United States District Court, District of Columbia
B. WALTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss, which the Court grants for reasons discussed below.
BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Barroca (“the Plaintiff”), proceeding pro
se, asserts in his Complaint (“Compl.”)
various constitutional violations. The Plaintiff, a federal
prisoner, was detained at the United States Penitentiary in
Terre Haute, Indiana from October 2005 through April 2011.
Compl. at 3 ¶ 1. He is serving a 240-month prison
sentence imposed by the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California in June 2005. See
Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (“Defs.'
Mem.”) at 2; Plaintiff's Opposition to the
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)
(“Pl.'s Opp'n”) at 6. The conviction and
sentence were subsequently affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
United States v. Barroca, 310 Fed.Appx. 69, 70 (9th
Cir. 2008). The Plaintiff's Petitions for en banc review
by the Ninth Circuit and for certiorari in the Supreme Court
were denied on October 24, 2008 and February 23, 2009,
respectively. United States v. Barroca, Nos.
98-10275, 05-10462 (9th Cir. Oct. 24, 2008);
Barroca, 310 Fed.Appx. at 70, cert. denied,
Barroca v. United States, 555 U.S. 1202 (2009).
crux of the Plaintiff's Complaint relates to his
frustrations with the implementation of the Trust Fund
Limited Inmate Computer System (“TRULINCS”) by
the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”).
See Compl. at 4 ¶ 4. He alleges that TRULINCS
prevented him from timely filing his §2255 Habeas
Petition (“Habeas Petition”). See Id. He
further alleges that TRULINCS, which requires inmates, with
limited exceptions, “to place a TRULINCS-generated
mailing label on all outgoing postal mail, ” did not
provide adequate space to include the full address of the
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
See id., Program Statement P5265.13, Trust
Fund Limited Inmate Computer System (TRULINCS) -
Electronic Messaging (2/19/2009), Sec. 4.c.,
Plaintiff's Exhibit (“Pl's Ex.”) A.
Consequently, the Plaintiff instead mailed the Petition to
his sister, so that she could then mail it to the Court.
Compl. at 6 ¶ 11. As a result, the
Plaintiff's Habeas Petition was filed approximately six
weeks late. See Order Dismissing the
Petitioner's Motion for Writ of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 2255 With Prejudice (“Ord. Denying
Hab. Pet.”), United States v. Barroca, No. CR
94-0470 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2010). In dismissing the
Plaintiff's Habeas Petition, Judge Vaughn R. Walker of
the Northern District of California, stated the following:
Standing in the way of [Barroca's] claim for relief under
section 2255 is the one-year statute of limitations . . . .
Barroca was required to file his petition within one year
after his judgment of conviction became final. 28 USC §
2255(f)(1). A judgment of conviction becomes final upon
denial of a petition for certiorari . . .
Barroca's judgment of conviction became final when the
Supreme Court denied his certiorari petition on February 23,
2009. Barroca did not sign the instant § 2255 petition
until March 22, 2010 and the petition was not filed with this
court until April 6, 2010. Doc #782. Under either the date of
filing or the date of his signature, Barroca's petition
is untimely pursuant to 28 USC § 2255(f)(1) . . .
As it plainly appears from the record before the court that
Barroca is not entitled to relief on his untimely petition,
the petition is DISMISSED pursuant to Rule 4(b) of the Rules
Governing Section 2255 Proceedings.
Id. at 3-4.
Plaintiff then filed a Motion to Toll the Statute of
Limitations and to Vacate Judgment. See Motion and
Request for Statutory and Equitable Tolling of AEDPA's
Statute of Limitations and Motion to Vacate (“Mot. to
Toll”), United States v. Barroca, No. CR
94-0470 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 13, 2010). The Plaintiff's
Motion was dismissed. See Order Dismissing
Petitioner's Motion for Wirt of Habeas Corpus Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. ¶ 2255 With Prejudice, Denying Certificate of
Appealability (“Ord. Denying Mot. to Toll”),
United States v. Barroca, No. CR 94-0470 (N.D. Cal.
Dec. 20, 2011). With respect to the mailing labels, the court
. . . the alleged inability to fit the Court's mailing
address on the TRULINCS labels cannot serve as a basis for
statutory tolling. Although Petitioner claims that the
mailing address of the Court did not fit on the labels used
by the TRULINCS program, the evidence establishes that the
Court's mailing address did, in fact, fit on TRULINCS
labels. Further, Petitioner's contention is belied by
the fact that he was able to successfully file three separate
pleadings with other districts in December 2009, at least two
of which were served on parties using mailing addresses as
long or longer than that of this Court.
Id. at 8 (footnote and citation omitted).
the Plaintiff sought relief by way of a Motion Under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). See Motion for Relief
from Judgment; Newly Discovered Evidence pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1)-(4); Request for Indicative Ruling
Fed.R.Civ.P. 62.1; Request for Evidentiary Hearing
(“Mot. for Relief from Judgment & Indic.
Ruling”), United States v. Barroca, No. CR
94-0470 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2012). This Motion was also
denied, and with respect to the TRULINCS issue, the court
In the previous motion to toll, [the Government] provided a
declaration of a prison employee familiar with the TRULINCS
system who stated that the address for the Court could indeed
fit on the four lines generally allowed by the system, and
that in addition, the system allowed addresses with up to six
lines through the use of “Re:” and
“Comments” lines . . . . The employee also stated
that he had spoken with Petitioner about his problem and
suggested abbreviating the Court's address if he was
having difficulties, but that to his knowledge Petitioner
never attempted to do so . . . .
Additionally, even if he were precluded from sending the
filing to this Court, Petitioner does not provide the date he
mailed the petition to his sister (whether it was sent within
the limitations period), or explain why it took 37 days for
the petition to reach her, and for her to mail it to this
Court. He has not established entitlement to tolling for the
entire 37 day period.
See Order Denying the Plaintiff's Motion for
Relief from Judgment and for an Indicative Ruling
(“Ord. Denying Mot. for Relief from Judgment &
Indic. Ruling”) at 2-4, Barroca v. United
States, No. CR 94-0470 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 11, 2013). The
Plaintiff's subsequent Motion for Reconsideration was
also denied. See Order Denying the Petitioner's
Request for an Indicative Ruling, Request to Amend or
Supplement Petition, and Motion for Relief from Judgment
(“Ord. Denying Mot. to Alter & Amend”),
Barroca v. United States, No. CR 94-0470 (N.D. Cal.
Mar. 27, 2013), ECF No. 890. In relevant part, the court
Petitioner . . . takes issue with this Court's holding
that he offered no evidence to contradict the December 20,
2011 finding that this Court's address fit on the
TRULINCS labels, and that the TRULINCS system thus did not
prevent him from filing his habeas petition within the
statute of limitations. Docket No. 889 at 7. Petitioner
offers no new evidence or argument on this front, but merely
repeats arguments he raised in his previous motion.
See Docket No. 882. He argues, for example, that no
one ever showed him how to abbreviate the Court's address
to fit on a TRULINCS label. However, as noted in this
Court's previous order, the two abbreviations included in
the government's example label (“Attn:” and
“CA”) are in general use, and it is not clear why
Petitioner would specifically need someone to instruct him on
how to use such abbreviations. See Docket No. 886
at 3. In any event, Petitioner raises no new point on this
issue . . .
The only new information Petitioner offers in his motion only
undermines his argument that he is entitled to equitable
tolling. After concluding that he was not able to mail his
habeas petition using the TRULINCS labels, Petitioner
ultimately filed his petition by mailing it to his sister and
having her send it to the court. In the January 11, 2013
order, this Court noted that Petitioner had not stated that
he mailed the petition to his sister within the limitations
period, nor did he explain why it took until 37 days after
the limitations period for the petition to reach the Court.
Docket No. 886 at 3-4. Petitioner now clarifies that he
mailed his habeas petition to his sister after the statute of
limitations had already run because he had been trying to
obtain an exemption from the requirement that prisoners use
the TRULINCS system . . . He does not explain why, knowing
that the deadline for his petition was approaching, he waited
until after the deadline passed to mail his petition to his
sister, thus ensuring that it would not be timely filed.
Id. at 3-5 (footnote omitted).
Plaintiff has now filed the current action, alleging
violations of his constitutional rights. See Compl.
at 1. He demands a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief,
and monetary damages totaling $20 million. See id.
at 9-11. The Plaintiff relies on Bivens v. Six Unknown
Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S.
388 (1971), as support for his allegations. Id. at
1. He sues (1) Charles E. Samuels, Jr., (2) Thomas R. Kane,
(3) Harley G. Lappin, (4) Judi Simon Garrett, and (5) John
& Jane Doe Policymakers. Id. at 2-3. The
Plaintiff is alleging that BOP officials, both known and
unknown to him, are liable due to their presumed involvement
in the development of the TRULINCS system. See Id.
at 6-7. He further alleges that these Defendants failed to
properly train BOP staff to instruct him as to how to
properly use the TRULINCS labelling system. See Id.
at 7-8, Pl's Ex. A. Although the targets of this action
are new, the core of the Plaintiff's argument is the
same. He again alleges that TRULINCS is “either not
capable of or does not provide enough word, letter, and
number space to enter” the full and proper address of
the sentencing court, which in turn, prevented him from
timely filing his Habeas Petition. See id. at 4
Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants implemented TRULINCS at
USP Terre Haute in January 2010, mere weeks before the
February 27, 2010 deadline for filing his § 2255
Petition. Id. at 4 ¶ 3. The Plaintiff claims
that the Defendants “knew or should have known that
their [p]olicy, ” id. at 4 ¶ 5 (referring
to Program Statement 5265.13), “would cause/is causing
harm, ” id. at 5 ¶ 5, specifically by
“deny[ing] him access to the courts, ”
id. at 5 ¶ 6. Due to this denial of access, the
Plaintiff alleges that he “was not allowed to mail his
§ 2255 [P]etition directly to the district court.”
Id. at 6 ¶ 10. Instead, the Plaintiff mailed
the Habeas Petition to his sister, who filed the Petition on
his behalf, albeit “. . . 37 days late past
AEDPA's statute of limitations.” Id. at 6
¶ 11 (emphasis in original).
Plaintiff filed this action on July 23, 2013 and alleges three
constitutional claims. See Compl., ECF No. 1, at 1,
6-9. In response to the Plaintiff's Complaint, the
Defendants have moved to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure (“F.R.C.P.”) Rule 12 §§
(b)(1) and (b)(6). See Defs.' Mem at 1. The
claims asserted by the Plaintiff are the following.
One: Policymaker Liability
the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants “personally
and officially commit[ted] unconstitutional and tortious
acts” when they “formulated, drafted[, ] created,
adopted, established and implemented” the TRULINCS
mandatory outgoing mailing label requirement for all inmates,
” which prevented him from timely filing his §
2255 petition, thereby denying him access to the courts.
See Compl. at 6-7.
Two: Supervisory Liability
the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants “failed to
and are currently failing to supervise, train, and/or
instruct subordinate(s) and staff in the drafting, creation,
formulation, establishment, and implementation of [the
TRULINCS] policy to include any instructions for inmates
(written or oral) how to use TRULINCS . . . to place or add
any address on a mailing label or provide any
exception/exemption for legal mail to the courts.”
Id. at 7-8. The Plaintiff alleges that the training
by these Defendants was so “… clearly
deficient” that violation of his
“…constitutional rights is/was
inevitable.” Id. at 8 ¶ 3.
Three: Violation of Due Process
the Plaintiff argues that he was denied access to the courts,
because of the mandatory labeling policy. See id. at
8-9. In turn, he contends that the imposition of such
restrictions infringed upon his right to due process under