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Bryant v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

United States District Court, C.D. California

June 2, 2014

DAVID BRYANT
v.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, ET AL.

Rory Culver, Adam Paris, Andrew Gelfand, Attorneys Present for Plaintiff.

Monica Miller, AUSA, Chung Han, AUSA, Attorneys Present for Defendant.

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

CHRISTINA A. SNYDER, Judge.

Proceedings: DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Dkt. #99, filed April 9, 2014)

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

Plaintiff David Bryant filed this action on January 7, 2011. Dkt. #1. The operative First Amended Complaint ("FAC") asserts claims against the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"), BOP Director Charles Samuels, Jr., and Juan Castillo, the Regional Director of the BOP's Western Region. Dkt. #89. The FAC asserts five claims for violation of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794, et seq., a claim for violation of the Rehabilitation Act and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and claims for violation of the First, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments. Id . Plaintiff, a deaf individual, primarily alleges that, as a result of BOP policies, he does not receive the "auxiliary aids and accommodations necessary to provide him with meaningful access to prison programs and activities on an equal basis with hearing individuals." Id . ¶ 1.

Prior to the filing of the FAC, plaintiff exhausted the BOP's internal prison grievance administrative process, and also completed the separate administrative process mandated by 28 C.F.R. § 39.170 (the "Administrative Process"), which the Court previously found to be mandatory for plaintiff's claims under the Rehabilitation Act. See dkt. #32. During the Administrative Process, a hearing was held before an administrative law judge ("ALJ"). After the hearing, the ALJ issued proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, which recommended that plaintiff be provided with a series of accommodations to enable him to access prison programs and activities. See FAC Ex. B. A United States Department of Justice Complaint Adjudication Officer adopted the ALJ's decision as final, see FAC Ex. E (the "Administrative Decision"), with exceptions not relevant here. While plaintiff alleges that the Administrative Decision "represents a significant victory" for him, he also alleges that it does not provide all of the relief to which he is entitled under the Rehabilitation Act and the United States Constitution. He therefore seeks additional relief as set forth in the FAC.

On April 9, 2014, defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). Dkt. #99. Plaintiff filed an opposition on May 12, 2014, dkt. #101, and defendants replied on May 19, 2014, dkt. #102. The Court held a hearing on June 2, 2014. After considering the parties' arguments, the Court finds and concludes as follows.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)

A motion to dismiss an action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) raises the question of the federal court's subject matter jurisdiction over the action. The objection presented by this motion is that the court has no authority to hear and decide the case.

This defect may exist despite the formal sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint. See T.B. Harms Co. v. Eliscu , 226 F.Supp. 337, 338 (S.D. N.Y. 1964), aff'd 339 F.2d 823 (2d Cir. 1964) (the formal allegations must yield to the substance of the claim when a motion is filed to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction). When considering a Rule 12(b)(1) motion challenging the substance of jurisdictional allegations, the Court is not restricted to the face of the pleadings, but may review any evidence, such as declarations and testimony, to resolve any factual disputes concerning the existence of jurisdiction. See McCarthy v. United States , 850 F.2d 558, 560 (9th Cir. 1988).

The burden of proof in a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is on the party asserting jurisdiction. See Sopcak v. N. Mountain Helicopter Serv. , 52 F.3d 817, 818 (9th Cir. 1995); Ass'n of Am. Med. Coll. v. United States , 217 F.3d 770, 778-79 (9th Cir. 2000). If jurisdiction is based on a federal question, the pleader must show that he has alleged a claim under federal law and that the claim is not frivolous. See 5B Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1350, pp. 211, 231 (3d ed. 2004). On the other hand, if jurisdiction is based on diversity of ...


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