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Humbert v. Kurtz

March 14, 2008

ERIC HUMBERT, PLAINTIFF
v.
MICHAEL J. KURTZ, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Eric Humbert ("Plaintiff" or "Humbert"), an inmate currently confined at the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood ("USP-Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania, commenced this action pro se by filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. Plaintiff subsequently moved for leave to file an amended complaint, his request was granted (Doc. 66), and his amended complaint (Doc. 67) was filed on December 1, 2006. Plaintiff alleges that his DNA profile was improperly placed in the Combined DNA Index System ("CODIS") and that he was improperly registered as a sex offender under Megan's Law. (Doc. 67 ¶¶ 19, 20.)

Presently before the court is Defendants' motion to dismiss (Doc. 74) pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

A. Facts

Humbert was arrested on December 13, 1992. (Doc. 67 ¶ 12.) One of the charges against him was kidnapping under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2901. (Id.) That section provides, in pertinent part:

(b) Grading.--Kidnapping is a felony of the first degree. A removal or confinement is unlawful within the meaning of this section if it is accomplished by force, threat or deception, or, in the case of a person who is under the age of 14 years or an incapacitated person, if it is accomplished without the consent of a parent, guardian or other person responsible for general supervision of his welfare.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 2901(b) (emphasis added). On May 2, 1994, Humbert was found guilty of kidnapping accomplished by force, threat or deception. (Doc. 67 Ex. B.) He was found not guilty of kidnapping of a person under 14 years or an incapacitated person without the consent of a parent or guardian. (Id. Exs. B, B-1.)

On or around August 1994, the records supervisor at SCI-Camp Hill erroneously logged Humbert in as a prisoner convicted of kidnapping of a person under 14 years without consent of a parent or guardian. (Id. ¶ 14.) From on or around 1998 until 2003, the records supervisor at SCI-Mahanoy allowed the record to continue to reflect the error made by the SCI-Camp Hill records supervisor. (Id. ¶ 15.)

In or around December 2002, Humbert's parole agent advised him that he would be subject to providing a DNA blood sample prior to being paroled under the new Department of Corrections ("DOC") policy. (Doc. 67 ¶ 17.) On January 8, 2003, Defendant Langton drew Humbert's blood in order to obtain a DNA sample. (Id. ¶ 18.) The sample was mailed to Defendant Kurtz. (Id.) In or around 2003, Kurtz entered a profile of Plaintiff's DNA in CODIS, the national DNA database maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). (Id. ¶ 19.) On or around March 12, 2003, the Megan's Law Unit registered Plaintiff as a convicted sex offender under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law. (Id. ¶ 20.)

Humbert did not know that his profile had been placed in CODIS or that he had been registered under Megan's Law until January 2005.*fn1 (Id. ¶ 11.) In July 2005, Plaintiff made inquiries of family members as to why his daughter would not take his calls, and he was rejected. (Id. ¶ 21.) He later discovered that his daughter found his picture on a website listing him as a sexual offender under Megan's Law. (Id.) As a result of his placement on the Megan's Law Registry, Humbert has been humiliated, suffers mental anguish, and has lost the love and affection of numerous family and friends. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 23.) As a result of the placement of his DNA profile on CODIS, Humbert was convicted of another crime for which he currently is serving a 70 year sentence. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff alleges violations of his rights under the First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (Id. ¶ 24.)

B. Procedural History

In his first complaint filed on September 29, 2005, Plaintiff named the following defendants: 1) the warden of the Mahanoy State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Mahanoy), in Frackville, Pennsylvania; 2) Michael J. Kurtz, Pennsylvania State Police DNA Lab Supervisor; 3) the Pennsylvania State Police Megan's Law Unit, Harrisburg (identified in the caption as "Agency SPOL-Megan's Law Unit Harrisburg") ("Megan's Law Unit"); 4) Sergeant Robert DiGregorio of the Salem County Police Department; and 5) Sergeant George N. May of the Salem County Police Department. (Doc. 1-1.) Plaintiff's sole allegation in his first complaint was that, on January 8, 2003, DNA samples were taken from him and that he was falsely logged as a sex offender under Megan's Law in violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Id. at 4.)

On January 6, 2006, the warden of SCI-Mahanoy, Kurtz, and the Megan's Law Unit moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint on the basis that the complaint was time-barred and failed to state a claim against them. (Doc. 24.) Despite the court's direction to Plaintiff to respond to the motion, he failed to do so. (See Doc. 27.) Therefore, by order dated May 15, 2006, the motion to dismiss was granted as unopposed on the basis that Plaintiff's claim was time-barred, and the warden of SCIMahanoy, Kurtz, and the Megan's Law Unit were dismissed as Defendants to the action. (Doc. 37.)

The remaining Defendants, DiGregorio and May, also filed motions to dismiss on the basis that Plaintiff's complaint is time-barred. (Docs. 35, 47.) In his opposition to Defendant May's motion to dismiss, Plaintiff stated for the first time in the course of this action that he was unaware of his registration under the Pennsylvania's Megan ...


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