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Rhodes v. Holt

June 12, 2007

DAVID M. RHODES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN RONNIE R. HOLT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (doc. 17) filed on May 1, 2007 by Defendants Warden Ronnie R. Holt, FCI-Schuylkill and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

For the following reasons, the Motion shall be granted.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff David M. Rhodes ("Plaintiff" or "Rhodes") commenced this action by filing a complaint (doc. 1) with this Court on August 28, 2006. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff's termination was a direct violation of his rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Within the prayer for relief, Rhodes requests: (1) equitable relief for the violation of his constitutional rights, including an order reinstating him to the position of correctional officer at a Bureau of Prisons facility, an order directing Defendants to cease and desist from harassing or retaliating against Rhodes in the future, an order directing the removal of disparaging references, including psychological and psychiatric reports from Rhodes' personnel file, and an order directing the appointment of an appropriate supervisor to monitor operations at FCI-Schuylkill. Rhodes also requests any other relief the Court deems necessary and just, including attorneys fees and costs.

On December 11, 2006, the Defendants filed an answer. (Rec. Doc. 12). On May 1, 2007, Defendants filed the instant Motion. The Motion has been fully briefed and is therefore ripe for our review.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a party to move for judgment on the pleadings "after the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay trial . . ." Under Rule 12(c) "judgment will not be granted unless the movant clearly establishes that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Jablonski v. Pan American World Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289, 290 (3d Cir. 1988)(citation omitted). As with a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) the "Court 'views the facts alleged in the pleadings and the inferences to be drawn from those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'" Mele v. FRB, 359 F.3d 251, 253 (3d Cir. 2004)(quoting Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 535 (3d Cir. 2002)).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On August 27, 2004, Plaintiff was removed by Defendant Warden Holt from his position as a correctional officer based upon a charge of engaging in conduct unbecoming a correctional officer. (Complaint, ¶7). Plaintiff alleges that the charge asserted against him was "baseless, unfounded and intended solely to harass and retaliate against [him] for opposing and exposing wrongdoing at the facility." (Complaint, ¶8).

In addition to this case, Rhodes' has submitted and is currently pursuing an administrative claim to the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) seeking redress for his termination. To the Court's knowledge, that matter is still pending at this time. Rhodes' administrative MSPB claim requests equitable, administrative, and make-whole remedies regarding his August 27, 2004 termination, that if successful, will entitle him to the same equitable remedies he is seeking in the instant claim. (Rec. Doc. 18, Ex. 2).

DISCUSSION

The Defendants argue that the Court should grant judgment on the pleadings in favor of them in the instant matter because the Plaintiff has failed to fully exhaust his administrative MSPB remedy prior to the filing of the instant suit. Plaintiff argues that he may pursue injunctive or declaratory ...


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