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George E. Carter-El v. District of Columbia Department of Corrections et al

September 28, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton United States District Judge


In this action brought pro se, the plaintiff is a District of Columbia prisoner suing the District of Columbia Department of Corrections ("Department of Corrections") and the United States Parole Commission ("Parole Commission") for allegedly "imposing an unlawful term of parole without judicial authorization . . . ." Civil Rights and Federal Tort Claim Acts Pursuant to 42 U.SC. § 1983 and 28 U.SC. §§ 2671-2680 ("Compl.") at 1. In dismissing an earlier action for habeas corpus relief filed by the plaintiff based on the same events underlying this action, the Court rejected the foregoing argument as "lack[ing] a basis in law and reason" because it found that the Parole Commission properly exercised parole supervision over the plaintiff and did not usurp the authority of the sentencing judge. Carter-El v. Fulwood, 819 F. Supp. 2d 38, 40-41 (D.D.C. 2011).

The Parole Commission moves to dismiss the instant complaint for monetary damages under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

See Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss ("Def.'s Mem.") [Dkt. # 9] at 1. The plaintiff has opposed the defendant's motion and moves for summary judgment under Rule 56. Plaintiff's Opposition and/or Summary Judgment Pursuant to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss His Complaint ("Pl.'s Opp'n") [Dkt. # 13]. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions, the Court will grant the federal defendant's motion to dismiss and will deny the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. In addition, the Court, acting sua sponte, will dismiss the complaint against the Department of Corrections because it is not a suable entity.


The relevant facts as set forth in the Court's published opinion issued in the earlier related habeas case, Carter-El v. Fulwood, Civ. No. 10-1778 (RBW), are as follows.

On January 29, 1986, the petitioner pled guilty in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to one count of armed robbery, and, on March 18, 1986, was sentenced to a prison term of nine to 27 years . . . . On December 15, 1987, the petitioner was convicted following a jury trial in Superior Court of two counts of armed robbery and one count of carrying a pistol without a license ("CPWL"); he was sentenced on March 24, 1988, to a prison term of 13 to 40 years . . . . On October 17, 2001, following a remand of the petitioner's criminal case to the Superior Court, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ultimately affirmed the armed robbery and CPWL convictions. See Carter v. United States, 791 A.2d 23 (D.C. 2001); Carter v. United States, 684 A.2d 331 (D.C. 1996).

. . . . Currently, the petitioner's aggregate sentence of 22 to 67 years' imprisonment based on the foregoing Superior Court sentences imposed in March 1986 and March 1988 is set to expire on April 3, 2053.

On January 30, 2009, the petitioner was released to parole supervision under conditions set by the [Parole Commission] . . . . On December 7, 2009, the [Parole Commission] issued a parole violator warrant based on the petitioner's alleged illegal use of a controlled substance, his failure to submit to mandatory drug testing, and his arrest for several criminal offenses; the warrant was executed on April 29, 2010 . . . . Following a probable cause hearing on May 4, 2010, at which the petitioner was represented by counsel, the [Parole Commission's] hearing examiner found probable cause and scheduled a parole revocation hearing on June 7, 2010 . . . . When the petitioner, his counsel, and all but one of the requested witnesses failed to appear at the scheduled revocation hearing, the hearing examiner surmised that "there was a mix up in the case," continued the matter, and indicated that the "hearing must be heard sometime before 7/25/10 . . . ." In November 2010, the [Parole Commission] realized that the petitioner had not received a revocation hearing and, through a series of e-mails with the petitioner's attorney, rescheduled the hearing for February 10, 2011 . . . .

Following the petitioner's parole revocation hearing on February 10, 2011, the [Parole Commission] found no parole violation and ordered the petitioner's release again to parole supervision.

Carter-El, 819 F. Supp. 2d at 39-40.

On June 16, 2011, the plaintiff filed this civil action seeking $3 million in monetary damages. Compl. at 12. Although the plaintiff listed his address in the complaint's caption as a residence in the District of Columbia, his current address of record is the District of Columbia Jail. In his complaint in this case, the plaintiff invokes the Fifth and Eighth amendments to the Constitution and also purports to bring a common law negligence claim. See id. at 8-10; see also Pl.'s Opp'n at 2 ("In June, 2011, Carter-El commenced a civil rights complaint against the officials of the D.C. Dep[artment] of Corrections . . . purporting to allege Fifth and Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution . . . .")


A. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(1) for Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction "Federal district courts are courts of limited jurisdiction," and "[i]t is to be presumed that a cause lies outside this limited jurisdiction." Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994) (citations omitted). The plaintiff therefore bears the initial burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction over his claim. Id.; see Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec., 527 F. Supp. 2d 101, 104 (D.D.C. 2007). In deciding a motion brought under Rule 12(b)(1), the Court "may consider materials outside the pleadings" and it must "accept all of the ...

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