United States District Court, S.D. California
August 26, 2005.
MATTHEW D. PINNAVAIA, Plaintiff,
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROGER BENITEZ, District Judge
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [dkt. no. 24]
Now before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. No oral
argument is necessary. Having considered the motion papers and
the file, the Court Grants the Motion to Dismiss, without
Plaintiff originally brought this case in August 2002 against
the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") alleging violations
of the United States Constitution and the Privacy Protection Act,
42 U.S.C. § 2000aa et seq. Plaintiff filed the action in the
United States District Court for the District of Columbia. That
court ordered the action transferred to the Southern District of
California. Th transfer order was affirmed by the United States
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Upon
transfer of the case to this Court, the matter was stayed. The
stay was lifted on February 1, 2005. Defendant filed the instant
motion to dismiss while Plaintiff appealed the lifting of the
stay order. The appeal was dismissed by the United States Court
of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Plaintiff has now filed his
opposition to the motion to dismiss, and the motion is ready for
According to the Complaint, the FBI executed a search warrant
at Plaintiff's apartment in Oceanside, California, in August 2001. At that time, Plaintiff
was engaged in a research project concerning the Third Reich-Nazi
Germany (1933-1945), World War II (1939-1945), and the Holocaust.
The majority of the Complaint describes events surrounding World
War II. However, in addition to the historical review, Plaintiff
alleges that during the execution of the search warrant an FBI
agent spoke to Plaintiff about documents from his research
project including two letters written to the Chairmen of the U.S.
House of Representatives Armed Services Committee and U.S. Senate
Armed Services Committee. According to Plaintiff, the FBI agent
told Plaintiff to stop writing letters to Congressmen and the
Department of Justice about World War II. Plaintiff now seeks
$100 million dollars in actual and punitive damages against the
FBI for violation of the Privacy Protection Act and the First,
Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Defendant FBI moves to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to FRCP
Rule 12(b)(6). Dismissal is appropriate because it is beyond
doubt that Plaintiff can prove no set of facts to support his
claims. Adams v. Johnson, 355 F.3d 1179, 1183 (9th Cir.
First, Plaintiff's damages claims under the First, Fourth, and
Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution must fail
because the FBI is an agency of the United States of America and
is immune from suit. Cato v. United States, 70 F.3d 1103,
1110-11 (9th Cir. 1995). The Federal Tort Claims Act
(28 U.S.C. § 2679(a)) would provide Plaintiff a remedy, but the
two-year statute of limitations has passed. Second, Plaintiff's
Privacy Protection Act claim fails because the Act does not
prohibit the search or seizure of papers from one potentially
involved in the commission of a crime. United States v.
Mittelman, 999 F.2d 440, 443 (9th Cir. 1993);
42 U.S.C. § 2000aa-11(a). Plaintiff acknowledged that the FBI search was
conducted pursuant to a criminal search warrant issued by a
federal magistrate judge. A copy of the search warrant and the
17-page affidavit supporting the search warrant are included in
the papers transferred from the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia and indicate that Plaintiff was potentially
involved in fraud and extortion. As such, Plaintiff's claim falls
outside the provisions providing for civil suits under the
Privacy Protection Act and Plaintiff has failed to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. Therefore, the Motion to Dismiss is hereby granted without
prejudice. The case is dismissed in its entirety.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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