United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on respondent's motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (DE 7). The issues raised have
been fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication. For the
following reasons, the court grants respondent's motion
April 14, 2011, petitioner pleaded guilty in the United
States District Court for the District of South Carolina to a
single count of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
1344. United States v. Pendergrass, No.
4:10-CR-1049-RBH-1 (D.S.C. April 14, 2011). On November 17,
2011, the sentencing court sentenced petitioner to 37 months
imprisonment and 5 years of supervised released. (Pet. Ex. C
(DE 1-1) at 10-12). In addition, petitioner was ordered to
pay a $100.00 special assessment and $4, 795.76 in
restitution, both due immediately. (Id. at 13). The
sentencing court ordered that any restitution balance not
paid immediately be paid in monthly instalments of $250.00 to
commence within 30 days after release from imprisonment.
(Id. at 14).
January 31, 2014, petitioner completed his term of
imprisonment and was released to his term of supervised
release. (Pet. Ex. A (DE 1-1) at 2). Petitioner later
violated the terms of his supervised release. On February 5,
2016, his supervised release was revoked and he received a
30-month sentence of imprisonment, with no additional
monetary penalties imposed. (Pet. Ex. B (DE 1-1) at 8-9). At
the time petitioner's supervised release was revoked, he
had not satisfied the $4, 795.76 in restitution ordered as
part of his original criminal judgment. (Id. at 8).
petitioner had not completed his restitution payments, prison
officials offered to place petitioner in the inmate financial
responsibility program (“IFRP”). (Pet. (DE 1) at
7). The IFRP assists inmates in developing plans to meet
their financial obligations, including those imposed as part
of their criminal judgments. BOP Program Statement 5380.08,
Financial Responsibility Program, Inmate (Aug. 15,
[https://perma.cc/KQ4Y-JBRH]. Petitioner refused to
participate in the program and alleges that he received
punitive “sanctions” as a result of his refuse to
particiapte. (Pet. (DE 1) at 7). Petitioner was released from
federal custody on February 16, 2018. Fed. Bureau Prisons,
Find an Inmate, BOP Register Number 22080-171,
19, 2017, petitioner filed the instant petition for a writ of
habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in this
court, asserting that BOP does not have authority to collect
restitution payments from him through the IFRP and that he
received improper “sanctions” as a result of his
refusal to participate in the IFRP. (Pet. (DE 1) at 6-7;
Pet'r's Resp. (DE 10) at 2-3). Respondent filed a
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that the
petitioner is not entitled to habeas relief. The motion was
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) determines only whether
a claim is stated; “it does not resolve contests
surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses.” Republican Party v.
Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992). A claim is
stated if the complaint contains “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In
evaluating whether a claim is stated, “[the] court
accepts all well-pled facts as true and construes these facts
in the light most favorable to the [petitioner], ” but
does not consider “legal conclusions, elements of a
cause of action, . . . bare assertions devoid of further
factual enhancement[, ] . . . unwarranted inferences,
unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Nemet
Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d
250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). When evaluating
a motion to dismiss, the court may consider the exhibits
attached to the petition and matters of public record,
without converting the motion into one for summary judgment.
See Philips v. Pitt Cnty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d
176, 180 (4th Cir. 2009).
as here, a petitioner has been released from custody before
the habeas proceedings conclude, “the court must . . .
determine if the case is moot.” Taylor v.
Huffman, 36 F.3d 1094, 1994 WL 525073, at *1 (4th Cir.
1994) (table). A § 2241 claim becomes moot “when
the issues presented are no longer ‘live' or the
parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the
outcome.” Leonard v. Hammond, 804 F.2d 838,
842 (4th Cir. 1986). In other words, the petitioner
“must have suffered, or be threatened with, an actual
injury traceable to the defendant and likely to be redressed
by a favorable judicial decision.” Spencer v.
Kemna, 523 U.S. 1, 7 (1998). A case therefore becomes
moot “when the claimant receives the relief he or she
sought to obtain through the claim.” Simmons v.
United Mortg. & Loan Inv., LLC, 634 F.3d 754, 763
petitioner's sole claim is that the BOP has been
improperly attempting to collect restitution payments from
him through the IFRP and imposing punitive sanctions based on
his refusal to participate in the program. Petitioner's
release from federal custody moots this claim: BOP is no
longer attempting to “force” petitioner to
participate in the IFRP or imposing any sanctions on him due
to his refusal to participate. See, e.g.,
Simmons, 634 F.3d at 763 (claim is moot where the
petitioner receives all the relief he sought to obtain
through his claim); Bryant v. Berkebile, No. 10-482,
2013 WL 4012641, at *1-2 (S.D. W.Va. Aug. 5, 2013)
(dismissing as moot § 2241 petition challenging IFRP due
to petitioner's release from federal custody); see
also Alston v. Adams, 178 F. App'x 295, 295-96 (4th
Cir. 2006) (dismissing as moot appeal of order in § 2241
proceeding because petitioner was no longer in federal
this result, petitioner requests “that his petition not
be deemed as moot . . . because of the possibility of any
future attempt of the BOP to attempt to enforce [the
restitution portion of his November 21, 2011 criminal
judgment].” (Pet'r's Resp. (DE 10) at 15).
Petitioner cannot avoid the mootness doctrine by arguing that
he may violate the law again and serve a new term of
imprisonment. See O'Shea v. Littleton, 414 U.S.
488, 497 (1974) (“[W]e are . . . unable to conclude
that the case-or-controversy requirement is satisfied by
general assertions or inferences that in the course of their
activities respondents will ...