United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge
before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF
No. 14) to which Plaintiff has responded. ECF No. 17. The
Court now rules because no hearing is necessary. See
D. Md. Loc. R. 105.6. For the following reasons, the motion
Doe proceeds pro se and pseudonymously against the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and its Director,
Christopher Wray, because he has “been tortured into
repeated nervous breakdowns” and “almost
certainly would not proceed in this matter without the
pseudonymous status.” ECF No. 3 at 1. Doe claims that
Defendants have violated the Administrative Procedure Act
(Count I), violated the First, Second, Fifth, and Sixth
Amendments of the United States Constitution (Count II), and
committed treason (Count IV). Doe seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief, to include mandated “disclosure of
all governmental personnel and contractors, ” and
ordering Defendants to cease their “active
measures” against him. ECF No. 1 at 10.
the Complaint is dense, fugue-like, and at times inscrutable,
the heart of Doe's claims is the FBI's supposed
tampering with his FBI identification record. Doe asserts
that he had worked as a federal contractor within a civilian
division of the Directorate of National Intelligence
(“DNI”) at some point in the past. ECF No. 1
¶ 7. While at DNI, Doe claims to have been investigated
for leaking online unclassified information and subjected to
“over a decade of stalking and harassment both online
and offline” by the FBI, other unspecified governmental
agencies, and their federal contractors. Doe also asserts
that the FBI has placed him on a “terrorist watch list,
” engaged in “persistent sabotages” of
Doe's email, induced his sleep deprivation and
“surreptitious druggings, ” and interfered with
Doe's future employment. Id. ¶¶ 8-20.
The FBI, Doe asserts, also concocted “a contrived
incident attempting to produce sexual contact with a
minor” to cause him to be imprisoned abroad, and caused
his printer “to spew cyan toner over anything he
prints, ” interfering with his capacity to communicate
regarding such actions. Id. at 4 n.4, n.5. Notably,
Doe fails to allege any specific dates, times, or locations
related to, or individuals involved in, the events forming
the basis of his Complaint. In short, the “who, what,
when, and where” of the Complaint are missing.
move to dismiss on various grounds. With regard to the claims
based on the FBI's alleged tampering with his records,
Defendants assert such claims are controlled by the Privacy
Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, and must be dismissed for lack of
jurisdiction because Doe has failed to exhaust administrative
remedies prior to filing suit. Defendants further assert that
the Complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
The Court addresses each argument in turn.
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a
plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations are accepted as true
and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). “However, conclusory statements or a
‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not [suffice].'” EEOC v.
Performance Food Grp., Inc., 16 F.Supp.3d 584, 588 (D.
Md. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above a speculative level.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. “‘[N]aked assertions' of
wrongdoing necessitate some ‘factual enhancement'
within the complaint to cross ‘the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to
relief.'” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d
186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
pro se pleadings are construed liberally to allow for the
development of a potentially meritorious case, Hughes v.
Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980), a court cannot ignore a
clear failure to allege facts setting forth a cognizable
claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901
F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990) (“The ‘special
judicial solicitude' with which a district court should
view such pro se complaints does not transform the court into
an advocate. Only those questions which are squarely
presented to a court may properly be addressed.”)
(internal citation omitted)). See also Bell v. Bank of
Am., N.A., No. RDB-13-0478, 2013 WL 6528966, at *1 (D.
Md. Dec. 11, 2013) (“[A] pro se plaintiff is
general[ly] given more leeway than a party represented by
counsel, ” however “a district court is not
obligated to ferret through . . . a complaint that is so
confused, ambiguous, vague or otherwise unintelligible that
its true substance, if any, is well disguised.”).
“[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose
to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no
more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies
extent Doe's allegations arise from Defendants'
supposed tampering with his FBI identification record,
Defendants maintain that dismissal is warranted for Doe's
failure to exhaust administrative remedies under the Privacy
Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. The Court agrees.
identification record, commonly known as a “rap sheet,
” is a compilation of information gathered in response
to fingerprint submissions submitted by other agencies in
connection with arrests. 28 C.F.R. § 16.31. Under the
Privacy Act, an individual may request access to such records
or any information pertaining to the individual and
maintained by an agency. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(d)(1). The
individual may challenge the information included in the FBI
identification record by applying “directly to the
agency which contributed the questioned information, ”
or ask the FBI to forward the challenge to the contributing
entity. 28 C.F.R. § 16.34. The contributing agency then
has ten working days to notify the requester of its decision.
5 U.S.C. § 552a(d)(2). If the individual disagrees with
the agency's decision, he may seek agency review.
Id. § 552a(d)(3). The agency then has thirty
days to “complete such review and make a final
determination.” Id. Only after such final