result of his time in segregation, however, plaintiff was deemed ineligible for a three month statutory reduction in his sentence. See Compl. ¶ 23. Plaintiff was released to a halfway house on March 1, 2007, see Compl. ¶ 24, and later released to the community.

Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), alleging violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution arising from his treatment while incarcerated. He names as defendants the Bureau of Prisons; Harley S. Lappin, Director of the BOP, in his official capacity; Kim M. White, Regional Director of the BOP Mid-Atlantic Region, in her official capacity; Patricia Stansberry, Warden of the federal correctional institution and the satellite federal prison camp at Butner, North Carolina, in her individual and official capacities; Susan G. McClintock, camp administrator at the federal prison camp at Butner, North Carolina, in her individual and official capacities; and Richard Holt, a senior officer specialist assigned to the federal prison camp at Butner, North Carolina, in his individual and official capacities. Plaintiff seeks money damages of more than five million dollars and declaratory relief.

II. DISCUSSION

A. No Personal Jurisdiction Over Non-Resident Defendants

Defendants White, Stansberry, McClintock and Holt seek dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. Plaintiff does not allege that any of these defendants are employed in, or reside in, the District of Columbia. See Compl. ¶¶ 5-8. Plaintiff has the burden to make a prima facie showing that this Court has personal jurisdiction over the defendants. See Walton v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 533 F. Supp. 2d 107, 112 (D.D.C. 2008) (citing First Chicago Int'l v. United Exch. Co., 836 F.2d 1375, 1378-79 (D.C. Cir. 1988)). To meet this burden, "[p]laintiff must allege specific facts on which personal jurisdiction can be based; he cannot rely on conclusory allegations." Walton v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 533 F. Supp. 2d at 112 (citations omitted).

To determine whether it may exercise personal jurisdiction over non-resident defendants, the Court engages in a two-part inquiry. First, the Court must determine whether jurisdiction exists under the District of Columbia's long-arm statute. See Walton v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 533 F. Supp. 2d at 112 (citing GTE New Media Services, Inc. v. Bell South Corp.,199 F.3d 1343, 1347 (D.C. Cir. 2000)). If so, the Court must determine whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction satisfies due process requirements. See Walton v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 533 F. Supp. 2d at 112 (citing GTE New Media Services, Inc. v. Bell South Corp. 199 F.3d at 1347; United States v. Ferrara, 54 F.3d 825, 828 (D.C. Cir. 1995)).

The District of Columbia long-arm statute allows a court in the District of Columbia to exercise personal jurisdiction over a non-resident defendant based on claims arising from that person's conduct in:

(1) transacting any business in the District of Columbia;

(2) contracting to supply services in the District of Columbia;

(3) causing tortious injury in the District of Columbia by an act or omission in ...


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