United States District Court, D. New Jersey
LEONARDO REED, Plaintiff Pro Se
CARPENITO United States Attorney By: J. Andrew Ruymann
Assistant U.S. Attorney U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE Attorneys
for Defendant United States of America
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant United States of America's motion
for summary judgment on Plaintiff Leonardo Reed's Federal
Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) complaint. Motion,
Docket Entry 44. Plaintiff Leonardo Reed has not opposed the
motion. The motion is being decided on the papers pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion is granted.
complaint stems from an injury he received at FCI Fort Dix, a
federal correctional facility maintained by the Bureau of
Prisons (“BOP”), when he cut himself on razor
wire located alongside of an interior fence while retrieving
a softball during recreation time. The principal issues to be
decided are whether the Court lacks jurisdiction over the
complaint because (1) Plaintiff failed to include in his FTCA
notice of claim form an allegation that BOP staff negligently
ordered or tasked him to retrieve the softball from within
the wire, and (2) the decision to place razor wire alongside
of the interior fence falls within the discretionary function
exception to the FTCA's waiver of sovereign immunity.
Court finds that Plaintiff has not made an allegation that
BOP staff negligently ordered or tasked him to retrieve the
softball (either in his administrative tort claim or in this
case), and that the discretionary function exception applies
to his allegation that federal officials negligently placed
the razor wire that caused his injury. The Court therefore
lacks jurisdiction over the FTCA complaint, and the Court
will grant the summary judgment motion for the reasons stated
filed this complaint on July 1, 2016. The Court granted his
in forma pauperis application on July 11, 2016.
Docket Entry 2. On July 18, 2016, the Court conducted a
preliminary screening based upon the allegations in the
Complaint and permitted the FTCA claims to proceed against
the United States. Docket Entry 3.
United States moved to dismiss the complaint under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Motion to Dismiss, Docket
Entry 9, which the Court denied on June 26, 2017. Docket
February 15, 2018, the United States moved for summary
judgment. Plaintiff did not file opposition to the motion.
Statement of Facts
Allegations in Pleadings
alleges the BOP was negligent in placing razor wire in
various locations throughout the facility in areas that are
accessible to inmates, including but not limited to the
recreation area on the “wrong side of the
fences.” Complaint ¶¶ 12-13. Plaintiff
alleges that several inmates have received injuries due to
the placement of the wire, which “generally reaches to
just above knee level with some areas reaching face
level.” Id. ¶¶ 15-16.
to the complaint, Plaintiff was playing softball in the Fort
Dix recreation yard on June 22, 2015 when a ball fell into an
area “within the razor wire.” Id. ¶
27. The complaint asserted that the softball commonly fell
within the wires. Id. ¶ 24. Plaintiff further
alleged that “[i]nmates are tasked with retrieving the
balls from within the razor wire[, ]” and that
“[s]everal inmates have previously been cut while
retrieving the ball from within the razor wire.”
Id. ¶¶ 25-26.
alleges the razor wire cut into his left wrist when he
retrieved a softball on June 22, 2015. Id.
¶¶ 28-29. The cut caused heavy blood loss, and
“medical staff feared that an artery may have been
cut.” Id. ¶¶ 29, 32. Plaintiff was
left with a “½ inch keloid type scar.”
Id. ¶ 33.
alleges his injury was caused by the negligence of BOP staff