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BENSON v. UNITED STATES

July 7, 1997

WILLIAM J. BENSON, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, JOAN BAINBRIDGE SAFFORD, TONY MORTON, ANN MARIE KLAPRAT, and UNKNOWN CONSPIRATORS JOHN DOE 1, 2, 3, etc., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 Before the court is defendants United States of America and Tony Morton's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(b). For the reasons that follow, the court grants defendants' motion.

 I. BACKGROUND1

 Plaintiff William J. Benson was convicted in December 1989 of tax evasion and willful failure to file tax returns, and began serving his four-year sentence on May 29, 1990. Benson was scheduled to be paroled on September 27, 1991. Shortly before that date, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Benson's conviction, *fn2" and the trial judge entered a release order releasing Benson from prison pending a new trial. The Bureau of Prisons released Benson on September 4, 1991.

 On February 2, 1994, Benson again was tried and convicted on the same tax charges. The trial judge imposed the same four-year sentence, to be followed by five years' probation, and ordered Benson to pay the costs of his prosecution. Benson began serving his second four-year sentence on November 10, 1994. However, because of the time that he already had served, Benson was paroled on November 28, 1994. *fn3" It was at this time that defendant Tony Morton became Benson's parole officer. The Seventh Circuit affirmed Benson's second conviction and sentence. *fn4"

 Benson's parole is scheduled to end on July 30, 1997. In return for early release from prison, Benson agreed to certain parole conditions, including that he (1) would remain within the limits of the Northern District of Illinois and not leave the jurisdiction without the permission of his parole officer; (2) would not violate any law; (3) would not associate with persons engaged in criminal activity; (4) would submit a complete and truthful monthly report as required by his parole officer; and (5) would make a diligent effort to satisfy the court's assessment of the costs of his prosecution and, upon request, would provide financial information relevant to the payment of the assessment.

 Benson also failed to complete monthly supervision reports required by Morton as a condition of Benson's parole. While he submitted partially completed reports, Benson failed to provide all of the required information regarding his finances. Benson contended that he had no obligation to disclose financial information such as monthly income and expenses, assets, and purchases. Benson also refused to disclose the sources of money that he used to reduce his assessment of costs, stating that the money was anonymously donated. Benson also denied that he was a parolee, stating that he signed the certificate of parole under duress.

 Nonetheless, on November 9, 1995, Morton approved Benson's request to travel throughout the United States for work as long as Benson adhered to his parole conditions. Morton subsequently approved other travel requests by Benson.

 In November 1996, Benson filed this civil rights lawsuit against Morton in his individual capacity, the United States, and several other individuals. In Count I, which attempts to state claims under Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S. Ct. 1999, 29 L. Ed. 2d 619 (1971), Benson alleges that Morton violated Benson's first amendment rights by threatening him with incarceration if he spoke out against the sixteenth amendment or traveled beyond the Northern District of Illinois to give speeches regarded the sixteenth amendment. *fn5" In Count II, Benson alleges that Morton engaged in three conspiracies under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1985: to release grand jury materials illegally in an attempt to prejudice the jury against Benson; knowingly and falsely to represent to the trial judge that Benson had more time to serve on his original four-year sentence; and knowingly and falsely to deny Benson his right to travel and speak out on matters of federal corruption by threatening Benson with incarceration. Benson also alleges that the United States is liable for the acts of Morton, its employee, under Bivens and section 1985. Benson seeks compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys fees on each count.

 Morton and the United States now move for summary judgment on Benson's entire cause of action.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Individual defendants other than Morton

 On May 21, 1997, the court granted the United States' oral motion to dismiss defendants Joan Bainbridge Safford and Ann Marie Klaprat as parties defendant pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m), and dismissed those defendants from Benson's lawsuit.

 In addition, claims against unknown persons, such as the "Unknown conspirators John Doe 1, 2, 3, etc." named by Benson, are "meaningless and uncompensable." Collier v. Rodriguez, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13719, No. 96 C 0023, 1996 WL 535326, *4 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 18, 1996); see also Copeland v. Northwestern Memorial Hosp., 964 F. Supp. 1225, 1234 (N.D. Ill. 1997). Benson failed to identify, sue, or serve any named defendants in place of the unknown defendants. Accordingly, the court now dismisses the "Unknown conspirators John Doe 1, 2, 3, etc." as parties defendant.

 Consequently, only Morton and the United States remain as defendants, and the motion for summary judgment is only as to those two defendants.

 A motion for summary judgment must be granted if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). The burden is on the moving party to show that no genuine issues of material fact exist. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256, 106 S. Ct. 2505, ...


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