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Derrick Maddox v. United States of America

July 11, 2011

DERRICK MADDOX, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge:

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Plaintiff Derrick Maddox, a prisoner previously confined at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey, seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act. Based on his affidavit of indigence and the absence of three qualifying dismissals within 28 U.S.C. §1915(g), the Court will grant Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and order the Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint.*fn1

At this time, the Court must review the Complaint to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

I. BACKGROUND

The following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.

Plaintiff alleges that from January 2008 to February 2010, the United States of America violated his First Amendment rights regarding his legal mail, when employees of the Federal Bureau of Prisons "opened, censored, interfered, and read his legal mail."

This is Plaintiff's second complaint challenging the opening of his legal mail while he was confined at FCI Fort Dix.*fn2 In Maddox v. United States, Civil No. 08-3715(JBS) (D.N.J.), this Court dismissed Plaintiff's first complaint against the United States because (1) Plaintiff's claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureeau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), was barred by sovereign immunity, and (2) Plaintiff's claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act was not exhausted.

Thereafter, on February 23, 2010, Plaintiff submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons, an administrative claim, as follows:

From Jan. 2008 to Feb. 2010 F.C.I. Fort Dix has been violating CFR 540.18 and 540.19. This matter has been brought before the U.S. District Court (Hon. Jerome B. Simandle). This matter was dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). This claim is filed in compliance with that order by the Court. If this matter is not settled by the F.B.O.P. Inmate Maddox will file another complaint with the US District Court seeking compensation. This claim will be brought pursuant to Sallier v. Brooks, 343 F.3d 868 (whether in custody or out of custody). (Complaint, Ex. 1., Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death.)

The administrative claim was rejected because the claim contained an allegation of constitutional violations, which are not actionable under the Federal Tort Claims Act. (Complaint, Ex. 2, Letter from Henry J. Sadowski, Regional Counsel to Derrick Maddox.)

This Complaint timely followed. Here, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.*fn3

II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL This Court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, certain in forma pauperis and prisoner actions that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions).

Moreover, no action may be brought by a prisoner with respect to prison conditions unless the prisoner has exhausted available administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997e(a). ...


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