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Bernier v. United States, No. 20-956, 2022 WL 568339 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 24, 2022) (Mariani, J.)


Bernier v. United States, No. 20-956, 2022 WL 568339 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 24, 2022) (Mariani, J.)

Re:  Request for plaintiff's urinalysis records

Disposition:  Granting defendants' motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment

  • Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies:  "Defendants argue that Bernier failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act with respect to his APA and FOIA Claims."  "The record simply does not support a finding that the administrative process was unavailable to [plaintiff]."  "To the contrary, it establishes that [plaintiff] had ready access to the administrative remedy process."  "It is clear that [plaintiff] failed to properly [exhaust his] administrative remedies with respect to his APA and FOIA claims before initiating the instant action."  "Moreover, [plaintiff] has not demonstrated that his failure to fully pursue such administrative relief should be excused."  "It is [] undisputed that [plaintiff] failed to exhaust any administrative remedies concerning . . . his FOIA request."  "Notably, he has not provided a verified affidavit, declaration, or any other statement made under the penalty of perjury to support any argument that he properly exhausted his APA and FOIA claims."

    "In May 2019, [plaintiff] made a FOIA request to the BOP . . . ."  "[Plaintiff] initiated the instant federal action on or about May 11, 2019."  "It is clear that [plaintiff] filed this action before the agency was given the opportunity to respond to his request."  The court finds that "because the agency has since responded to [plaintiff's] request, his FOIA claim is subject to dismissal as moot."
  • Litigation Considerations, Relief:  "[Plaintiff] seeks injunctive relief in the form of requiring the BOP . . . to produce the urinalysis documents which he requested under FOIA . . . ."  "His request for injunctive relief is directed at the BOP and relates to his confinement at FCI-Allenwood."  "This is problematic as he is no longer in BOP custody."  "In this instance, the release of [plaintiff] from BOP custody renders his request for relief moot."  "Therefore, the request for injunctive relief must be dismissed."
  • Litigation Considerations, Pleadings:  "The above claims set forth by [plaintiff] are legally and factually flawed."  "The Court concludes that granting [plaintiff] leave to amend [his complaint] would be futile as he has failed to oppose Defendants' motion, despite being afforded two extensions of time to do so."


Court Decision Topic(s)
District Court opinions
Litigation Considerations, Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Litigation Considerations, Pleadings
Litigation Considerations, Relief
Updated March 15, 2022