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Mendez v. LaRiva

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 8, 2018

Raphael Mendez, Plaintiff,
v.
Warden L. LaRiva, Supervisory Attorney K. Lundy, and Unknown Inmate Legal Mail Room Servers, Defendants.

          Raphael Mendez, pro se.

          Erin M. Secord, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANN D. MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge for a ruling on Plaintiff Raphael Mendez's (“Mendez”) Objection [Docket No. 40] to Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson's Report and Recommendation [Docket No. 39] (“R&R”). In the R&R, Judge Thorson recommends granting Defendants Warden L. LaRiva (“Warden LaRiva”), Supervisory Attorney K. Lundy (“Lundy”), and Unknown Inmate Legal Mail Room Servers' (collectively, “Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment [Docket No. 24]. For the reasons set forth below, Mendez's Objection is overruled, the R&R is adopted, and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment is granted.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Mendez is currently incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota (“FMC Rochester”). See Mendez v. Dole, Civ. No. 16-2644, 2017 WL 3730995, at *1 (D. Minn. Aug. 29, 2017). Mendez was indicted in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1990 for assault, possession of an unlicensed firearm during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a firearm by a felon. See Mendez v. Bureau of Prisons, No. 08-4971, 2009 WL 3856925, at *1 (D. Minn. Nov. 17, 2009). After he was determined to be incompetent to stand trial, Mendez was transferred to the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina for a period of restoration. Id. Pursuant to the procedures in 18 U.S.C. § 4246, Mendez was not restored to competency, and in 1991 he was civilly committed in the Eastern District of North Carolina. Id.

         A. Virgin Islands Lawsuit

         On March 7, 2016, Mendez filed a petition for mandamus with the Virgin Islands District Court. Secord Decl. [Docket No. 27] ¶ 4; Ex. B. The lawsuit seeks information and documents regarding the circumstances underlying his civil commitment. Id.

         On June 1, 2016, the Virgin Islands District Court denied Mendez's motion to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”) until he filed a certified copy of certain financial information. Secord Decl. Ex. E. The Virgin Islands Court sent Mendez a hard copy of this order via certified mail. Id. Ex. F.

         On June 2, 2016, Mendez filed a mandamus petition directly with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Id. Ex. P. On June 29, 2016, the Third Circuit denied the petition, noting that the

District Court recently attempted to correspond with Mendez, although the mail, sent to him at the most recent address he provided (P.O. Box 4000, Rochester, MN, 55903) was refused at its desitination and returned to sender. The District Court may wish to resend the mail to a complete address which includes FMC-Rochester and Mendez's Bureau of Prison's register number, or Mendez may need to verify or update his address.

Id. Ex. H at 3 n.1.

         Mendez alleges that in November 2016, he was notified by a telephone call from the Virgin Islands District Court that the June 1, 2016 order denying his IFP application was returned undelivered. Am. Compl. [Docket No. 10] 3. Mendez claims that as a result, his lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice. Id. On November 3, 2016, Mendez notified the Virgin Islands District Court that he did not receive the June 1, 2016 order. Secord Decl. Ex. I. Mendez filed a new IFP application and requested to proceed with his ...


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