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Mansa v. United States

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 30, 2017

MARK MANSA, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES Defendant.

          RULING ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Mark Mansa, brings this action against the United States of America under the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), et. seq., alleging negligence on the part of several officials of the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) acting in their official capacities. See Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 1. Defendant has moved to dismiss the Complaint under Rule 12(b)(1) on the grounds that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, as well as Rule 12(b)(6) on the grounds that the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Def.'s Mot., ECF No. 9. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

         I. Factual Allegations[1]

         On December 30, 2011, Mr. Mansa alleges that he pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana in violation of federal drug laws. Compl. ¶ 3. On June 1, 2012, a federal judge sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of 46 months, which he began serving on July 6, 2016. Id. Mr. Mansa allegedly participated in the Residential Drug Abuse Program (“RDAP”) while incarcerated. Id. at ¶ 4. On or about May 6, 2014, prison officials transferred Mr. Mansa to a Residential Reentry Center (“RRC”) in Waterbury, Connecticut (“the Chase Center”) because Mr. Mansa had completed the residential phase of the RDAP program. Id. As an RDAP participant, Mr. Mansa was required to provide the Chase Center with a urine sample for drug testing approximately two times per week. Id. at ¶ 5.

         On or about May 20, 2014, Mr. Mansa claims that he began working at Cameron's Deli in Cross River, New York. Id. at ¶ 6. He alleges that his employer gave him a daily food allowance to purchase items from Cameron's, which he often used to purchase sandwiches and rolls, all of which contained poppy seeds. Id. at ¶ 7. On July 7, 2014, Mr. Mansa allegedly informed the Chase Center that he had been consuming poppy seeds. Id. at ¶ 8. A Chase Center employee allegedly noted this in Mr. Mansa's file. Id.

         In June 2014, the Chase Center notified Mr. Mansa that he had produced a urine sample containing morphine. Compl. ¶ 9. On July 1, 2014, prison officials allegedly notified Mr. Mansa that he would be remanded into custody because of the test results. Id. at ¶ 12. The next day, Mr. Mansa alleges that he submitted hundreds of hairs for gas chromatography/mass spectrometry testing, which allegedly resulted in a negative determination “for all five major drug classes.” Id. at ¶ 13. Nevertheless, prison officials transferred Mr. Mansa to Donald W. Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island (“Wyatt”). Id. at ¶ 14. During his subsequent stay at Wyatt, which allegedly lasted several months, Mr. Mansa “suffered physical pain and discomfort and loss of freedom as a direct and proximate consequence of his imprisonment by the defendant.” Id. at ¶ 15.

         Mr. Mansa alleges that an administrative claim “was served upon the defendant's duly authorized representatives on or about December 21, 2015, which was within two years of the events alleged.” Compl. ¶ 16. He alleges that Defendants denied the claim by letter dated January 4, 2016. Id. Several months later, Mr. Mansa filed this Complaint, alleging negligence under the FTCA.

         II. Standard of Review

         Defendant seeks to dismiss Mr. Mansa's Complaint under both Rule 12(b)(1) and Rule 12(b)(6), making two standards of review applicable.

         First, when a court reviews a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), it “must accept as true all material factual allegations in the complaint, but [it is] not to draw inferences from the complaint favorable to plaintiffs.” J.S. ex rel. N.S. v. Attica Cent. Schs., 386 F.3d 107, 110 (2d Cir. 2004). The burden of proving subject matter jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence is on the plaintiff. Aurecchione v. Schoolman Transp. Sys., Inc., 426 F.3d 635, 638 (2d Cir. 2005). “In resolving a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1), a district court . . . may refer to evidence outside the pleadings” to resolve the jurisdictional issue, Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000) (citing Kamen v. American Tel. & Tel. Co., 791 F.2d 1006, 1011 (2d Cir. 1986)), but a court “may not rely on conclusory or hearsay statements contained in the affidavits.” Attica Cent. Sch., 386 F.3d at 110.

         Second, to survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is facially plausible if “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 570. Although “detailed factual allegations” are not required, a complaint must offer more than “labels and conclusions, ” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” or “naked assertion[s]” devoid of “further factual enhancement.” Id. at 557.

         When determining whether the plaintiff has stated a plausible claim for relief, the Court may consider only “the facts as asserted within the four corners of the complaint, the documents attached to the complaint as exhibits, and any documents incorporated in the complaint by reference.” McCarthy v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 482 F.3d 184, 191 (2d Cir. 2007). The Court must accept the allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. In re NYSE Specialists Sec. Litig., 503 F.3d 89, 95 (2d Cir. 2007).

         III. Discussion

         Defendant seeks to dismiss Mr. Mansa's Complaint in its entirety under two provisions of Rule 12(b). Defendant invokes Rule 12(b)(1), claiming that the Court does not have jurisdiction over Mr. Mansa's Complaint because it alleges false imprisonment and seeks to challenge the BOP's “discretionary decisions, ” neither of which are actionable under the FTCA. In the alternative, Defendant argues ...


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