Manual and the Inmate Handbook applicable here clearly and unambiguously provide that inmates who have received verified work-related injuries must be accorded compensatory wages or work credits, and admit of no discretion on the part of prison officials to deny such benefits to qualified prisoners.
Accordingly, plaintiff's contention that he was wrongfully deprived of wages after an employment-related accident forced him to go on medical lay-in implicates a state-created liberty interest in compensatory payment for injury incurred during the course of prison labor and therefore states a claim upon which relief may be granted. Defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's due process claims under FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) will be denied.
As to plaintiff's equal protection claim, i.e., that he was denied compensatory wage payments "when other inmates with identical claims are receiving compensatory wages in accords [sic] with said mentioned procedures," defendants assert that this, also, must be dismissed on 12(b)(6) grounds because plaintiff has no right to work opportunities or wages in the first instance and second, because the prison officials' determination that plaintiff's injury was pre-existing was not arbitrary or irrational. We have held, however, that the fact that plaintiff enjoys no right to a prison job in no way diminishes his right to compensatory wages if he is injured while on the job. Further, whether or not plaintiff's injury was "pre-existing" is perhaps the preeminent factual dispute in this case; we cannot determine, particularly on a motion to dismiss, whether the defendant prison officers' findings in this regard are factually supportable at all, much less whether the actions they took with regard to plaintiff were arbitrary or irrationally inconsistent when compared to treatment meted out to other similarly situated inmates. Therefore, defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's equal protection claim must also be denied.
Turning finally to plaintiff's claim that deprivation of his prison labor wages constituted cruel and unusual punishment, we must agree with defendants that plaintiff has failed to state a claim. In order to articulate a cause of action under the Eighth Amendment, a prisoner must allege that he has been denied "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities." Union County Jail Inmates v. DiBuono, 713 F.2d 984, 999 (3d Cir. 1983), rehearing denied, 718 F.2d 1247 (3rd Cir. 1983), cert. denied 465 U.S. 1102, 80 L. Ed. 2d 130, 104 S. Ct. 1600 (1984), quoting Rhodes v. Chapman 452 U.S. 337, 347, 69 L. Ed. 2d 59, 101 S. Ct. 2392 (1981). Additional toiletries and supplemental foodstuffs purchased with prison work wages may well make prison life more tolerable, but this plaintiff has made no showing that are a "necessity of life" at Trenton State, or that he has suffered any illness or hardship because he has been unable to purchase them. Accordingly, defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's claim alleging cruel and unusual punishment will be granted.
An appropriate order has been prepared and entered.