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Lail v. FCI Fairton

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 21, 2017

ERNEST LAIL, Plaintiff,
v.
FCI FAIRTON, Defendant.

          Ernest Lail, #11572-057 Plaintiff Pro se.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D. JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Ernest Lail, a prisoner presently incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) Fairton in Fairton, New Jersey, seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against FCI Fairton and various staff members employed there and at other Bureau of Prisons (“B.O.P.”) facilities. Plaintiff alleges a variety of grievances in his Complaint, including theft, physical abuse, mail tampering, and unlawful detention.

         At this time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) 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 such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim, with leave to amend. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii) and 1915A(b)(1).

         BACKGROUND

         After filing his initial Complaint on October 11, 2016, ECF No. 1, Plaintiff thereafter provided additional information regarding his claims by letter and exhibits, ECF No. 6. The Court will construe both documents together as the Complaint for the purposes of this screening.[1]

         Plaintiff alleges that in January 2006, B.O.P. staff opened Plaintiff's mail and stole from it stock certificates and a patent for an electrical magnetic generator, from which, according to Plaintiff, B.O.P. staff continue to profit. ECF No. 6 at 2. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that B.O.P. staff are utilizing Plaintiff's credit card, which has a value of one billion dollars, ECF No. 6 at 9, and that approximately $965, 000.00 has been stolen by B.O.P. employees, ECF No. 1 at 2, from Plaintiff's bank account, see ECF No. 6 at 3.[2]

         Plaintiff also alleges that between September 2008 and September 2009, BOP staff created and sold for a profit to various television networks a mini-series starring Plaintiff. ECF No. 6 at 4-6.[3] In addition, Plaintiff alleges that BOP staff put his music on CDs in 2011. ECF No. 6 at 6.

         As to Plaintiff's allegations regarding mistreatment and abuse, Plaintiff alleges that between 2010 and 2011, he was the victim of unspecified brutality as well as “high speed camera and electricity to face and eyes.” ECF No. 6 at 7. In addition, Plaintiff states that “[s]ince January of 2009 FCI Estill, S.C.[, ] Lt. Watson and B.O.P. staff have used electricity on me and abused me 24 hours of every day for eight years.”[4] ECF No. 6 at 8. Plaintiff also states that he received serious burns from “a taser and high level stun gun [from] date 1/15/2009 until 2012.” ECF No. 1 at 2.

         Next, Plaintiff alleges that B.O.P. employees interfered with his incoming and outgoing mail, which prevented him from accessing the courts in violation of the First Amendment. See ECF No. 1 at 1. Plaintiff provides detailed lists of his mailing attempts which include each date on which Plaintiff mailed a letter. The most recent date on which Plaintiff attempted to mail a letter to an attorney or to various government agencies and officials appears to be August 5, 2013. See ECF No. 6-1, at 19-27 (listing addressees and dates of attempted mailing).

         Finally, as to Plaintiff's unlawful detention, Plaintiff alleges that his sentence was to end on August 21, 2016, however he is still being incarcerated.[5] ECF No. 1 at 1. Given Plaintiff's allegation regarding his detention, the Court construes his claim to be one challenging the execution of his sentence. Such a claim must be brought as a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Coady v. Vaughn, 251 F.3d 480, 485 (3d Cir. 2001) (noting that federal prisoners who wish to challenge the execution of their sentence must proceed under § 2241). Furthermore, as Plaintiff's sole requested remedy is monetary damages, this claim would be barred pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994), which bars monetary damage claims unless the allegedly unconstitutional imprisonment has been, inter alia, reversed on appeal or called into question by the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. To the extent that Plaintiff wishes to challenge the execution of his sentence, he must file a separate petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Sections 1915(e)(2) and 1915A require a court to review complaints prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and in which a plaintiff is incarcerated. The Court must 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. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and is also incarcerated. See ECF No. 5 (granting in forma pauperis application).

         To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). “‘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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or conclusions' or ‘a ...


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