United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Rodriguez, FCI Fort Dix, Plaintiff pro se
J. Gibbons, Esq., Office of the U.S. Attorney Counsel for
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
case concerns alleged retaliation suffered by Plaintiff Jaime
Rodriguez, an inmate who is presently incarcerated at the
Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, in Fort Dix,
New Jersey. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that
certain prison employees at FCI Fort Dix retaliated against
him in violation of the First Amendment because Plaintiff
filed inmate grievances regarding stolen property. ECF No. 9.
Plaintiff seeks to bring his claim pursuant to Bivens v.
Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). At issue is
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, which is ripe for
adjudication. The Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over
this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as this case
concerns a federal question. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will grant the Motion.
at all times relevant to the Amended Complaint, was an inmate
incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix. ECF No. 9, Am. Compl., ¶
3. While he was there, at some point in December 2014, an MP3
charging station shared by the inmates in Plaintiff's
housing unit was “removed without authorization,
” i.e. stolen. Id., ¶ 56. It was not
replaced. Id., ¶¶ 60-61. The stolen MP3
charger caused conflict among the inmates in Plaintiff's
housing unit, and Plaintiff, along with another inmate, filed
inmate grievances over the issue. Id., ¶¶
58, 65-68. After filing the inmate grievances, Plaintiff was
transferred to another housing unit and reassigned to a new
job within that unit. Id., ¶¶ 80-86.
commenced this action by filing a Complaint in November 2015,
ECF No. 1, and in August 2016, Plaintiff filed an Amended
Complaint, ECF No. 9. In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff
asserts that Defendants retaliated against him in violation
of the First Amendment when they transferred Plaintiff to a
new housing unit and reassigned him to a new job after he
filed an inmate grievance. ECF No. 9 at 1.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of showing that no
claim has been presented. Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure provides that a pleading must set forth a
claim for relief which contains a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief;
the complaint must provide the defendant with fair notice of
the claim. See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss, the court must accept as true all factual
allegations. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(per curiam). The issue in a motion to dismiss is whether the
plaintiff should be entitled to offer evidence to support the
claim, not whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail.
See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224,
232 (3d Cir. 2008) (the Rule 8 pleading standard
“‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence
of' the necessary element.”); Nami v.
Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996).
onus is on the plaintiff to provide a well-drafted complaint
that alleges factual support for its claims. “While a
complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does
not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (alteration in original and internal citations
omitted). The court need not accept unsupported inferences,
Cal. Pub. Employees Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp.,
394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004), nor legal conclusions cast
as factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
Legal conclusions without factual support are not entitled to
the assumption of truth. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of elements
of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not” satisfy the requirements of Rule
the court winnows the conclusory allegations from those
allegations supported by fact, which it accepts as true, the
court must engage in a common sense review of the claim to
determine whether it is plausible. This is a context-specific
task, for which the court should be guided by its judicial
experience. The court must dismiss the complaint if it fails
to allege enough facts “to state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A
“claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw a
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
The complaint that shows that the pleader is entitled to
relief - or put another way, facially plausible - will
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2); Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 229 (3d
their Motion to Dismiss, Defendants seek the dismissal of the
claims against them based on the Supreme Court of the United
States' decision in Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S.Ct.
1843 (2017). See ECF No. 33. The Ziglar
decision changed the landscape of civil rights remedies
against federal employees. Whereas prior to Ziglar,
courts construed the scope of cognizable suits brought
pursuant to Bivens as coextensive with those brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, now district courts are
directed first to analyze Bivens suits to determine
whether the suit seeks to extend Bivens to
“new contexts” and, if so, whether there are
“special factors” that would counsel against
extending Bivens liability to the new context.
Ziglar, the Supreme Court explained that it has only
recognized a Bivens remedy in three cases: (1)
Bivens itself, which implied a damages action to
compensate persons whose Fourth Amendment right to be free
from unreasonable searches and seizures was violated by
federal officers; (2) Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228
(1979), which recognized a right under the Due Process Clause
of the Fifth Amendment for an administrative assistant to sue
a member of congress for her firing because she was a women;
and (3) Carlson v. Green, 446 U.S. 14 (1980), in
which the Court held that the Eighth Amendment's Cruel
and Unusual Punishment Clause provides a damages remedy for
failure to provide adequate medical care. Ziglar,
137 S.Ct. at 1854. “These three cases -
Bivens, Davis, and Carlson -
represent the only instances in which the Court has approved
of an ...