Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Patterson v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

October 4, 2019

Corey Alexander Patterson, Plaintiff,
v.
United States of America, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          ANTHONY J. TRENGA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Corey Alexander Patterson ("plaintiff' or "Patterson"), a federal inmate proceeding pro se, initiated this civil action pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671 et seg. Defendant United States of America ("defendant" or "United States" or "the government") filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the Pleadings [Dkt. No. 18], a Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 [Dkt. No. 19], and a memorandum in support of its motions [Dkt. No. 20]. Plaintiff received the notice required by Local Rule 7(K) and time to file responsive materials pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) [Dkt. Nos. 18-19]. He submitted a memorandum in opposition to defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment [Dkt. No. 24], defendant filed a reply [Dkt. No. 29], and, finally, plaintiff filed a surreply [Dkt. No. 30]. This matter is therefore ripe for adjudication. For the reasons stated below, defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on the Pleadings will be denied, its Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 will be granted, and judgment will enter in favor of defendant.

         I. Background

         The undisputed facts are as follows.[1] On July 5, 2017, plaintiff entered a Taco Bell restaurant in Dumfries, Virginia, intending to sell 56 grams of heroin to an individual who, unbeknownst to plaintiff, was an undercover officer of the Prince William County Police Department. Smith Aff. ¶ 3. Before this date, on more than one occasion, plaintiff had sold this undercover officer heroin and firearms. Id.

         In possession of a federal arrest warrant for plaintiff, members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives ("ATF") followed plaintiff into the vestibule of the Taco Bell restaurant and announced that he was under arrest. Id. at ¶ 4. Special Agent Smith instructed plaintiff to face the wall of the vestibule, and, as plaintiff complied, another Special Agent removed plaintiffs cell phone from his hand. Id. at ¶¶ 4-5. Special Agent Smith then placed plaintiff in handcuffs. Id. at ¶ 5. Though plaintiff leaned against the wall during the arrest, Orta Aff. ¶ 5, his face was turned to the side, he did not resist[2], and no agent forced his face into the wall. Id. at ¶ 5; Smith Aff. ¶ 6. Once plaintiff was in custody, Special Agent Smith asked plaintiff if he needed medical attention, and plaintiff indicated that he did not. Smith Aff. ¶ 7; Fernald Aff.¶4.[3]

         Plaintiff was transported to the Alexandria Adult Detention Center where a nurse conducted a medical screening of plaintiff and did not note any injuries or medical problems related to plaintiffs head. DEX 7. Plaintiffs booking photo, however, showed a lump in the middle of plaintiff s forehead. DEX 5. And, during a proffer session on September 14, 2017, Special Agent Fernald noticed that lump. Id. at ¶¶ 4-6. Plaintiff claimed that it resulted from his July 5, 2017, arrest. Id. Defendants have introduced a booking photograph of plaintiff predating this incident, a photo from 2014, that shows a lump in the same location on plaintiffs head. DEX 6.

         II. Standard of Review

         1. Judgment on the Pleadings

         While the defense of "lack of subject-matter jurisdiction" generally "must be made before pleading," Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b), the court "must dismiss" a claim if it "determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (emphasis supplied). Accordingly, "questions of subject matter jurisdiction may be raised at any point during the proceedings." Brickwood Contractors. Inc. v. Datanet Eng'g, Inc., 369 F.3d 385, 390 (4th Cir. 2004). Indeed, even "[a]fter the pleadings are closed," a party may assert such a jurisdictional challenge by moving for "judgment on the pleadings." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). "[I]f a party raises an issue of subject matter jurisdiction on his motion for judgment on the pleadings, the court will treat the motion as if it had been brought under Rule 12(b)(1)." 5 A Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1367 (1990).

         2. Summary Judgment

         "The 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 dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party," and "[a] fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Variety Stores v. Wal-Mart Stores. Inc.. 888 F.3d 651, 659 (4th Cir. 2018). Once the moving party has met its burden to show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the nonmoving party "must show that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial... by offering sufficient proof in the form of admissible evidence." Id. (quoting Guessous v. Fairview Prop. Invs.. LLC. 828 F.3d 208, 216 (4th Cir. 2016)). With that said, the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [opposing party's] position" is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, a district court should consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of that party. United States v. Diebold. Inc.. 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).

         III. Analysis

         1. Judgment on the Pleadings

         Defendant argues that it is entitled to judgment on the pleadings because "Plaintiffs complaint expressly pleads a lack of jurisdiction." Def s MS J, p. 8. Defendant explains that, "[u]nder Virginia law, an employer is responsible ... when an employee ... [injures] another ... while acting within the scope of [his or her] duty," Def s MS J, pp.7-8, and that plaintiff pleaded that "the agents acted outside of their professional duties of employment" in allegedly battering plaintiff. Id. (emphasis supplied). In deference to his pro se status, however, the Court will assume that plaintiff sought only to characterize ATF agents' behavior as inappropriate and did not intend for this characterization to carry legal weight. And, as defendant correctly notes, the record makes quite clear that the ATF agents involved in this situation acted within ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.