Channer v. Murray, 3:00CV230(SRU)WIG.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
Citation247 F.Supp.2d 182
Decision Date20 February 2003
Docket NumberNo. 3:00CV230(SRU)WIG.,3:00CV230(SRU)WIG.
PartiesClaudious CHANNER v. Paul MURRAY, et al.<SMALL><SUP>1</SUP></SMALL>
247 F.Supp.2d 182
Claudious CHANNER
Paul MURRAY, et al.1
No. 3:00CV230(SRU)WIG.
United States District Court, D. Connecticut.
February 20, 2003.

Page 183

Claudious W. Channer, Somers, CT, Pro se.

David J. Sheldon, U.S. Attorney's Office, New Haven, CT, James J. Szerejko, Brian P. Laming, Halloran & Sage, Richard T. Biggar, Attorney General's Office Public Safety & Special Revenue, Hartford, CT, for Defendants.


UNDERHILL, District Judge.

The plaintiff, Claudious W. Channer ("Channer"), filed this civil rights action pro se pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343, 1495, 2201, 2513 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. He alleges that defendants City of Hartford, James Markowski ("Markowski"), Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ("Blumenthal") and former United States Attorney General Janet Reno ("Reno") falsely arrested and imprisoned him on federal criminal charges. Pending is a motion to dismiss

Page 184

filed by Markowski and Reno. Because the court has already dismissed all claims against Markowski in a prior ruling [doc. # 53], the court denies the motion to dismiss as to Markowski as moot. For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted as to Reno.

Standard of Review

When considering a Rule 12(b) motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draws inferences from these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974); Thomas v. City of New York, 143 F.3d 31, 37 (2d Cir.1998). Dismissal is warranted only if, under any set of facts that the plaintiff can prove consistent with the allegations, it is clear that no relief can be granted. See Tarshis v. Riese Org., 211 F.3d 30, 35 (2d Cir.2000); Cooper v. Parsky, 140 F.3d 433, 440 (2d Cir.1998). "The issue on a motion to dismiss is not whether the plaintiff will prevail, but whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence to support his or her claims." Branham v. Meachum, 77 F.3d 626, 628 (2d Cir.1996) (quoting Gant v. Wallingford Bd. ofEduc., 69 F.3d 669, 673 (2d Cir.1995)) (internal quotations omitted). In its review of a motion to dismiss, the court may consider "only the facts alleged in the pleadings, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the pleadings and matters of which judicial notice may be taken." Samuels v. Air Transport Local 504., 992 F.2d 12, 15 (2d Cir.1993). In reviewing this motion, the court is mindful that the Second Circuit "ordinarily require[s] the district courts to give substantial leeway to pro se litigants." Gomes v. Avco Corp., 964 F.2d 1330,1335 (2d Cir.1992).


On January 9, 1990, Channer pleaded guilty in this District to one count of knowingly and intentionally using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking. Judge Peter C. Dorsey sentenced him to a mandatory five-year term of imprisonment. On June 22, 1998, Judge Dorsey granted Channer's petition for writ of habeas corpus and vacated the judgment of conviction. Channer alleges that Reno, Blumenthal, the City of Hartford and Markowski falsely arrested and imprisoned him on the federal charge. Channer seeks relief against Reno and Blumenthal under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1495, 2513. He seeks monetary damages from the defendants.


Reno moves to dismiss the claims against her on six grounds. She argues that: (1) Channer has failed to state a claim for false imprisonment under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1495, 2513; (2) Channer has failed to state a claim for false imprisonment under Bivens; (3) Channer has failed to state a claim of fraudulent concealment under Connecticut General Statutes § 52-595; (4) Channer has failed to properly serve her with a copy of the amended complaint; (5) all claims in the amended complaint are barred by the statute of limitations; and (6) she is entitled to qualified immunity.

I. Claims for False Arrest/Imprisonment Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1495, 2513

Reno argues that Channer has failed to state a claim of false imprisonment

Page 185

under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1495 and 2513. Channer does not address this argument.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1495, "[t]he United States Court of Federal Claims shall have jurisdiction to render judgment upon any claim for damages by any person unjustly convicted of an offense against the United States and imprisoned." 28 U.S.C. § 1495. "Section 1495, however, must be read in conjunction with 28 U.S.C. § 2513." Humphrey v. United States, 52 Fed. CI. 593, 596 (2002) (citing Lott v. United States, 11 Cl.Ct. 852, 852-53 (1987); Grayson v. United States, 144 Ct.Cl. 185, 168 F.Supp. 953 (1958)). Section 2513 provides, in pertinent part, that:

(a) Any person suing under section 1495 of this title must allege and prove that:

(1) His conviction has been reversed or set aside on the ground that he is not guilty of the offense of which he was convicted, or on new trial or rehearing he was found not guilty of such offense, as appears from the record or certificate of the court setting aside or reversing such conviction, or that he has been pardoned upon the stated ground of innocence and unjust conviction and

(2) He did not commit any of the acts charged or his acts, deeds, or omissions in connection with such charge constituted no offense against the United States, or any State, Territory or the District of Columbia, and he did not by misconduct or neglect cause or bring about his own prosecution.

(b) Proof of the requisite facts shall be by a certificate of the court or pardon wherein such facts are alleged to appear, and other evidence thereof shall not be received. 28 U.S.C. § 2513. The United States Court of Federal Claims strictly construes these jurisdictional requirements and places a heavy burden upon a claimant seeking relief under these provisions. See Humphrey, 52 Fed.Cl. at 596 (citing Vincin v. United States, 199 Ct.Cl. 762, 766, 468 F.2d 930, 933 (1972); Sinclair v. United States, 124 Ct.Cl. 182, 184, 109 F.Supp. 529, 531, cert, denied, 345 U.S. 974, 73 S.Ct. 1123, 97 L.Ed. 1390 (1953)).

Channer alleges that Blumenthal, Reno and the City of Hartford falsely imprisoned him on the charge of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. He claims that he is entitled to monetary compensation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1495 and 2513. Reno argues that Channer must bring his claims pursuant to these statutes in the Court of Federal Claims. This court agrees. The plain language of 28 U.S.C. § 1495 indicates that relief must be sought in the United States Court of Federal Claims. The legislative history of 28 U.S.C. § 1495 also suggests that Congress intended the Court of Federal Claims to have exclusive jurisdiction over claims brought for unjust conviction and imprisonment. See Calloway v. United States, 431 F.Supp. 1111, 1113-14 (E.D.Okla.1977) (holding that legislative history of 28 U.S.C. § 1495 contained no indication that Congress intended district court to have concurrent jurisdiction over claims brought under the statute for unjust conviction and imprisonment). Accordingly, this court does not have jurisdiction over Channer's claims for monetary relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1495 and 2513, and those claims are dismissed.4

Page 186

II. Claims of False Imprisonment Pursuant to Bivens

Although Channer does not specifically allege that he is suing Reno for false imprisonment in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the court will liberally construe his amended complaint as including such a claim.5 Reno first argues that the claim for monetary damages against her in her official capacity is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

A. Official Capacity Claims

Under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971), the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff may obtain damages for injuries caused by a federal agent acting "under color of his authority" in violation of a claimant's constitutionally protected rights. Bivens, 403 U.S. at 395, 91 S.Ct. 1999. A Bivens action is the nonstatutory federal counterpart of a suit brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and is aimed at federal rather than state officials. See Ellis v. Blum, 643 F.2d 68, 84 (2d Cir.1981); Mittleman v. United States Treasury, 773 F.Supp. 442, 451 n. 8 (D.D.C.1991); Chin v. Bowen, 655 F.Supp. 1415, 1417 (S.D.N.Y.), affd, 833 F.2d 21, 24 (2d Cir.1987) (citations omitted). A Bivens action, however, will only lie against a federal government official and any such action against the United States or an agency thereof is routinely dismissed. See F.D.I.C. v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 484-85, 114 S.Ct. 996, 127 L.Ed.2d 308 (1994); Platsky v. C.I.A, 953 F.2d 26, 28 (2d Cir. 1991); Mack v. United States, 814 F.2d 120,122-23 (2d Cir.1987).

It is well settled that suits filed against federal government employees acting in their official capacities must be construed as suits against the United States. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166-67, 105 S.Ct. 3099, 87 L.Ed.2d 114 (1985); Robinson v. Overseas Military Sales Corp., 21 F.3d 502, 510 (2d Cir.1994); Owens v. Fulton County, 877 F.2d 947, 951 n. 5 (11th Cir.1989) (suit against defendant in his official capacity synonymous with claim against sovereign or entity for whom defendant acts). The doctrine of sovereign immunity,...

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