United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TIMOTHY A. TURNER, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
B. KUGLER United States District Judge
Timothy A. Turner, is a federal prisoner currently
incarcerated at F.C.I. Fairton in Fairton, New Jersey. He is
proceeding pro se with a complaint filed pursuant to
the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). Previously,
this matter was administratively terminated as Mr. Turner had
not paid the filing fee nor had he submitted an application
to proceed in forma pauperis. Subsequently, Mr.
Turner submitted a complete application to proceed in
forma pauperis. Accordingly, the Clerk will be ordered
to reopen this case. Mr. Turner's application to proceed
in forma pauperis will be granted and the Clerk will
be ordered to file the complaint.
time, this Court must screen the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A 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 suit. For the following reasons, the complaint
will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for
purposes of this screening opinion. The complaint names one
defendant, the United States. Mr. Turner alleges that on
September 23, 2014, he was unlawfully removed from his
assigned work detail at F.C.I. Fairton in violation of the
Inmate Program Statement. He states that he has suffered
discrimination on the basis of his race as well as
discrimination on the basis of his health in light of this
Turner explains that he filed an administrative claim related
to this removal with the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(“BOP”) on December 27, 2016. On January 9, 2017,
the BOP denied his claim.
Turner seeks monetary relief in the amount of $5 million.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub.L. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26,
1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review
complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is
proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee
or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings
a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42
U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to
sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is
malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
immune from such relief. see 28 U.S.C. §
legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane
v. Seana, 506 F. App'x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012)
(citing Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d
Cir. 2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 F. App'x
230, 232 (3d Cir. 2012) (discussing 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c)(1)); Courteau v. United States, 287 F.
App'x 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008) (discussing 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A(b)). That standard is set forth in Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), as explicated by
the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. To
survive the court's screening for failure to state a
claim, the complaint must allege ‘sufficient factual
matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible.
See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d
Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303,
308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555).
se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972).
Nevertheless, “pro se litigants still must
allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a
claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704
F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).
Turner is explicit in his complaint that he is suing the
United States pursuant to the FTCA. (See Dkt. No. 1
at p.1 (“Plaintiff brings this action against, the
United States of America, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims
Act. So that this Court has jurisdiction of the subject
matter of this action to U.S.C. § 1346(b). Therefore,
this Court will only construe the complaint as attempting to
raise a claim under the FTCA. “The FTCA operates as a
limited waiver of the United States's sovereign
immunity.” White-Squire v. U.S. Postal Serv.,
592 F.3d 453, 456 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). Under
the FTCA, the United States is liable “in the same
manner and to the same extent as a private individual under
like circumstances.” 28 U.S.C. § 2674. An
incarcerated FTCA plaintiff may sue only the United States,
may seek only monetary damages, and may not recover for
mental or emotional damages in the absence of physical
injury. See 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1)-(2)
(providing jurisdiction for “civil actions on claims
against the United States, for money damages” and
providing that ...