Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

BAGDONAS v. UNITED STATES

April 13, 1995

JOSEPH K. BAGDONAS, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RUBEN CASTILLO

 Plaintiff Joseph K. Bagdonas ("Bagdonas") alleges that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms ("ATF") acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when it denied federal firearms disabilities relief to Bagdonas. Currently before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, Bagdonas' motion for summary judgment is denied and the ATF's motion for summary judgment is granted.

 FACTS

 The facts which follow are both material and undisputed. Bagdonas was convicted in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, for violation of the National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. § 5861, on June 13, 1979, and was sentenced to a term of 5 years with 30 days incarceration and the remainder on probation. See Def.'s Rule 12(m) Statement at P 1. Bagdonas' felony conviction arose from his illegal possession and transfer of an unregistered firearm (silencer). Id. Bagdonas was subjected to a federal firearms disability, pursuant to the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), due to this felony conviction. Id. at P 2.

 Bagdonas subsequently sought relief for the federal firearms disability from ATF. Id. at P 3. After Bagdonas obtained relief from the Illinois State Police for the firearms disability, the ATF completed its investigation into the circumstances of Bagdonas' conviction and his record and reputation. Id. at P 4-8. As a part of its investigation, the ATF conducted interviews with Bagdonas, the persons Bagdonas had listed as character references, members of the community where Bagdonas lived, and his current and former employers. Id. at P 9. The ATF also checked Bagdonas' military and law enforcement records and interviewed his parole officers. Id.

 The ATF's investigation revealed that Bagdonas had been discharged from the army due to his mental condition after he had served less than 180 days of active duty. See id. at P 11(a); Pl's Rule 12(n) Statement at P 11(a). It was also revealed that Bagdonas had been arrested and charged with improper handling of a firearm on April 22, 1977. In this incident, Bagdonas was stopped for a traffic violation by a police officer who noticed a loaded .45 caliber pistol in the case in which Bagdonas carried his wallet. See Def.'s Rule 12(m) Statement at P 11(b). Investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bagdonas' 1979 federal conviction showed that Bagdonas had manufactured silencers from lawn mower mufflers and had been involved in sales of machineguns and silencers. During the course of one such sale, an associate of Bagdonas pointed a machine gun at an undercover ATF agent to "cover" Bagdonas. Id. at P 11(c). ATF's investigation included interviews with a neighbor who expressed a fear of Bagdonas and concern over the restoration of firearm privileges to Bagdonas. Id. at P 11(d). A former employer of Bagdonas also opposed the restoration of firearm privileges to Bagdonas. Id.

 After concluding its investigation, the ATF reached a determination that the statutory requirements regarding public safety and public interest for restoring Bagdonas' federal firearms privileges had not been satisfied and it, therefore, denied Bagdonas' application for relief on September 27, 1988. Id. at P 10. On October 10, 1988, Bagdonas appealed the denial of his application to the Director of the ATF. Id. at P 12. After reviewing Bagdonas' file the ATF concluded that the denial of relief was fully supported. Id. at P 13. The ATF also informed Bagdonas that he could reapply for restoration of his firearm privileges two years from September 27, 1988, the date of the original denial letter. Id. Bagdonas requested reconsideration of his application by letter dated August 30, 1993. Id. at P 16. The ATF informed Bagdonas by letter dated November 4, 1993, that sufficient reasons existed in 1988 to deny him relief. Id. at P 17. The ATF's November 4th letter also informed Bagdonas that a reapplication for relief would not now be considered because Congress had imposed budgetary restrictions upon the ATF which precluded the ATF from investigating and acting upon firearms relief applications. Id. at P 14 and 18. On May 3, 1994, Bagdonas filed this action, seeking judicial review of the ATF's denial of his application for relief of the federal firearm disability.

 DISCUSSION

 Summary Judgment Standard

 Summary judgment is only proper when the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548. A genuine issue of material fact exists only when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). In making its determination "the court must view all evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion for summary judgment," Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 218, 221 (7th Cir. 1990), and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Valley Liquors, Inc. v. Renfield Importers, Ltd., 822 F.2d 656, 659 (7th Cir.) cert. denied, 484 U.S. 977, 98 L. Ed. 2d 486, 108 S. Ct. 488 (1987). However, "one of the principle purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-27. Thus, if the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50; Flip Side Productions, Inc. v. Jam Productions, Ltd., 843 F.2d 1024, 1032 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 909, 102 L. Ed. 2d 249, 109 S. Ct. 261 (1988). Mere conclusory assertions, unsupported by specific facts, made in depositions or affidavits opposing a motion for summary judgment, are not sufficient to defeat a proper motion for summary judgment. Lujan v. National Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 111 L. Ed. 2d 695, 110 S. Ct. 3177 (1990); see also Jones v. Merchants Nat'l Bank & Trust Co., 42 F.3d 1054, 1058 (7th Cir. 1994) ("Self-serving assertions without factual support in the record will not defeat a motion for summary judgment.") Additionally, disputed facts become material only when they have the ability to affect the outcome of the suit. First Indiana Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 508 (7th Cir. 1992) quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The sole function of the court's deliberations is to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to support a verdict in the nonmovant's favor. Credibility determinations, weighing evidence, and drawing reasonable inferences are jury functions, not those of a judge when deciding a motion for summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

 B. Federal Firearms Disabilities

 Due to his prior conviction Bagdonas suffers from a federal firearms disability. Federal law prohibits anyone

 
who has been convicted in any court of . . . a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year . . . to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

 18 U.S.C. § 922(g). Bagdonas applied to the ATF for relief of his federal firearms disability under 18 U.S.C. § ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.