United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
BENJAMIN H. SETTLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment. Dkts. 12, 23 (redacted at
Dkts. 15, 24). The Court has considered the pleadings filed
in support of and in opposition to the motions and the
remainder of the file and hereby grants summary judgment in
favor of Plaintiff Scott Ryan Siperek.
March 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed his complaint against the
United States of America (“Government”). Dkt. 1.
In his complaint, Plaintiff seeks reversal of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation's (“FBI”)
administrative decision denying his appeal related to an
attempted firearm purchase labelled as transaction number
1003JH0DH. Id. He also seeks an order requiring the
FBI to correct information in the National Instant Background
Check System (“NICS”) by removing his previous
juvenile offense. Id. Ultimately, Plaintiff seeks to
remove the FBI's restriction on his right to possess a
firearm. Id. On June 1, 2017, the Government filed
an answer. Dkt. 9.
23, 2017, the Government moved for summary judgment. Dkt. 15.
On July 6, 2017, the parties entered a stipulation to enable
Plaintiff to file a cross motion for summary judgment and
simplify the briefing schedule. Dkt. 20. On July 17, 2017,
Plaintiff responded to the Government's motion and filed
his cross-motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 24. On August 7,
2017, the Government filed a combined reply and response on
the cross-motions for summary judgment. Dkt. 27. On August
11, 2017, Plaintiff filed his reply. Dkt. 28.
Juvenile Proceedings and Attempted Firearm Purchase
2001, Plaintiff was a juvenile respondent found guilty of an
offense punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one
year. Dkt. 13 at 2 (redacted at Dkt. 16). Specifically,
Plaintiff was found guilty of Child Molestation, a
“Class A” felony sex offense. Id.
March 11, 2016, Plaintiff obtained an order from the Kitsap
County Superior Court of Washington State vacating and
sealing his juvenile offender record pursuant to RCW
13.50.260. Dkt. 1-2. The order states:
Petitioner moved for an order vacating and sealing juvenile
offender records pursuant to RCW Title 13.50.260;
* * * It is now, therefore; ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED as
follows: With the exception of identifying information under
RCW 13.50.050(13) [all applicable agencies] shall each,
individually and together, seal any and all notes, files,
social files, computer records and/or references to any
juvenile criminal/offender activity or investigation
referencing the petitioner in the above captioned matters,
including but not limited to, juvenile court records, social
file records, prosecuting attorney records, law enforcement
records, notes, and computer records.
This proceeding and those cases shall be treated as having
never occurred and the orders finding petitioner guilty and
sentencing or diverting petitioner for cases referenced
herein shall hereby be sealed pursuant to RCW Title 13.50.260
and/or RCW 13.40.127 subject to the limitations of RCW
13.50.050(13). The petitioner and all individuals ordered to
seal their records in this matter shall hereinafter treat
this case as if it never occurred.
The [applicable agencies] shall reply to any such inquiry
concerning the records of petitioner or these proceedings,
that they are confidential and no information shall be given
regarding their existence or non-existence.
April 29, 2016, Plaintiff obtained another order from the
Superior Court purporting to restore his right to possess
firearms pursuant to RCW 9.41.040(4). Dkt. 1-3. The order
THE COURT HEREBY FINDS on March 11, 2016 the Kitsap County
Superior Court-Juvenile Court issued an Order that vacated,
sealed, and ordered proceedings in Cause No. O1-8-00764-9 to
be treated as if they never occurred pursuant to RCW
13.50.260; and the Petitioner is qualified, pursuant to RCW
9.41.040(4), to have the right to possess firearms fully
restored; now therefore:
THE COURT HEREBY ORDERS that Petitioner Scott Siperek's
civil rights and right to possess firearms are FULLY RESTORED
pursuant to RCW 9.41.040(4) and/or 13.50.260(6). The clerk of
the court shall, forthwith, provide a certified copy of this
Order to the Washington State Patrol-Identification Section.
The Washington State Patrol shall transmit a copy of this
order to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
December 3, 2016, Plaintiff attempted to purchase a firearm
from a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”). Dkt. 13
at 1 (redacted at Dkt. 16). The FFL requested a background
check on Plaintiff, which was processed through NICS as
transaction number 1003JH0DH. Id. On December 7,
2016, NICS reviewed Plaintiff's background information
and decided that, regardless of the April 29, 2016 court
order restoring Plaintiff's rights to possess a firearm,
the order could not be applied to Plaintiff's juvenile
class A felony conviction for Child Molestation. Id.
at 2. Accordingly, on December 8, 2017, NICS directed the FFL
to deny Plaintiff's firearm purchase, and the FFL did not
complete the transaction. Id. at 1.
December 8, 2016, Plaintiff submitted an NICS appeal request
form. Dkt. 1 at 4. On December 14, 2016, the FBI mailed
Plaintiff a letter explaining that the transaction was denied
because he was prohibited from possessing a firearm under 18
U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(2) and 922(g)(1). Dkt. 1-4. The
FBI further informed Plaintiff that he could challenge the
denial by submitting certified court documents to NICS. Dkt.
1-4. On January 5, 2017, Plaintiff allegedly mailed his
documentation to NICS and initiated an administrative appeal.
Dkt. 1 at 4.
January 13, 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives (“ATF”) allegedly contacted
Plaintiff by phone to inform him that he was prohibited from
possessing a firearm. Dkt. 1 at 4. In subsequent email
communications, ATF counsel explained that:
[A]s long as [Plaintiff]'s A-felony conviction appears on
his NCIC report, they will consider him prohibited. The
subsequent restoration of rights doesn't alleviate the
prohibition because A-felony convictions are not subject to
9.41.040 restoration provisions.
Dkt. 23-5 at 3 (redacted at Dkt. 24-5).
than his contact with the ATF, Plaintiff has not yet received
a response regarding his appeal. Dkt. 1 at 5. Accordingly, on
March 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit pursuant
to 18 U.S.C. § 925A. Dkt. 1.
Legal Framework for Restricting Plaintiff's Possession of
18 U.S.C § 925A, a person denied a firearm pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 922 “may bring an action . . . against
the United States . . . for an order directing that the
erroneous information be corrected or that the transfer be
approved, as the case may be.” 18 U.S.C § 925A.
Additionally “[i]n any action under this section, the
court, in its ...