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
alleging a violation of his Fifth Amendment equal protection
rights in his prison employment. (ECF No. 7). On May 18,
2018, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of
Defendant William Gonzalez, the only remaining Defendant.
(ECF No. 87). Currently before the Court are Plaintiffs
motion to alter judgment (ECF No. 88), motion
“objecting” to the denial of his motion for the
appointment of counsel (ECF No. 93), motion to stay judgment
(ECF No. 94), motion to amend the complaint (ECF No. 95), and
motion to amend his motion to stay judgment (ECF No. 96). For
the following reasons, the Court will deny Plaintiffs motions
and affirm Magistrate Judge Donio's August 7, 2018, Order
denying appointment of counsel.
discussed more thoroughly in the Court's May 18, 2018,
Opinion (ECF No. 86), at all times relevant to the
allegations in the amended complaint, Plaintiff was
incarcerated at FCI Fairton in New Jersey. (See ECF
No. 70-2, at 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 2; ECF No. 75-1, at 1).
to Defendant William Gonzalez, a UNICOR foreman, Plaintiff
held the position of electronics assembler and was training
to become a clerk at cable operations. (See ECF No.
70-2, at 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 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 3-4). When Plaintiff learned
of the decision, he stated that he was quitting and never
returned to work. (See Id. at 5). Former Defendant
Donna Scott ultimately reassigned another inmate who already
had the requisite license to serve as clerk. (See
Id. at 5-6).
disputes Defendant Gonzalez's factual narrative.
Plaintiff contends that from May to September 2014, he
already held the position of clerk on Cable Operation No. 2.
(See ECF No. 75, at 2). 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 a Hispanic inmate replaced him because
of racial discrimination. (See Id. at 7).
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 Plaintiffs
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).
some litigation, on December 19, 2016, this Court granted
summary judgment as to Defendant Scott. (See ECF No.
42). On March 17, 2017, the Marshals Service was able to
execute a summons on Defendant Gonzalez. (See ECF
Nos. 49, 50). Ultimately, the Court granted Defendant
Gonzalez's motion for summary judgment on May 18, 2018
(ECF No. 87). More specifically, in light of Ziglar v.
Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843 (2017), this Court declined to
extend a Bivens remedy to an action for damages
based on a claim of racial discrimination under the Fifth
Amendment, in a prison-workplace environment. (ECF No. 87, at
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Civil Rule 7.1(i) governs motions to alter judgment under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) and allows parties to
seek reconsideration of what they believe are
“overlooked” matters. See Carney v.
Pennsauken Twp. Police Dep't, No. 11-7366, 2013 WL
4501454, at *1 (D.N.J. Aug. 21, 2013) (citations omitted).
“The standard for reargument is high” and courts
should “only sparingly” grant reconsideration.
Yarrell v. Bartkowski, No. 10-5337, 2012 WL 1600316,
at *3 (D.N.J. May 7, 2012) (citing United States v.
Jones, 158 F.R.D. 309, 314 (D.N.J. 1994)). To be
successful on a motion for reconsideration, a party has the
burden to demonstrate: “(1) an intervening change in
the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence
that was not available when the court [issued its order]; or
(3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to
prevent manifest injustice.” Max's Seafood
Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d
669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999); see also Berry v. Jacobs IMC,
LLC, 99 Fed.Appx. 405, 410 (3d Cir. 2004).
Plaintiff's Motion to Alter Judgment and Related
reviewing Plaintiffs submissions, the Court will deny his
motion to alter judgment. In its earlier Opinion, the Court
engaged in the multi-step framework for determining whether
Defendant Gonzalez's alleged actions established a
cognizable Bivens claim. First, the Court found that
Plaintiffs Fifth Amendment discrimination claim was a new
Bivens context because “none of the three
prior Bivens cases addressed federal prisoners in
the prison-employment context.” (ECF No. 86, at 6-7
(citing Alexander v. Ortiz, No. 15-6981, 2018 WL
1399302, at *4-5 (D.N.J. Mar. 20, 2018) (finding that Fifth
Amendment prison-employment discrimination claim presented a
“new context” for Bivens cases)).
Court then considered whether Plaintiff had any alternative
remedies and concluded that he did not have an alternative
remedial process for protecting his interest. See
Alexander, 2018 WL 1399302, at *6 (finding no
alternative remedy available for damages for a Fifth
Amendment violation in the prison-employment context).
Finally, the Court considered whether special factors
warranted hesitation in extending a Bivens remedy.
The Court determined, in light of Ziglar, Alexander,
and the peculiar issues related to prison administration,
that it should be left to the legislative and executive
branches to determine whether an action for damages for
racial discrimination exists in the prison-workplace