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.

Gross v. Lappin

August 27, 2009

JAMES ELMER GROSS, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARLEY G. LAPPIN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion to dismiss and plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. The Court will grant the former and deny the latter, and this action will be dismissed in its entirety with prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff has submitted his complaint on an eight-page preprinted form ("Comp.") to which he attaches a 23-page typewritten statement ("Attach."). The complaint's Statement of Claim section reads:

The defendants Harley G. Lappin[,] Director of the Bureau of Prisons, is responsible for plaintiff being transferred to five U.S. penitentiaries, and Harrell Watts[,] Administrator of National Inmate Appeals[,] is responsible for plaintiff being transferred to USP Beaumont[,] which houses inmates from Baltimore City. Dispite [sic] having complete knowledge that plaintiff was verified as requiring protective custody from inmates who were from the Baltimore[,] Maryland area[,] [t]he defendants act with deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious safety needs. The defendants placed plaintiff in general population with reckless disregard for a substantial risk of serious harm[] which ultimately resulted in plaintiff being placed and held in administrative detention well over four years and three months as of this 6/25/2008. The defendants have simply transferred plaintiff from one prison to another, subjecting plaintiff to inhumane conditions of confinement, which amount to the willful, intentional infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. The defendants have knowingly and unreasonably disregarded an objectively intolerable risk of harm and they are continuing to do so. Plaintiff was prosecuted and convicted in the State of Maryland, City of Baltimore[,] under the R.I.C.O. Act, which received substantial media attention for at least two years, particularly in the Baltimore City, Md. Area.[*fn1 ] In which many articles printed in the Baltimore Sun newspaper wrongly depicted plaintiff as being an informant for the federal government. Upon arrival at each prison, plaintiff make intake staff aware of his problems that exist with the inmates from Baltimore City and voiced concerns as to being placed in general population, due to the fact that inmates from Baltimore were being housed there. All of the prisons staff suggest that I be placed in general population except Big Sandy whom immediately placed plaintiff in administrative detention pending a transfer.

The defendants only means of a remedy amount to the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment, due to the duration of the isolated confinement, and prison officials['] failure to implement another remedy for plaintiff's situation. Therefore the defendants has [sic] exposed plaintiff to additional forms of punishment not authorized by the criminal sentencing court.

Compl. at 2-3. Plaintiff demands injunctive relief "barring future confinement in any penitentiary which houses inmates from the Baltimore area,... [and] future administrative detention as a remedy to plaintiff's serious safety needs," as well as "a cease and desist order as to prison officials['] deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious safety needs." Id. at 8. He also demands unspecified damages. Id.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Res Judicata (Claim Preclusion)

Generally, a plaintiff is expected to "present in one suit all the claims for relief that he may have arising out of the same transaction or occurrence." U.S. Indus., Inc. v. Blake Constr. Co., Inc., 765 F.2d 195, 205 (D.C. Cir. 1985) (quoting 1B J. Moore, Moore's Federal Practice, ¶ 0.410[1] (1983)). "Under res judicata, a final judgment on the merits bars further claims by parties or their privies based on the same cause of action," Montana v. United States, 440 U.S. 147, 153 (1979), on "any ground for relief which [the parties] already have had an opportunity to litigate[,] even if they chose not to exploit that opportunity[,]" regardless of the soundness of the earlier judgment, Hardison v. Alexander, 655 F.2d 1281, 1288 (D.C. Cir. 1981). Among other things, the doctrine is designed to promote judicial economy by preventing needless litigation. See Parklane Hosiery Co. v. Shore, 439 U.S. 322, 326 (1979) (citation omitted). "[A] subsequent lawsuit will be barred if there has been prior litigation (1) involving the same claims or cause of action, (2) between the same parties or their privies, and (3) there has been a final, valid judgment on the merits, (4) by a court of competent jurisdiction." Smalls v. United States, 471 F.3d 186, 192 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (citations omitted); see Polsby v. Thompson, 201 F. Supp. 2d 45, 48 (D.D.C. 2002); Brannock Assocs., Inc. v. Capitol 801 Corp., 807 F. Supp. 127, 134 (D.D.C.1992).

B. Gross v. Unknown Director of the Bureau of Prisons, No. 7:08-cv-0111 (E.D. Ky. May 30, 2008)

On May 28, 2008, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, plaintiff filed a civil action against forty-four officials and employees of the BOP who allegedly "are responsible in part for plaintiff being transferred to five United States Penitentiaries which house inmates from Baltimore City."*fn2 Defs.' Mot., Ex. A (Gross v. Forty-Four Members of the Bureau of Prisons, No. 7:08-cv-0111 (E.D. Ky. May 28, 2008) (complaint)) at 2.*fn3 The complaint further alleged:

Dispite [sic] having complete knowledge that plaintiff was verified as requiring protective custody[] from inmates who were from Baltimore City[,] the defendants did act with deliberate indifference to plaintiff's serious safety needs. The defendants place[d] plaintiff in general population with reckless disregard for a substantial risk of serious harm... [w]hich ultimately resulted in plaintiff being placed and held in administrative detention well over four years and two months, as of this very day 5/15/2008. The defendants have simply transferred plaintiff from one prison to another, subjecting plaintiff to inhumane conditions of confinement which amounts to the willful intentional infliction of cruel and unusual punishment. The defendants have knowingly and unreasonably disregarded an objectively intolerable risk of harm, and they are continuing to do so. Plaintiff was prosecuted and convicted in the City of Baltimore, Md[.]... [a case] which received substantial media attention for almost two years, particularly in the Baltimore, Md. area. In which many of the articles depicted plaintiff as being an informant for the federal government. Upon arrival at each prison, plaintiff made intake staff aware of the problems he had experienced in each prison with the inmates from Baltimore City and voiced concerns as to being placed in general population, due to the fact that inmates from Baltimore were being housed there. All of the staff members suggest that I be placed in general population except Big Sandy whom immediately placed plaintiff in administrative detention pending a transfer. The defendants['] only means of a remedy to plaintiff's situation amount to the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment, due to the duration of the isolated confinement and prison officials failure to implement another remedy for the situation. Therefore, the defendants has [sic] exposed plaintiff to additional forms of punishment not authorized by the criminal sentencing court.

Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff demanded "an immediate injunction barring future administrative detention as a remedy to plaintiff's serious safety needs,... an injunction barring future confinement in any U.S. penitentiary that house[s] hostile inmates from Baltimore City,... a cease and desist order as to prison official[s'] deliberate indifferent [sic] ...


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.