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Mann v. Schlottman

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 22, 2017

JACK MANN, Plaintiff,
v.
SOE SCHLOTTMAN et al., Defendants.

         OPINION AND ORDER (1) GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF #44), (2) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (ECF #40), (3) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE MERITS OF THE CASE (ECF #39), (4) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR DEPOSITIONS AND INTERROGATORIES, (5) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL ALTERNATIVE RESOLUTION (ECF #52), (6) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT (ECF #58), AND (7) DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN OPPOSITION TO RULE 56 MOTION (ECF #62)

          MATTHEW F. LEITMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jack Mann (“Mann”) is an inmate currently incarcerated at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (the “BOP”) facility in Ashland, Kentucky (“FCI Ashland”). Between 2011 and 2014, Mann was incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Milan, Michigan (“FCI Milan”). A published BOP policy in effect at that time prohibited federal inmates from using BOP computers for personal use. Despite that policy, Mann (1) used a BOP computer to draft a manuscript entitled “Grimace and Me” and (2) stored the manuscript on a BOP computer. The BOP later transferred Mann to its facility in Allenwood, Pennsylvania (“FCI Allenwood”). After the transfer, Mann asked a BOP employee at FCI Milan to send him a copy of his manuscript. That employee declined to do so because Mann had created and stored the manuscript on a BOP computer in violation of BOP policy. Mann, acting pro se, then brought this civil action against the United States, the BOP, the Department of Justice, and several BOP employees. (See Compl., ECF #1; First Am. Compl., ECF #31.) Mann seeks $11, 000, 000 in damages for the refusal to return the manuscript and $1, 500, 000 in legal fees. (See First Am. Compl., ECF #31 at 4, Pg. ID 199.)

         There are two dispositive motions now pending before the Court: the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF #44) and Mann's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF #40). For the reasons below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and DENIES Mann's Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court also DENIES Mann's other motions that are pending in this case. (See ECF ## 52, 58, 62.)

         I. Factual Background and Mann's Amended Complaint

         In 2011, Mann was convicted of solicitation to commit murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 373(a), in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. See United States v. Mann, 10-cr-00035 at Docket #86 (N.D. Illinois, July 27, 2011). He was sentenced to a term of 105 months in custody. See Id. The BOP housed Mann at FCI Milan from October 2011 to November 2014. (See Inmate Quarters History, ECF #44-2 at 1-2, Pg. ID 362-63.)

         During Mann's time at FCI Milan, the BOP had an official published policy concerning inmate use of BOP computers. This policy, known as BOP Program Statement 1237.13, generally “prohibited inmates from using [BOP] computers for personal use.” (ECF #44-5 at 18, Pg. ID 416.) However, it contained an limited exception allowing inmates to use BOP computers to “generate” materials “as a result of” their enrollment in an “Educational or Vocational program.”[1]

         While Mann was an inmate at FCI Milan, he wrote and saved a personal manuscript titled “Grimace and Me” (the “Manuscript”) on a prison computer. (See Am. Compl., ECF #31 at 4-7, Pg. ID 199-202.) At the time he wrote the Manuscript he was not enrolled in a BOP educational or vocational program. Instead, he was “patient[ly] … wait[ing]” for a writing class to be scheduled in the future. (Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss, ECF # 51 at 4-5, Pg. ID 478-79; see also Am. Compl., ECF # 31 at 6, Pg. ID 201.) In fact, while Mann hoped to be able to enroll in an upcoming class, he was never able to do so. Notably, Mann does not allege that he was directed to prepare the Manuscript in preparation for his hoped-for enrollment in the future class, nor does he claim that the instructor gave him permission to prepare the Manuscript or bring it to a future class. Instead, Mann claims only that he asked the instructor if there would be a class at some point in the future, and the instructor said “yes.” (Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss, ECF # 51 at 25, Pg. ID 500.) Given these circumstances, Mann plainly did not write the Manuscript “as a result” of a BOP educational or vocational program, and he thus violated BOP Program Statement 1237.13 by using the computer to create and store it.

         Despite his violation of BOP Program Statement 1237.13, Mann asked Defendant Schlottman, a BOP employee at FCI Milan, to retrieve the Manuscript (for Mann) from the BOP computers. (See ECF #31 at 7, Pg. ID 202.) Schlottman allegedly told Mann that he would “handle” the matter, but Schlottman did not obtain the Manuscript for Mann. (Id.) According to Mann, Defendants Sauter and Gillespie were additional FCI Milan employees who were “aware of [his] need for the content saved [on the educational] computers” but neither provided him a copy of the content. (Id.) Mann also contacted Defendant Rische, a correctional officer at FCI Milan, who told Mann that “[w]e do not print off personal work on an educational only computer.” (Id. at 10, Pg. ID 205.)

         The BOP later transferred Mann to FCI Allenwood. (See Inmate Quarters History, ECF #44-2 at 1, Pg. ID 362.) After Mann was transferred to FCI Allenwood, he wrote Schlottman a letter stating that he “want[ed] a copy of the [Manuscript]” and instructing Schlottman to mail the Manuscript to his new address at FCI Allenwood. (See ECF #31 at 39, Pg. ID 234.) In response, Schlottman emailed Defendant Bittenbender, who is the Assistant Supervisor of Education at FCI Allenwood, to tell her that the Manuscript was “non-educational” and “for personal use” - and was thus created in violation of BOP Program Statement 1237.13. (Id. at 41, Pg. ID 236.) He told Bittenbender that he would not be providing the Manuscript to Mann.

         Mann felt aggrieved by the refusal to provide the Manuscript, and he decided to assert tort claims based upon the refusal. To begin the process of asserting tort claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1), on March 2, 2015, Mann filed a “Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death” on BOP Standard Form 95 (“Mann's Form 95”). (Id. at 30-35, Pg. ID 225-30.) In Mann's Form 95, he sought $11, 000, 000 for (1) “property damage” caused by loss of the Manuscript and (2) “personal injury” caused by “emotional distress, abuse of process, tortious interference with contract rights, ” “assault through menacing, ” and “loss of use.” (Id.)

         By letter dated June 25, 2015, the BOP responded to, and denied, the tort claims asserted in Mann's Form 95 (the “Denial Letter”). (See Id. at 37-38, Pg. ID 232-33.) The Denial Letter explained that the BOP had denied Mann's claim for personal injury damages because the BOP's investigation “did not reveal [that Mann] suffered any personal injury as a result of the negligent acts or omissions of BOP employees acting within the scope of their employment.” (Id.) Likewise, the Denial Letter said that the BOP denied Mann's claim for property damages based upon the results of its investigation. (See id.)

         On August 7, 2015, Mann filed suit in this Court. In his Amended Complaint, Mann asserts the following claims and identifies the following damages:

(a) Abuse of Process
(b) Fifth Amendment Violations
(c) First Amendment Violations
(d) Deliberate indifference
(e) Intentional Torts
(f) Non-intentional torts
(g) Conversion of Intellectual Property (h) Theft of Intellectual Property
(i) Personal Injury
(j) Tortious Interference with Contract ...

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