WILLIAM R. BROOKS, Plaintiff,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Defendant.
PAUL L. FRIEDMAN, District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim [ECF No. 10]. For the reasons discussed below, the motion will be granted.
Plaintiff is in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") serving a term of 85 months' incarceration. As described by Judge Gwin in his opinion denying plaintiff's motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 to vacate or correct his sentence:
On March 27, 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Petitioner Brooks and two co-defendants, for, among other things, conspiracy and bank fraud.... [T]he government filed a superseding indictment against Brooks, and Brooks appeared pro se during the arraignment hearing on the superseding indictment.
A jury trial was scheduled to commence on April 2, 2009. But on the day of trial, Brooks changed his plea and entered into a plea agreement. With the plea agreement, Brooks agreed to plead guilty to all seventeen counts. The court sentenced Brooks to a term of 85 months' incarceration on Counts one through seventeen, to be followed by a five-year term of supervised release.
Brooks v. United States, No. 1:08-CR-141, 2012 WL 3075129, at *1 (N.D. Ohio July 28, 2012) (citations and footnote omitted).
In his complaint in the instant case, plaintiff sets forth many more legal conclusions than factual allegations. Upon review of the exhibits plaintiff has attached to his complaint, it is apparent that he is challenging the accuracy of information in the presentence investigation report ("PSI") prepared in connection with his prior offense conduct. See generally Compl. at 7-10; see id., Ex. (Privacy Act Request) [ECF No. 1 at 20]. Specifically, plaintiff objects to "the offense conduct detailed in paragraphs 86 an[d] 90" of the PSI with respect to "two questioned offenses (Aggravated Assault in Case No. CR300707 and Domestic Violence in Case No. CR442393, both cases in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas)." Compl., Ex. (Letter to plaintiff from Keith Schutter, Supervising U.S. Probation Officer, United States Probation Office for the Northern District of Ohio, dated February 7, 2012) [ECF No. 1 at 10]. Plaintiff later opines that, based on his prior state convictions, the judge "sentenced [him] to the mid-point of the advisory guideline range due to his propensity to commit violent acts as denoted in the [PSI]." Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss ("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 7. According to plaintiff, the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), in turn, allegedly relied on this inaccurate retelling of plaintiff's offense conduct and, for that reason, deemed him ineligible for designation to "a lower security facility... closest to his release residence that would allow for better family ties." Id.
According to plaintiff, BOP failed to ensure the accuracy of information in its records about him, Compl. at 7 (Ground One), notwithstanding submission of official plea hearing transcripts to support his challenge, id. at 8 (Ground Three), and it intentionally continues to maintain such false records so as to cause him "adverse harm and injury." Id. at 9 (Ground Four). Plaintiff demands amendment of the false information contained in the PSI and reinstatement of "all rights, privileges, and benefits to which [he] would have... been entitled." Id. at 9 (Request for Relief). The Court presumes that, through this litigation, plaintiff seeks reassessment of his custody classification by BOP and a designation to a lower security facility. See id., Ex. (Request for Administrative Remedy and responses of the Warden of FCI McDowell and the Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region) [ECF No. 1 at 26-30].
"The Privacy Act regulates the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals by federal agencies." Wilson v. Libby, 535 F.3d 697, 707 (D.C. Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). Subsection (e)(5) of the Privacy Act requires that an agency "maintain all records which are used by the agency in making any determination about any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as to assure fairness to the individual in the determination." 5 U.S.C. § 552a(e)(5). An individual may request access to and amendment of an agency's records or information in a system of records pertaining to him. See id. § 552a(d). That individual may file a civil action against an agency which "makes a determination... not to amend an individual's record in accordance with his request, " id. § 552a(g)(1)(A), or if the agency:
fails to maintain any record concerning any individual with such accuracy, relevance, timeliness, and completeness as is necessary to assure fairness in any determination relating to the qualifications, character, rights, or opportunities of, or benefits to the individual that may be made on the basis of such record, and consequently a determination is made which is adverse to the individual.
Id. § 552a(g)(1)(C). And if the Court determines that the agency's actions were willful or intentional, it may award actual damages sustained by the individual as a result of the agency's failure to maintain its records with the requisite level of accuracy, and further may award costs of the action and attorney fees. Id. § 552a(g)(4).
An agency head may promulgate regulations to exempt any system of records within the agency from any part of the Privacy Act, except subsections (b), (c)(1) and (2), (e)(4)(A) through (F), (e)(6), (7), ...