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Mark Alan Lane v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


July 8, 2011

MARK ALAN LANE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ellen Segal Huvelle United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the Court on its initial review of the complaint under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.*fn1 Plaintiff, a prisoner at the United States Penitentiary in Lompoc, California, sues the Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") under the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, for allegedly refusing to amend a 2002 judgment and commitment order contained in his inmate file to include his grand jury indictment. Plaintiff claims that the alleged inaccurate record is adversely affecting his custody and seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages. See Compl. at 3-4. Because the instant complaint presents a claim that was or could have been raised in a previous action, the Court will dismiss this action as procedurally barred.*fn2

Under the principle ofres judicata, a final judgment on the merits in one action "bars any further claim based on the same 'nucleus of facts' . . . ." Page v. United States, 729 F.2d 818, 820 (D.C. Cir. 1984) (quoting Expert Elec., Inc. v. Levine, 554 F.2d 1227, 1234 (D.C. Cir. 1977)); see Crowder v. Bierman, Geesing, and Ward LLC, 713 F. Supp. 2d 6, 10 (D.D.C. 2010) ("Under the doctrine of res judicata, or claim preclusion, 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.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Res judicata bars the relitigation "of issues that were or could have been raised in [the prior] action." Drake v. FAA, 291 F.3d 59 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (emphasis in original) (quoting Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 94 (1980)); see I.A.M. Nat'l Pension Fund v. Indus. Gear Mfg. Co., 723 F.2d 944, 949 (D.C. Cir. 1983) (noting that res judicata "forecloses all that which might have been litigated previously").

This Court previously adjudicated the merits of plaintiff's claim against BOP arising from BOP's maintenance of plaintiff's presentence investigation report contained in his inmate file. See Lane v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, Civ. No. 08-1269 (RJL) (D.D.C. June 9, 2009) (Mem. Op.) [Dkt. # 26] (Lane I) (finding BOP's inmate records to be exempt from the Privacy Act's accuracy, amendment, and damages provisions), aff'd No. 09-5228 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 7, 2010) [Dkt. # 36]. Because plaintiff could have included in the prior action the current claim arising from BOP's maintenance of the judgment and commitment order contained in his inmate file, he is foreclosed from litigating this claim in a new action.*fn3 Therefore, the case will be dismissed. See Walker v. Seldman, 471 F. Supp. 2d 106, 114 n.12 (D.D.C. 2007) ("While it is true that res judicata is an affirmative defense, courts may dismiss sua sponte when they are on notice that a claim has been previously decided because of the policy interest in avoiding 'unnecessary judicial waste.' ") (quoting Arizona v. California, 530 U.S. 392, 412 (2000)); Ficken v. Golden, 696 F. Supp. 2d 21, 34 n.13 (D.D.C. 2010) ("[B]ecause res judicata belongs to courts as well as to litigants, a court may invoke res judicata sua sponte.") (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). A separate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.


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