United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
SEAN E. WOOD, Plaintiff
THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, Defendant
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. Schwab Chief United States Magistrate Judge
plaintiff Sean E. Wood is suing the Secretary of the Army
claiming that he was wrongly subject to court-martial
proceedings and wrongly discharged from the Army. He also
contends that the Secretary failed adequately to investigate
the death of a soldier on a firing range. Both Wood and the
Secretary have filed a motion for summary judgment. Because
Wood cannot proceed on his claim with regard to the
Secretary's investigation of the death of the other
soldier and because Wood's other claims are barred by the
statute of limitations, we recommend that the Court deny
Wood's motion and grant the Secretary's motion.
Background and Procedural History.
proceeding pro se, began this action by filing a
complaint in August of 2017, against the
Secretary under sections 702, 704, and 706 of the
Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Wood alleged that he was
wrongfully accused, punished, and discharged in violation of
army regulations, and he asked the Court to restore him
“[t]o good standing.” Doc. 1 at 2. The
complaint, however, contained no factual allegations
concerning the basis of Wood's claims.
November 6, 2017, Wood filed an amended complaint asserting
that he is adding causes of action. He points to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331 as the basis of the Court's subject-matter
jurisdiction. In addition to again citing the APA, Wood cites
28 U.S.C. § 1361 (Mandamus), the Fourteenth Amendment;
18 U.S.C § 241; and 42 U.S.C. § 1985. He alleges that
he was in the United States Army from 1981 to 1985. Wood
contends that he was subject to illegal summary court-martial
actions. He also contends that he was wrongfully discharged
in violation of Army regulations. And he contends that the
Secretary's lack of investigation of his “claims
since 1984 has allowed an officer in its charge to get away
with murder, perjury, and a hate crime.” Doc.
7 at 2. Like the complaint, the amended complaint does
not contain allegations explaining the factual basis for his
claims.Wood asks this Court to review the
“illegal court actions and subsequent illegal
discharge, ” and to “remove all illegal court
actions and discharge and grant the plaintiff the proper
relief in accordance to Army regulations.”
Id. He also asks the Court to review
“the wrongful death of a soldier that is also still
suffering from the lies told.”
November 6, 2017, Wood filed a motion for summary judgment, a
statement of facts,  and exhibits. We deemed Wood's motion
for summary judgment withdrawn because Wood failed to file a
supporting brief within 14 days. Wood later filed a motion to
renew his motion for summary judgment. We granted that motion
and construed it in part as a brief in support of his motion
for summary judgment.
meantime, the Secretary filed a motion to dismiss and/or, in
the alternative, for summary judgment, a brief, a statement
of material facts, and documents in support of the motion.
After Wood filed numerous documents in opposition to that
motion, we directed him to file one, comprehensive brief in
opposition to the Secretary's motion and one,
comprehensive response to the Secretary's statement of
material facts. Wood then filed a response to the
Secretary's motion, which included a section in response
to the Secretary's statement of material facts as well as
exhibits. The Secretary filed a reply brief. Without seeking
leave of court to do so, Wood then filed a document titled
“Additional Pleadings of the Plaintiff with Supporting
Evidence.” See Doc. 41. We consider this
document as a sur-reply brief, and we will consider it.
The Secretary's Motion to Dismiss and/or, in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment.
Wood's Claim regarding the Investigation into the Death
of the Other Soldier.
Secretary contends that the Court should dismiss Wood's
claim for injunctive relief in the form of an investigation
into the death of the soldier on the firing range because he
lacks standing to pursue such a claim and because sovereign
immunity bars such a claim.
claim regarding the investigation rests on a fatally flawed
premise, i.e., that he has a right or interest in the
discipline or investigation of others. A private citizen,
however, “lacks a judicially cognizable interest in the
prosecution or nonprosecution of another.” Linda
R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973); see
also Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzalez, 545 U.S. 748, 768
(2005) (“[T]he benefit that a third party may receive
from having someone else arrested for a crime generally does
not trigger protections under the Due Process Clause, neither
in its procedural nor in its ‘substantive'
manifestations.”). And “[t]here is no statutory
or common law right, much less a constitutional right, to an
investigation.” Mitchell v. McNeil, 487 F.3d
374, 378 (6th Cir. 2007); see also Fuchs v. Mercer
Cnty., 260 Fed.Appx. 472, 475 (3d Cir. 2008). Wood thus
cannot bring a claim against the Secretary for the alleged
inadequate investigation of the other soldier's death or
to compel the Secretary to conduct a further
Wood's Other Claims.
Secretary contends that the statute of limitations bars
Wood's other claims. Because the Secretary relies on
documents outside the pleadings in support of his
statute-of-limitations argument, we consider that argument
under the summary-judgment standards.
Summary Judgment Standards.
Secretary moves for summary judgment under Rule 56(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which 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). “Through summary
adjudication the court may dispose of those claims that do
not present a ‘genuine dispute as to any material
fact' and for which a jury trial would be an empty and