United States District Court, District of Columbia
JARED S. FOGLE, pro se, Plaintiff,
TANYA WALTON-PRATT et al., Defendants.
N. MCFADDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jared S. Fogle, pro se, alleges that the judicial
officers, prosecutors, and defense attorneys involved in his
criminal proceedings as well as the “Attorney General
of the United States, Obama Administration” committed
various federal crimes, including obstruction of justice
under 18 U.S.C. § 1503 and violation of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
(“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.
Compl. 1, 3-4, ECF No. 1. He seeks $57 million in
restitution. Id. 18 ¶ 3. Because this Court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction with respect to the judges,
prosecutor, and Attorney General; and because Mr. Fogle has
failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted with
respect to his former defense attorneys, this case will be
dismissed. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (requiring a
court to review “as soon as practicable after
docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner
seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer of
employee of a governmental entity” and dismiss it if
the complaint “is frivolous, malicious, or fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted” or
“seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.”; see also Id. §
1915(e)(2). Mr. Fogle also filed a Motion for Injunctive
Relief, requesting a court order that he be allowed to
continue communicating with his co-plaintiffs,  and a Motion to
Take Judicial Notice that the United States failed to allege
any “injury-in-fact” in his 2015 criminal
proceedings. Mot. for Inj. Relief, ECF No. 3; Mot. to Take
Judicial Notice, ECF No. 4. Due to the case's dismissal,
both motions will be denied as moot.
2015, Mr. Fogle, represented by counsel, pled guilty to
distributing and receiving, and conspiring to distribute and
receive, child pornography in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
2252(a)(2), and attempting to travel to engage in illegal
sexual conduct with a minor in violation of Sections 2423(b)
and (e). United States v. Fogle, 825 F.3d 354, 356
(7th Cir. 2016); United States v. Fogle, No.
1:15-cr-00159, 2015 WL 7253333 (S.D. Ind. Nov. 16, 2015). Mr.
Fogle is currently serving a 188-month sentence in Littleton,
Colorado. Id.; Compl. 18. He now contends that the
judges, prosecutor, and defense attorneys involved in his
criminal proceedings obstructed justice and violated RICO in
handling his case. See Compl. 1, 3. Although Mr.
Fogle originally filed suit with two other inmates, there is
no common factual ground among the three cases, and only Mr.
Fogle's claims are considered here. Mr. Fogle, a former
spokesman for Subway, Inc., demands $57 million under 18
U.S.C. § 1964(c) as treble damages for reputational harm
to his professional business career. See Compl. 18.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” This
requires the complaint to contain sufficient factual
allegations that, if true, “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A complaint is
insufficient if it merely offers “‘labels and
conclusions'” or “‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555,
546). Rather, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. Plausibility “asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully, ”
id., and pleading facts that are “merely
consistent with” a defendant's liability
“stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545-46.
evaluating the dismissal of a complaint for failure to state
a claim, the Court must construe the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff and accept as true all
reasonable factual inferences drawn from well-pled factual
allegations. See In re United Mine Workers of Am. Emp.
Benefit Plans Litig., 854 F.Supp. 914, 915 (D.D.C.
1994). Pro se pleadings are to be liberally
construed and “held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972), but the Court does not
accept as true legal conclusions or “[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. Last, “[i]n determining whether a complaint
fails to state a claim, [the court] may consider only the
facts alleged in the complaint, any documents either attached
to or incorporated in the complaint and matters of which [the
court] may take judicial notice.” Hurd v. District
of Columbia Gov't, 864 F.3d 671, 678 (D.C. Cir.
2017) (quoting EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier Parochial
Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624 (D.C. Cir. 1997)).
may also be dismissed with respect to a defendant if that
defendant is protected by immunity. Immunity is
“jurisdictional in nature, ” meaning that the
court lacks the ability to enter judgment against an immune
defendant. FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1995).
Judges, prosecutors, and federal officials are immune from
suits for civil damages for conduct within the scope of their
official capacities. Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S.
511, 520 (1985). The doctrine of judicial immunity shields
judges from lawsuits for money damages for actions that are
judicial in nature. Mireles v. Waco, 502 U.S. 9, 11
(1991); Sindram v. Suda, 986 F.2d 1459, 1460 (D.C.
Cir. 1993). Prosecutors receive immunity for any actions
taken in the judicial phase of the criminal process. Gray
v. Bell, 712 F.2d 490, 499 (D.C. Cir. 1983).
Additionally, under the doctrine of sovereign immunity,
“the United States may not be sued without its
consent” and “the existence of consent is a
prerequisite for jurisdiction.” United States v.
Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). This immunity also
applies to a federal official sued in their official
capacity. Clark v. Library of Congress, 750 F.2d 89,
103 (D.C. Cir. 1984); see also Kentucky v. Graham,
473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985).
doctrines of judicial, prosecutorial, and sovereign immunity
bar Mr. Fogle's claims against the judicial officers,
prosecutors, and former Attorney General of the United
States. Additionally, Mr. Fogle has also failed to state a
claim with respect to his former defense attorneys.
Fogle has sued four federal judges: two United States
District Judges and two judges on the United States Court of
Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the “Judicial
Defendants”). Compl. 1. Judge Walton-Pratt sentenced
Mr. Fogle after his guilty plea, and Judges Flaum, Manion,
and Alonso (a district judge sitting by designation on Mr.
Fogle's appeal panel) affirmed his sentence.
Fogle, 825 F.3d at 355. Mr. Fogle alleges that the
Judicial Defendants obstructed justice and violated RICO by
inducing his guilty plea, entering his conspiracy conviction
(which he claims is not actually a federal offense because it
is not codified in 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(2)), affirming
that conviction on appeal, scheming to defraud his
corporation, Jared Fogle, Inc., of its assets, causing him to
transmit wire communications across state lines to his
attorneys in order to secure a wire fraud conviction, and
altering the content of the attorneys' arguments in
judicial proceedings. Compl. 5-6 ¶¶ 3-7, 7 ¶
doctrine of judicial immunity protects judges from
“suits for money damages for all actions taken in the
judge's judicial capacity, unless these actions are taken
in the complete absence of all jurisdiction.”
Sindram, 986 F.2d at 1460. RICO actions against
judges are barred by judicial immunity “if they simply
constitute another way of attacking a judge's
rulings” and where “the RICO-challenged acts are
judicial in nature.” Thomas v. Wilkens, 61
F.Supp.3d 13, 20 (D.D.C. 2014) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Asserting that a judge acted in furtherance of
conspiracy or corruption does not make a judicial act
“less judicial.” Id.
Judicial Defendants acted within their judicial capacity with
respect to Mr. Fogle and therefore are protected by judicial
immunity. All of the allegations that Mr. Fogle levels
against the Judicial Defendants occurred while the judges
were performing acts that are judicial in nature. See,
e.g., Compl. 5 ¶ 5 (alleging that the judges
affirmed his conviction). Mr. Fogle does not allege a single
instance when a judicial officer acted outside the scope of
the judicial role to attempt to “obstruct
justice.” See Compl. 5-7. Furthermore, Mr.
Fogle's allegation that the Judicial Defendants invented
a conspiracy offense to charge him with is inaccurate as a
matter of law. See Compl. 5 ¶ 2 (calling the
conspiracy charge “illegal”). While 18 U.S.C.
§ 2552(a)(2) does not codify a conspiracy offense, 18
U.S.C. § 371 makes it an offense for two or more persons
to conspire to commit any federal offense, including
distribution and receipt of child pornography under Section
2552(a)(2). See United States v. McGarity, 669 F.3d
1218, 1251 (11th Cir. 2012). Additionally, in Heck v.
Humphrey, the Supreme Court held that an individual
seeking damages for “harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence
invalid” must “prove that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, . . . or called into question by a federal
court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.” ...