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Jamaal Aki v. United States Parole Commission

July 26, 2012

JAMAAL AKI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES PAROLE COMMISSION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

Plaintiff Jamaal Aki ("Plaintiff" or "Aki"), an inmate presently confined at the United States Penitentiary Canaan ("USP Canaan") in Waymart, Pennsylvania, initiated the above civil rights action pro se by filing a Bivens*fn1 -styled Complaint under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Doc. 1.) The case is proceeding on Aki's Revised Amended Complaint, filed on February 1, 2012. (Doc. 33.) Presently pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Defendant. For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion will be granted.

I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In his original Complaint, filed on September 19, 2011, Aki alleged that his right to due process under the Fifth Amendment had been violated as a result of Defendant the United States Parole Commission's failure to provide him with a parole revocation hearing following his arrest on August 25, 2010 while on parole. (Doc. 1.) As relief, Aki sought a total of $200,000 in monetary damages. (Id. at 3.)

Following service of the Complaint, on December 23, 2011, a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint was filed on behalf of Defendant on the basis that the doctrine of sovereign immunity barred Aki's claim for monetary damages against the Parole Commission because it is a federal agency. (Doc. 24.) On January 4, 2012, Aki filed a document styled as an Amended Complaint. (Doc. 26.) Aki's Amended Complaint did not contain a claim for monetary damages. Instead, he sought injunctive relief, and specifically, he requested that this Court "dismiss[ ] and vacate the detainer for violation of parole and vacate the 1993 charges of 2nd Degree Burglary and [Bail Reform Act violation]." (Id. at 3.)

On January 12, 2012, Magistrate Judge Carlson, to whom this case then was temporarily referred, filed a Report and Recommendation recommending that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss be granted and that the case proceed on Aki's January 4, 2012 Amended Complaint. (Doc. 29 at 11.) Judge Carlson further recommended that Defendant be required to respond to the Amended Complaint on or before March 5, 2012. (Id.) The Report provided that any party may object to the recommendations within fourteen (14) days. (Id. at 12.)

The docket reflects that no objections were filed within the required time. Instead, on February 1, 2012, Aki filed a document which he identified as a "Revised Amended Complaint." (Doc. 33.) The Revised Amended Complaint differs from the Amended Complaint only insofar as, in his request for relief, in addition to requesting the dismissal of the detainer for the violation of parole and order vacating the 1993 charges of second degree burglary, Aki requests that the Court "let plaintiff go home as his 24 months [sic] sentence will be complete on 3-11-12. . . Plaintiff also request [sic] that he be given all of his street time since 1993, and that, again, the charges of 2nd degree burglary and [Bail Reform Act] be completely vacated." (Doc. 33 at 3.)

By Order dated February 7, 2012, we construed Aki's filing as an indication of his concurrence in the dismissal of his original Complaint and of his desire to litigate this case on the basis of his Revised Amended Complaint. (Doc. 34.) We therefore adopted Judge Carlson's Report and Recommendation, granted the Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of Defendant (Doc. 24), and referred the case back to Judge Carlson for further pre-trial management. (Id.) By Memorandum Order of the same date, Judge Carlson directed, inter alia, that to the extent Defendant wished to contest Aki's entitlement to his sole remaining request for equitable relief in his Revised Amended Complaint, Defendant should file an appropriate dispositive motion on or before February 27, 2012, and that Aki should file a response to any dispositive motion within fourteen (14) days, or by March 12, 2012. (Doc. 36 at 2.) The instant Motion was filed in accordance with Judge Carlson's Order on February 27, 2012. (Doc. 38.) A supporting brief (Doc. 39) a statement of material facts (Doc. 40) and supporting exhibits (Doc. 40-1) simultaneously were filed.

On March 12, 2012, a letter from Aki was entered on the docket in which he stated that he received a copy of the Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Defendant and asked if the Court could tell him if he is supposed to answer it. (Doc. 41.) In an Order dated March 13, 2012, we observed that, pursuant to Middle District of Pennsylvania Local Rule ("LR") 7.6, Aki's opposition to the instant Motion was due to be filed within twenty-one (21) days after service of Defendant's brief, or by March 19, 2012. (Doc. 42 at 2.) We also observed that the Standing Practice Order that was issued to Aki at the outset of the case was not the most current version, and therefore, we directed the Clerk of Court to send Aki the current version.*fn2 (Id.) We observed that the Order contains the requirements for responding to pre-trial motions and that a copy of the relevant rules are attached. (Id.) We therefore construed Aki's letter as a Motion requesting an extension of time to file his opposition; granted the Motion; afforded him an additional fourteen (14) days, or until April 2, 2012, to file his opposition, and specifically directed him to file his responsive brief in accordance with LR 7.6, and responsive statement of material facts in accordance with LR 56.1; and we warned Aki that his failure to file his opposition as directed within the required time would result in the Motion being deemed unopposed and addressed on the merits. (Id. at 2-3.) On April 3, 2012, Aki filed a document styled as an "Objection to Summary Judgment" (Doc. 44), which we construe as his responsive brief. Accordingly, the instant Motion now is ripe for our review.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that "[t]he Court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A fact is material if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

Where there is no material fact in dispute, the moving party need only establish that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Where, however, there is a disputed issue of material fact, summary judgment is appropriate only if the factual dispute is not a genuine one. Id. An issue of material fact is genuine if "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.

Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence supporting an essential element as to which ...


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