United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Thurston Sanders, Volunteers of America,  Plaintiff Pro se.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Thurston Sanders, a prisoner formerly incarcerated at Federal
Correctional Institution (“FCI”) Ft. Dix, in Ft.
Dix, New Jersey, seeks to bring a civil rights complaint
against the United States and two staff members employed
there for age discrimination. In the Complaint, Plaintiff
seeks to assert a claim pursuant to the Age Discrimination
Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6107.
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 with prejudice for failure to state a
claim. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii) and
1915A(b)(1). The Court declines to grant leave to amend
because such amendment would be futile for the reason
filed his Complaint on February 22, 2017. ECF No. 1. In it,
Plaintiff alleges that he was discriminated against based on
his age in the continued participation in educational
programs at FCI Ft. Dix. Compl. at 4. Although Mr. Sanders
captions his Complaint as against the United States, he lists
as defendants Mr. Womack, Supervisor of Education Programs,
and John Pierre, Assistant Supervisor of Education Programs,
both of FCI Ft. Dix. Compl. at 4. Specifically, Mr. Sanders
alleges that although he was initially enrolled in an HVAC
training program at FCI Ft. Dix, he was later dismissed from
it, allegedly due to age discrimination. Compl. at 4.
Plaintiff also alleges that these educational programs are
federally funded by the “DOJ/BOP, ” and thus age
discrimination in such federally funded programs is
prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Compl. at
6. Plaintiff alleges that this discrimination occurred
between September 4, 2015 and October 5, 2015. Compl. at 6.
1915(e)(2) and 1915A requires a court to review complaints
prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding
in forma pauperis. 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 incarcerated.
See ECF No. 3 (granting in forma pauperis
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 formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Discrimination Act of 1975 provides that “no person in
the United States shall, on the basis of age, be excluded
from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be
subject to discrimination under, any program or activity
receiving [f]ederal financial assistance.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 6102. The Act defines “program or
activity” as including the operations of certain types
of state and local government entities, educational
institutions, and private organizations, which receive
federal funding for their programs. 42 U.S.C. § 6107(4).
This definition, however, does not include federal agencies
such as the Bureau of Prisons, see id., and courts
have routinely held that the Act does not apply to federal
agencies administering their own funds. See Maloney
v. Social Security Administration, 51 F.3d 70, 74-75 (2d
Cir. 2008) (in the context of the Social Security
Administration); Olson v. Social Security
Administration, 243 F.Supp.3d 1037, 1057 (D.N.D. 2017)
(same); Cottrell v. Vilsack, 915 F.Supp.2d 81, 91
(D.D.C. 2013) (in the context of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture); Bolden v. United States, No.
12-cv-1440, 2013 WL 389028, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 31, 2013)
(in the context of the Internal Revenue Service and the
Social Security Administration).
here alleges that the federal funding at issue is the Bureau
of Prison's funding for educational programs, and that
the persons who made the allegedly discriminatory decision to
dismiss Plaintiff from participation in the HVAC training
program were BOP employees. Such a claim is not cognizable
under the Act. For this reason, Plaintiff's Complaint
must be dismissed.
“plaintiffs who file complaints subject to dismissal
under [§ 1915] should receive leave to amend unless
amendment would be inequitable or futile.” Grayson
v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir.
2002). The Court declines to grant leave to amend as to the
Age Discrimination Act claim, however, because under no set
of allegations could Plaintiff ...