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Bean v. District of Columbia Courts

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 14, 2013

ADRIAN K. BEAN, Plaintiff,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURTS et al., Defendants

ADRIAN K. BEAN, Plaintiff, Pro se, Washington, DC.

For DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURTS, D.C. ATTORNEY GENERAL, WALLACE S. LEWIS, II, BETTY M. BALLESTER, Defendants: Kerslyn D. Featherstone, LEAD ATTORNEY, Shermineh C. Jones, OFFICE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Page 94

EMMET G. SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, alleges that he was removed from the D.C. Superior Court's Criminal Justice Act Investigator Panel (" the Panel" ) without due process of law, in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Plaintiff names as defendants the District of Columbia Courts, the D.C. Attorney General, Wallace S. Lewis III, and Betty M. Ballester. See Compl. Caption; Defs' Mot. to Dismiss or in the Alternative Mot. for Summ. J. [Dkt. # 9] at 1 nn.1, 2 (correcting the names of Lewis and Ballester). Plaintiff sues under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under the common law for intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful discharge, and tortuous interference with prospective advantage. Compl. ¶ ¶ 2-3.

Defendants move to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted or for summary judgment under Rule 56. Upon consideration of the parties' submissions and the entire record, the Court finds that plaintiff has failed to state a constitutional claim and, thus, will grant defendants' motion as to plaintiff's § 1983 claim. Pursuant 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c), the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's common claims and, thus, will dismiss the case.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that for more than 20 years, he was " an investigator under the . . . CJA Program" administered by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Compl. ¶ 5. At the time he initiated this action in April 2012, plaintiff " was most recently certified for membership on the . . . Panel under Administrative Order 02-24, issued August 1, 2002." Compl. ¶ 9. Plaintiff " was one of 100 investigators so certified." Id. As a Panel member, plaintiff " conducted investigations for criminal defendants in Superior Court without incident, and with no formal accusations of misconduct ever being lodged against me." Id. ¶ 10.

On September 28, 2010, Superior Court Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield issued Administrative Order 10-14, re-establishing the Panel. Id. ¶ ¶ 11-12; see Defs.' Mot., Ex. 2 [Dkt. # 9-5, ECF pp. 4-6] (Superior Court of the District of Columbia Administrative Order 10-14). On December 1, 2010, in accordance with the administrative order, plaintiff submitted his application to " the Office of Defender Services" for Panel " recertification." Compl. ¶ 14. Allegedly, " [a]s of March 31, 2011, [plaintiff's] name, along with the names of 27 other investigators, was recommended by the Investigator Advisory Committee for placement on what is known as the 'Provisional List'." Id. ¶ 15. Following Defender Services' alleged receipt of the FBI's clearance materials, plaintiff believed that he had satisfied the " requirements for [his] placement on the . . . Panel[.]" Id. ¶ 16.

On April 11, 2011, defendant Lewis, as Chief of the Defender Services Branch of Superior Court, allegedly informed plaintiff " verbally" that he was " suspended as a CJA investigator" and that his " name had been removed from the official Provisional List of candidates to be sent to Chief Judge Satterfield for approval." Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiff alleges that his " suspension was confirmed by a mass e-mail sent from . . . Ballester, President of the Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association, to all CJA attorneys, advising them of [plaintiff's] suspension, based on information received

Page 95

from Mr. Lewis' office." Id. Allegedly, the e-mail attributed plaintiff's suspension to notification from the " Finance Department [] of possible violations of the attorney-client privilege . . . ." Id. On April 12, 2011, the Investigator Advisory Committee submitted 27 names of investigators who later were selected for the CJA Panel; plaintiff was not listed. See Defs.' Ex. 3 [Dkt. # 9-5, ECF pp. 8-13] (Superior Court of the District of Columbia Administrative Order 11-05). Plaintiff alleges that his placement on that list would have been " a virtual guarantee of placement on the Investigator Panel" and that he was omitted because Lewis " arbitrarily, and without just cause, removed [his] name from the official Provisional List." Id. ¶ ¶ 18-19.

On April 29, 2011, plaintiff wrote a letter to Lewis, requesting " [f]ormal notice of the reasons behind my suspension," a hearing, and " information on my CJA Investigator Panel status." Id. ¶ 20. On May 16, 2011, plaintiff received an e-mail from Lewis containing a form letter titled " Investigator Candidate Non-Selection," which advised plaintiff that he had not been selected for the Panel. Id. ¶ 21. Plaintiff alleges that he has " never received official, written notice of my suspension and the reasons for it, nor was I given a hearing to address any allegations," as is required by " the Court's Rules, Administrative Orders and Guidelines." Id. ΒΆ 23. Plaintiff alleges that " [a]s with my suspension, I have every reason to believe that my exclusion from the CJA Panel was orchestrated by Mr. Lewis, with or without ...


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