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Ramirez v. Martinez

July 1, 2009

CARLOS RAMIREZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JERRY MARTINEZ, WARDEN; ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mannion, M.J.

JONES, D.J.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION*fn1

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment (the "Motion"). (Doc. No. 50.) Having considered the parties' briefing and other papers, relevant federal and state statutes, rules, and case law, the Court will recommend GRANTING the motion.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Although the factual background of this case, particularly in regard to whether plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies, appears to be disputed, there seems to be agreement with regard to its procedural background. For the purposes of evaluating defendants' request for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court assumes as true all well-pled allegations in plaintiff's corrected amended complaint (the "Complaint"). (Doc. No. 31.)

On May 28, 2008, and while incarcerated at the federal Low Security Correctional Institution--Allenwood, Pennsylvania,*fn2 plaintiff filed a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241. Notwithstanding its title, given the nature of the claims made and the relief sought, the Court construed the application as a prisoner civil rights claim, a Bivens action,*fn3 brought against federal officers and employees. The Court ordered the United States Marshall to serve the complaint on the defendants. (Doc. No. 4.) Subsequently, the plaintiff made a motion to amend the complaint. (Doc. No. 15.) The Court granted the motion, (Doc. No. 16), and an amended complaint was filed. (Doc. No. 18). After this, plaintiff made a further motion to correct the amended complaint, (Doc. No. 19), and requested an extension of time to file an amended complaint. (Doc. No. 27). The Court granted plaintiff's request, (Doc. No. 28), and the (corrected or second) amended complaint (the "Complaint") was filed, (Doc. No. 31). Plaintiff's action is brought against the warden and over twenty other defendants. He asserts a variety of grievances, including injury connected to the fact that a detainer was filed against him. The purpose of the detainer was to remove him to the country of his birth at the completion of his sentence. Plaintiff is, in fact, a naturalized United States citizen. Thus, the issuance of the detainer was in error. And plaintiff was not, in fact, removed from United States, although he claims he suffered some harm connected to the issuance of the detainer.

Plaintiff makes a number of other claims. He was disciplined for missing a GED class. He was disciplined for refusing to enter the general population when ordered to do so. He argues that defendants retaliated against him when he complained and attempted to exhaust his administrative remedies. He argues that defendants interfered with his access to the courts and with his mail. He asserts his claims under the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment (due process and equal protection).

Defendants have moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 50). Their motion is supported with a brief in conjunction with declarations and exhibits, (Doc. No. 54), and filed in conjunction with a statement of material facts ("SMF"). (Doc. No. 55). The defendants assert that they are entitled to relief on a variety of grounds, but primarily because plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Plaintiff failed to respond with a tradition brief, or with any declarations or affidavits. Instead, plaintiff submitted a one-page letter response. (Doc. No. 57.) Afterwards, he filed a second document with a one-page argument section, (Doc. No. 61), in conjunction with dozens of exhibits and over two hundred pages. (Doc. No. 62). Nothing in plaintiff's filing explains the chronology of these documents, or how each of these documents relates to each of his particular claims or legal theories, or how each of these documents establishes exhaustion in regard to each claim he asserts in this action.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Defendants' Motion and supporting brief seeks relief under Rule 12(b)(6), and, in the alternative, under Rule 56.

Motion to Dismiss Standard Under Rule 12(b)(6). The defendants' motion to dismiss is brought pursuant to the provisions of Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). This rule provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated, Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005), and dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all of the facts alleged in the complaint as true, the plaintiff has failed to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007) (abrogating "no set of facts" language found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). The facts alleged must be sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. This requirement "calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id. Furthermore, in order satisfy federal pleading requirements, the plaintiff must "provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief," which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (brackets and quotations marks omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65).

In considering a motion to dismiss, the court generally relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record. Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263 (3d Cir. 2007). The court may also consider "undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the [attached] documents." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Moreover, "documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002).

Rule 56 Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and is material if it will affect the outcome of the trial under governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Aetna Casualty & Sur. Co. v. Ericksen, 903 F. Supp. 836, 838 (M.D. Pa. 1995). At the summary judgment stage, "the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; see also Marino v. Indus. Crating Co., 358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. ...


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