United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ALAN D. GARRETT, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
D. Garrett, Plaintiff pro se
B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
D. Garrett, a federal prisoner confined at FDC Philadelphia,
has filed a civil lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau
of Narcotics 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Complaint, Docket
Court granted his in forma pauperis application on
October 26, 2018. Docket Entry 5. At this time, the Court
must review the complaint 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, “a pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'” 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). 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. UPMS
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation
“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
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se
pleadings are liberally construed, they “still must
allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a
claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704
F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).
is not entirely clear what claim Plaintiff is attempting to
bring against the United States. As Plaintiff references his
pending motion to correct, vacate, or set aside his federal
sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255,  the Court
presumes he is making some sort of wrongful conviction and
way of background, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to one count of
possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and on January
26, 2012, was sentenced to 77 months imprisonment. See
Judgment in a Criminal Case, United States v.
Garrett, No. 11- 242 (D.N.J. Jan. 26, 2012), ECF No. 29.
The judgment was affirmed by the Third Circuit. See
Judgment, United States v. Garrett, No. 12-1338 (3d
Cir. Dec. 5, 2012).
United States has sovereign immunity for constitutional
claims. Tucker v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 588 Fed.Appx. 110, 115 (3d Cir. 2014);
Perez-Barron v. United States, 480 Fed.Appx. 688,
691 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Chinchello v. Fenton, 805
F.2d 126, 130 n.4 (3d Cir. 1986)). “[W]aivers of
federal sovereign immunity must be ‘unequivocally
expressed' in the statutory text.” United
States v. Idaho ex rel. Dir., Idaho Dep't of Water
Res., 508 U.S. 1, 6 (1993).
Furthermore, Plaintiff's challenge to the validity of his
conviction is ongoing. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that
in order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional
conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by
actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or
sentence invalid, a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the
conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal,
expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state
tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called
into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254. A claim for damages
bearing that relationship to a conviction or sentence that
has not been so invalidated is not cognizable under §
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486-87 (1994).
See also Deemer v. Beard, 557 Fed.Appx.
162, 166 (3d Cir. 2014) (stating that the Third Circuit has
“interpreted Heck to impose a universal
favorable termination requirement on all § 1983
plaintiffs attacking the validity of their conviction or
Here, Plaintiff's claims depend on the impropriety of his
prosecution and conviction. Because Plaintiff's
conviction has not been invalidated, this action is barred by
Petitioner asks the Court to stay his civil suit pending the
outcome of his § 2255 proceedings. The Court declines to
do so. “The proponent of a stay bears the burden of
establishing its need.” Clinton v. Jones, 520
U.S. 681, 706 (1997). There are no concerns such as the
statute of limitations that would warrant staying the case as
Plaintiff's claims, as best as the Court is able to
discern them, would not accrue until his ...