United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
the Court are two motions. First is Patrick Kelley's
motion to dismiss Richard Lambert's claim against him.
[D. 33]. Second is Lambert's motion to amend his
complaint. [D. 45]. For the following reasons, the motion to
dismiss is granted and the motion to amend is denied.
Lambert was an FBI agent 1989-2012. In 2002, he was placed in
charge of the FBI's investigation into the post-9/11
anthrax attacks. Lambert found his efforts marked by
intransigence, apathy, and error from all sides. He
summarized these problems in a July 2006 report that he sent
to the FBI's Deputy Director. Lambert left the
investigation around that time.
the investigation, the Government named Steven Hatfill as a
person of interest. He responded by suing the Government in
D.C. federal court. During discovery, Hatfill's attorney
acquired several emails written by Lambert detailing his
complaints about the anthrax investigation. And when
Hatfill's lawyer deposed Lambert, further complaints came
attorney then approached CBS about bringing to light the
problems with the anthrax investigation. In April 2008,
60 Minutes aired an episode that used Lambert's
emails and deposition testimony to reveal those problems. It
led to public and congressional backlash against the FBI.
kept working for the FBI until he retired in 2012. He soon
took a job as Senior Counterintelligence Officer for the
Department of Energy Oak Ridge Counterintelligence Field
Office. In this role, Lambert acted as the go-between for the
FBI and UT-Battelle, the company that runs Oak Ridge National
Laboratory. A staggering tangle of laws, regulations, and
presidential decrees governed the public-private nature of
Lambert's new job.
November 8, 2012, Lambert received an email from Patrick
Kelley, an FBI attorney and ethics official. The email
accused Lambert of violating 18 U.S.C. § 207(c), which
bars some former federal employees from contacting current
ones for a year after leaving their jobs. The email found its
way into the hands of the FBI and UT-Battelle. On June 10,
2013, UT-Battelle fired Lambert and his security clearance
was revoked. Lambert alleges that the email was retaliation
for his role in shedding light on the troubled anthrax
April 2, 2015, Lambert filed a four-count complaint against
the Attorney General, the FBI Director, the Department of
Justice, the FBI, unnamed DOJ and FBI officials, and Patrick
Kelley. A five-count amended complaint followed on June 2.
This Court dismissed the first four counts in February 2016,
leaving only Lambert's Bivens action against
November 2015, Kelley filed his motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6). After fully briefing that motion, Lambert moved to
amend his complaint.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
complaint must state a facially plausible claim for relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To
determine whether the complaint states a facially plausible
claim, the Court takes a two-step approach. Id. at
679. First, it separates the complaint's factual
allegations from its legal conclusions. All factual
allegations, and only the factual allegations, are taken as
true. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
the Court asks whether these factual allegations amount to a
plausible claim for relief. Id. at 555. The
allegations do not need to be highly detailed, but they must
do more than simply recite the elements of the offense.
Id. Specifically, the complaint must plead facts
permitting a reasonable inference that the defendant is