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Raul Rodriguez-Cervantes v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

April 6, 2012

RAUL RODRIGUEZ-CERVANTES,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James E. Boasberg United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Raul Rodriguez-Cervantes, a federal prisoner incarcerated in Post, Texas, brings this pro se suit under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552. In so doing, Plaintiff seems to have put the cart before the horse. Plaintiff has brought a FOIA suit before first having his FOIA request denied. Indeed, he has brought a FOIA suit before even submitting a FOIA request. As such, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and dismiss the case without prejudice.

I.Background

On December 15, 2010, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant Social Security Administration (SSA) seeking assistance regarding applying for social security benefits. See Mot., Exh. A (Declaration of Ron Cyryca), Attach. 1 (Plaintiff's Letter). The letter stated in relevant part:

I worked in the United States for about 15 years and always paid my social security deductions. Now I am a federal prisoner and upon the expiration of my sentence I will be removed to Mexico, my native country. At this time, I would like to know if there is any way/application to get my social security benefit before the age established by the S.S. policies. My question is due to the fact that I will be deported from this country and I do not know whether I should have a relative or friend in this country (which I do not have) to get those benefits or I should file some forms to get it in advance of the age required by the S.S. Administration.

Id.

SSA responded with a standard form letter in which it informed Plaintiff that "[n]either Social Security benefits not SSI payments are payable to prisoners just because they are being released or because they have been in prison." Id., Attach. 3 (SSA Letter). In addition to providing Plaintiff with a phone number to call if he wished to file for social security benefits, SSA enclosed in the letter two brochures entitled "Social Security: What Prisoners Need To Know" and "Social Security: Entering The Community After Incarceration-How We Can Help." Id.

On April 8, 2011, Plaintiff sent another letter to SSA stating:

This is a request for Social Security Disability Benefits.

In suport of my request, a deportation from the United States will be executed as soon as my current sentence be completed. The term of deportation is undefined. Although, my age is not the required in accordance with the proceedings, however, there is undisputable that a deportation will satisfy more than the necessary disability [sic].

Accordingly, please provide me with the necessary information in order to proceed with my request.

Opp., Exh. A (Plaintiff's Letter). According to Plaintiff, on April 20, 2011, the agency responded with "an identical letter as the [prior one]." Opp. at 2.

Finally, on May 12, 2011, Plaintiff sent yet another letter to SSA stating:

I am an inmate incarcerated at the Giles W. Dalby Correctional Facility in Post, Texas. Since I can't visit your office in Lubbock and I have no access to a computer, I am requesting that you please send me an ...


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