United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TIMOTHY A. TURNER, Plaintiff,
JANE DOE, et al., Defendants.
B. KUGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Timothy A. Turner, is a federal prisoner currently
incarcerated at FCI Schuylkill in Minersville, Pennsylvania.
He is proceeding pro se with an amended complaint against
Defendant William Gonzalez alleging a violation of his Fifth
Amendment equal protection rights in his prison employment.
(ECF No. 7). Currently before the Court is Defendant
Gonzalez's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 70) and
Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 71). For
the following reasons, Defendant Gonzalez's Motion for
Summary Judgment is granted and Plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment is denied.
times relevant to the allegations in the amended complaint,
Plaintiff was incarcerated at FCI Fairton in New Jersey. (See
ECF No. 70-2 at p. 1). Plaintiff, an African-American inmate,
worked in the electronics factory (the “Factory')
that was part of the Federal Prison Industries
(“UNICOR”) program from October 2010 to September
2014. (See Id. at p. 2; ECF No. 75-1 at p. 1).
During this time, the Factory had five cable operations that
manufactured cable assemblies. (See ECF No. 70-2 at p. 2).
to Defendant William Gonzalez, a UNICOR foreman, Plaintiff
held the position of electronics assembler and was training
to become a clerk on Cable Operation No. 2. (See Id.
at pp. 2-3). To perform the duties of a clerk, an inmate
requires access to a software license, which costs
approximately $3, 000. (See Id. at p. 2). On
September 29, 2014, Defendant Gonzalez informed Plaintiff
that due to financial difficulties, the Factory could not
afford to obtain a software license for him to become a
clerk. (See ECF No. 70-2 at pp.3-4). When Plaintiff learned
of the decision, he stated that he was quitting and never
returned to work. (See Id. at p. 5). On October 9,
2014, former Defendant Donna Scott, the UNICOR factory
manager, completed the paperwork to terminate Plaintiff
because he had not appeared at work since September 29, 2014.
(See id.). On October 13, 2014, former Defendant Scott
reassigned another inmate who already had the requisite
software license to serve as clerk for Cable Operation No. 2.
(See Id. at pp. 5-6).
disputes Defendant Gonzalez's factual narrative.
Plaintiff contends that from May to September 2014, he held
the position of clerk on Cable Operation No. 2. (See ECF No.
75 at p. 3). While Plaintiff agrees that Defendant Gonzalez,
who is Hispanic, informed him that he was being removed from
his position due to a reduction of jobs, Plaintiff asserts
that he was actually replaced by a Hispanic inmate because of
race discrimination. (See Id. at p. 7). Plaintiff
further claims that when he asked Defendant Gonzalez for the
reason why he was being replaced and requested to transfer to
another department, Defendant Gonzalez supposedly became
irate, used a marker to black out Plaintiff's written
transfer request, and threatened to assign Plaintiff to pick
up trash. (See Id. at p. 8).
August 3, 2015, Plaintiff filed a civil complaint pursuant to
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau
of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). (See ECF No. 1). On
September 15, 2015, the Court granted Plaintiff's
application to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed the
complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim for
relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii)
and 1915A(b)(1). (See ECF No. 3). Plaintiff filed an amended
complaint on October 6, 2015, and the Court permitted the
amended complaint to proceed past screening as to the claims
against Defendants Scott and Gonzalez. (See ECF No. 5).
Clerk's Office transmitted the U.S. Marshals Service
Forms 285 on December 3, 2015, and the Marshals Service
received the returned forms on December 16, 2015. (See ECF
Nos. 6 & 8). The Clerk's Office issued summonses to
Defendants Scott and Gonzalez, on December 16, 2015. (ECF No.
9). However, the Clerk's Office never received a
completed summons or waiver of service from the Marshals
Service with regard to Defendant Gonzalez.
December 19, 2016, this Court granted summary judgment as to
Defendant Scott. (See ECF No. 42). On March 17, 2017, the
Marshals Service returned an executed summons for Defendant
Gonzalez showing service. (See ECF Nos. 49 & 50). On
March 30, 2017, this Court denied Plaintiff's first
Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant Gonzalez as
premature. (See ECF Nos. 56 & 57). Defendant Gonzalez
filed an answer to Plaintiff's amended complaint on May
30, 2017. (See ECF No. 61). On October 27, 2017, Defendant
Gonzalez filed a Motion for Summary Judgment that is
presently before this Court (ECF No. 70). On November 3,
2017, Plaintiff filed a second Motion for Default Judgment
against Defendant Gonzalez, which is also currently before
this Court (ECF No. 71).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court should grant a motion for summary judgment when the
moving party “shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). An
issue is “material” to the dispute if it could
alter the outcome, and a dispute of a material fact is
“genuine” if “a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986);
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting First
Nat'l Bank of Az. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253,
289 (1968)) (“Where the record taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party, there is no ‘genuine issue for
trial.'”). In deciding whether there is any genuine
issue for trial, the court is not to weigh evidence or decide
issues of fact. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Because fact and
credibility determinations are for the jury, the non-moving
party's evidence is to be believed and ambiguities
construed in its favor. Id. at 255;
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587.
the movant bears the burden of demonstrating that there is no
genuine issue of material fact, the non-movant likewise must
present more than mere allegations or denials to successfully
oppose summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. The
non-moving party must at least present probative evidence
from which the jury might return a verdict in his favor.
Id. at 257. Where the non-moving party fails to
“make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that ...