Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Williams v. Dept. of Corrections

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 3, 2019

TRACY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, NJ, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

         ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Tracy Williams alleges that he was formerly confined at Bayside State Prison, in Leesburg, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the reasons stated in this Opinion, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court will construe the allegations of the complaint as true for the purpose of this Opinion. Plaintiff names the New Jersey Department of Corrections and Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan as Defendants in this matter. This case arises from Plaintiff's work history while incarcerated.

         The Court gleans from the sparse allegations in the Complaint that Plaintiff worked at the prison at some point during his thirty years in the Defendants' custody. (ECF No. 1, at 8). Plaintiff then received work credits which could have been, but were not, “used for the remission of his sentence.” (Id.). Defendants also maintained an inmate trust account for Plaintiff's prison wages and invested those funds to accrue some amount of interest, but Plaintiff never received that interest. (Id.).

         Plaintiff now raises Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection claims against the Defendants. More specifically, under the Equal Protection Clause, Plaintiff contends that he “has a right to monetary compensation for work credits earned and not used for the remission of [his] sentence.” (Id.). Under the Due Process Clause, Plaintiff contends that he “has a right to monetary compensation for interest accrued in his account while he was in custody.” (Id.).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         District courts must review complaints in civil actions in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). District courts may sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See Id. 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, [1] the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). “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 [alleged] misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Moreover, while courts liberally construe pro se pleadings, “pro se litigants 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).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his civil rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution. To succeed on a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege two things: first, a violation of a right under the Constitution, and second, that a “person” acting under color of state law committed the violation. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Piecknick v. Com. of Pa., 36 F.3d 1250, 1255-56 (3d. Cir. 1994)).

         A. Claims Against the New Jersey Department of Corrections and Defendant Lanigan in His Official Capacity.

         As an initial matter, to be liable within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a defendant must be a “person.” The Supreme Court held in Will v. Michigan Dep't. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989), that a State or an official therof acting in his or her official capacity is not a “person” within the meaning of § 1983.

         Further, under the Eleventh Amendment, “[t]he judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI. This immunity is available to all States, as well as any entity that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.