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Bolt v. Cessario

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

June 6, 2019

JAMES W. BOLT PLAINTIFF
v.
ROBERT CESSARIO, Federal Bureau of Investigation; KYRA E. JENNER, Assistant United States Attorney; and MARK W. WEBB, Assistant United States Attorney DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff, James W. Bolt, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. The case is before the Court for preservice screening under the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court has the obligation to screen any complaint in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on April 9, 2019. (Doc. 1). His application to proceed in forma pauperis was granted on May 17, 2019. (Doc. 8). Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Fort Worth Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

         Plaintiff named Robert Cessario, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Kyra E. Jenner and Mark W. Webb, Assistant United States Attorneys, as Defendants in his Complaint. He alleges they conspired with each other to deprive Plaintiff of substantive and procedural due process, meaningful access to the United States Courts, and effective assistance of counsel during a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 proceeding which is currently on appeal before the Eighth Circuit. See United States v. Bolt, No. 5:13-CR-50085 (habeas case).[1] Plaintiff sets forth six claims in his Complaint.

         In Claim One, Plaintiff alleges on or about March 16, 2017, Defendants Cessario, Jenner, and Webb “created a civil conspiracy to deny Plaintiff's right to habeas corpus relief” by intentionally violating an order from the District Court regarding the production of physical and electronic evidence. (Doc. 1 at 12). As part of the conspiracy, Plaintiff claims Defendants Jenner and Webb filed “spurious” court pleadings, made false, fraudulent and misleading statements to Plaintiff's counsel, and provided his counsel with altered, edited and redacted discovery data in an effort to “lull” Plaintiff's counsel from seeking sanctions. Plaintiff claims these actions impaired and prejudiced his counsel in the performance of his duties and “constitute the tort of outrage under Arkansas state law.” (Doc. 1 at 13).

         In Claim Two, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Cessario, between December 19, 2016, and mid-September 2017 (the date of the evidentiary hearing in the § 2255 case), violated the Court's discovery orders, which “in turn violated the rights of the plaintiff . . . to due process and the privilege of habeas corpus by concealing information he was directed to provide . . .” Id. at p. 14.

         In Claim Three, Plaintiff claims Defendant Cessario “violated the court's specific orders . . . by falsely stating that there were no records in the FBI data management systems as to [various undercover FBI attorneys] while being in possession of the required information . . . .” Id. at p. 15.

         In Claim Four, Plaintiff states Defendant Cessario violated Plaintiff's due process rights and the privilege of habeas corpus by “first obtaining unredacted corporate and financial records related to various FBI undercover corporate entities and agents . . . then altering redacting . . . such records, using FBI owned data processing equipment [laptop].” Id. at 16.

         In Claim Five, Plaintiff alleges Defendants Cessario, Jenner, and Webb “made a series of false, untrue, misleading and incomplete statements” to his attorney, Joseph Self, to “lull” him into inaction in advance of the September 2017 evidentiary hearing on the discovery issues before the Court. Id. Plaintiff goes on to state, “it was the purpose of these misleading statements to conceal their actual intent of completely non-complying with discovery items 24, 25 and especially 26 . . . of the court's December 19, 2016 discovery order.” Id. Plaintiff also alleges that during this timeframe, Defendant Cessario “in an effort to conceal his misconduct . . . did wipe his FBI laptop hard drive in such a means . . . as to conceal his and the other defendant's misconduct.” Id. at p. 16.

         In Claim Six, Plaintiff alleges Defendants Cessario, Jenner, and Webb “intended to cause spoliation of evidence that they were under court order to preserve and produce to plaintiff.” He states these actions were “done under the color of law” and “calculated and intended to conceal their own pervasive misconduct.” Id. at p. 18.

         Plaintiff is suing Defendants in their individual capacities only pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.[2]

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under the PLRA, the Court is obligated to screen the case prior to service of process being issued. The Court must dismiss a complaint, or any portion of it, if it contains claims that: (1) are frivolous, malicious, or fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or, (2) seek monetary ...


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