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Edokob v. U.S. General Services Administration

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 26, 2018

EMMANUEL EDOKOB, Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, et al., Defendants. EMMANUEL EDOKOBI, Plaintiff,
v.
COAKLEY REALTY MANAGEMENT, et al, Defendants. EMMANUEL EDOKOBI, Plaintiff,
v.
VERIZON MARYLAND, INC., et ai., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG JUDGE

         Plaintiff Emmanuel Edokobi has filed suit against 22 individual and organizational defendants including the United States General Services Administration ("GSA"), the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General ("HHS-OIG"), and seven federal officials (collectively, "the Federal Defendants"); the Maryland Department of General Services and one Maryland state official; the Prince George's County, Maryland Government, the Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development, the Prince George's County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, and three Prince George's County officials; Rory Coakley, Donnie Baxter, and Coakley Realty Management, LLC; Verizon Maryland, LLC; and three other individuals.

         Edokobi alleges 45 separate causes of action against Defendants, including violations of Edokobi's rights under the First, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; violations of comparable rights under the Maryland Constitution; "Conspiracy with Prejudice and Malice to Ruin Plaintiffs Life" and other claims of conspiracy; defamation and various other common law torts; and claims of aiding and abetting.

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Consolidated Motion to Dismiss on Limitation Grounds Only. Having reviewed the submitted materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Factual History

         In 2008, Edokobi was the president of a charitable organization known as the United Support Foundation ("USF") which provided computer training classes and other services in Maryland. On October 14, 2008, Defendant Ronald Dawkins, then a Special Agent with GSA Office of the Inspector General ("GSA-OIG") filed an affidavit ("the Dawkins Affidavit") in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland requesting a search warrant for Edokobi's residence at 2005 Stratton Drive, Potomac, Maryland ("the Property") to uncover evidence related to the crimes of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 371 (2012), theft of government property, 18 U.S.C. § 641, tax evasion, 26 U.S.C. § 7201 (2012), and fraud and false statements, 26 U.S.C. § 7206. SA Dawkins alleged that Edokobi used the USF to receive donations of surplus computers from the federal government and sell them for a profit, in violation of regulations that governed a federal computer donation program. United States Magistrate Judge William G. Connelly authorized the search warrant that same day. The Court's electronic case management system assigned the search warrant an "mj," or Magistrate Judge, case number, 08-mj-3379-WGC, in order to consolidate and track filings related to the application for and execution of the search warrant. See Federal Judicial Center, Sealed Cases in Federal Courts 2 (Oct. 23, 2009), available at. http://www.uscourts.gov/ sites/default/files/ sealed-cases.pdf.[1] Although it is not referenced in Edokobi's Amended Complaint, the case management system assigned a separate number to track filings related to the application and execution of a search warrant for the USF facility as well: 08-mj-3380-WGC.

         Two days later, on October 16, 2008, government agents executed the search warrant at the Property, seizing various computer equipment, paper records, and identity documents. See Search Warrant Return, USA v. 2005 Stratton Drive, Potomac, Maryland 20854, No. 08-mj-3379-WGC ("the Search Warrant Case") (D. Md. Oct. 21, 2008) (ECF No. 5).[2] There is no evidence that following this search, SA Dawkins or any other law enforcement agent took any action relating to the investigation. There were no further searches of the Property or USF facilities, and no criminal charges were filed against Edokobi or USF.

         According to Edokobi, the execution of the search warrant and subsequent failure to file criminal charges against him had a severely negative impact on several aspects of his life. He lives in "constant fear and uncertainty," has been unable to obtain a job in his "fields of training and specialization," and cannot obtain a "Public Trust Security Clearance," all as an alleged result of the "non-prosecution of the criminal case." Am. Compl. ¶¶ 69, 74, 87, ECF No. 68. Since 2008, Edokobi has been unwilling to travel outside of the United States for "fear of being declared a wanted person by Defendants." Id. ¶ 73. The latest injury that Edokobi attributes to the 2008 search of the Property and the failure to terminate the Search Warrant Case occurred on October 14, 2015, when his vehicle was rear-ended in a traffic accident, resulting in an injury to his left hand. According to Edokobi, the accident was a "direct result" of the non-prosecution of the Search Warrant case because if he had been able to obtain a job in his desired field, he would not have been forced to accept a "driving around job" and would therefore not have been driving a vehicle on October 14, 2015, when he was injured. Id. ¶¶ 103-113.

         Edokobi also claims that Defendants have "made it impossible for [him] to complete a loan modification application on [his] home mortgage" since 2010. Id. ¶ 129. In support of this claim, Edokobi attached a copy of a letter written in support of his loan modification application on November 23, 2010 ("the Hardship Letter"). In the Hardship Letter, Edokobi disputed the assertion in the Dawkins Affidavit that there was probable cause to search the Property, denied that USF had engaged in any wrongdoing, and asserted that the law enforcement agents "had to tell outright lies" and engage in "the manufacture of bogus and self-incriminating affidavits" in order to secure the warrant. Hardship Letter at 1-2, 6, Am. Compl. Ex. 5, ECF No. 68-5. Edokobi included with the Hardship Letter a copy of the search warrant and portions of the inventory of seized items that was submitted with the return of the search warrant.

         Despite his repeated claims of persecution at the hands of Defendants, Edokobi presents no evidence in the Amended Complaint that any of the Federal Defendants, or any other Defendant, communicated or otherwise interacted with Edokobi after the 2008 search. In his Opposition to Defendants' Motion, Edokobi includes a letter from Charles Pine, the Director of Field Operations, Eastern Area, for the United States Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, which states that all documents seized from Edokobi's home were returned to his wife on May 1, 2012, and that Edokobi could arrange for the return of the computer and data storage equipment from HHS-OIG Special Agent Alex Hernandez. According to Edokobi, however, on May 20, 2012, his wife was told that the computers and data storage equipment in SA Hernandez's custody would not be returned because "they have not completed their criminal investigation." Opp'n Mot. Dismiss at 22-23, ECF No. 74. In October 2012, Edokobi sent letters to SA Hernandez and HHS Inspector General Defendant Daniel Levinson demanding the return of these items, but there is no evidence that either Defendant responded to these requests.

         Meanwhile, the Dawkins Affidavit remained under seal. On September 9, 2016, Edokobi filed a "Motion Requesting the Court to Unseal USA (Plaintiffs) Affidavit in Support of Application for Search Warrant Filed in Docket Number Four of Defendant's Criminal Case Number 8:08-mj-03379-WGC and Criminal Case Number 8:08-mj-03380-WGC Pending in this Court since October 21, 2008." Mot. Unseal, the Search Warrant Case (ECF No. 7). In response, the Government filed a Motion to Unseal the Dawkins Affidavit, which was granted by the Court (DiGirolamo, M.J.) on September 23, 2016. Edokobi then proceeded to file voluminous motions in the Search Warrant Case requesting various forms of relief. One of these motions, in which Edokobi sought to refute various statements in the Dawkins Affidavit, included briefs and exhibits totaling over 1, 600 pages.

         II. Procedural History

         On August 28, 2017, Edokobi filed the Complaint in Case No. TDC-17-2469 alleging 52 causes of action against 31 individual and organizational defendants. On September 22, 2017, Edokobi filed a second action, Case No. TDC-17-2825, alleging 46 causes of action against 19 individual and organizational defendants, including some of the same defendants named in the No. TDC-17-2469. The Court held a case management conference with the parties in both cases on January 10, 2018, during which the Court established a briefing schedule for various defense motions and directed the parties to file a Joint Status Report on the prospect of settlement in these cases. During that conference, when Edokobi stated that the only relief he was seeking was for the Search Warrant Case to be closed and for his property to be returned to him, counsel for the Federal Defendants offered to look into the Search Warrant Case and see if he could arrange for its closure and for the return any property remaining in government custody. On ...


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