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.

Richardson v. Ortiz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 6, 2019

MAURICE RICHARDSON, Petitioner,
v.
DAVID ORTIZ, et al., Respondents.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Petitioner Maurice Richardson (“Petitioner”), an inmate incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241, purporting to challenge the results of a disciplinary hearing. Petitioner has also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to enjoin Respondents from taking certain actions related to that hearing (ECF No. 2). The Court has examined the Petition in accordance with Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Cases, applicable to § 2241 cases through Rule 1(b).[1] For the following reasons, the Court will deny the Petition and motion for preliminary injunction without prejudice to any right Petitioner may have to bring a declaratory judgment or other civil action in an appropriate court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court will construe the allegations in the Petition as true for the purpose of this Opinion. This case arises from an incident on October 4, 2017, in which a corrections officer conducted a search of Petitioner's room and person. Upon completing the search, the officer found various medical supplies in Petitioner's locker.

         For nearly five years prior, Petitioner worked as an orderly at the Prison's medical services department. Petitioner explained that he had the supplies because the medical staff provided him with excess supplies, so that he could respond more efficiently to biohazard cleanup requests. Nevertheless, the officer issued an incident report and charged Petitioner with possession of items that could be used as a weapon and possession “of anything not authorized for retention or receipt by the inmate.” (ECF No. 1, at 6).

         On October 16, 2017, Petitioner appeared before a disciplinary hearing officer (“DHO”), and after reviewing Petitioner's testimony and the evidence, the DHO dismissed all charges related to the October 4, 2017, incident report. (Id.).

         A few days later, Petitioner learned that the health services administrator, Respondent Cassano, accused Petitioner of stealing the medical supplies. Officials then sanctioned Petitioner for stealing, “even though all charges related to the incident report on 10/4/2017 were dismissed” and even though Petitioner never received notice or a hearing as to that accusation. (Id. at 7). As a sanction, the officials terminated Petitioner's employment as an orderly. Petitioner does not allege that he received any other sanction.

         On September 17, 2018, Petitioner filed the instant Petition requesting that the Court order a hearing on the stealing charge, the reversal of “any sanctions imposed, ” the expungement of any related records, and award him lost wages. (Id. at 12).

         Additionally, on October 4, 2018, Petitioner filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to enjoin Respondents from initiating other unconstitutional disciplinary actions, committing further acts of assault, battery, intimidation, and harassment, or otherwise retaliate against Petitioner for engaging in the legal process. (ECF No. 2, at 1).

         II. DISCUSSION

         Federal district courts have a pre-service duty under Rule 4 of the Rules Governing § 2254 Cases in the United States District Courts, which is applicable to § 2241 petitions pursuant to Rule 1(b), to screen and summarily dismiss a habeas petition prior to any answer or other pleading by the state when the petition “appears legally insufficient on its face.” McFarland v. Scott, 512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994); see also United States v. Thomas, 221 F.3d 430, 437 (3d Cir. 2000) (explaining that courts may dismiss petitions where “none of the grounds alleged in the petition would entitle [the petitioner] to relief).

         “Challenges to the validity of any confinement or to particulars affecting its duration are the province of habeas corpus; requests for relief turning on circumstances of confinement may be presented in a § 1983 [or Bivens] action.” Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004) (internal citation omitted). “[U]nless the claim would fall within the ‘core of habeas' and require sooner release if resolved in the plaintiffs favor, a prison confinement action . . . is properly brought under § 1983” or a Bivens action. Leamer v. Fauver, 288 F.3d 532, 542 (3d Cir. 2002).

         With those principles in mind, the Court finds that Petitioner's claims do not sound in habeas. A petition for writ of habeas corpus seeks to challenge the fact or length of confinement. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 491 (1973). Petitioner, however, does not attack the duration of his incarceration, nor does he seek release from prison.

         Instead, Petitioner challenges Respondents' decision to terminate his employment as an orderly with the prison's medical services department, i.e., a condition of his confinement, without due process. More specifically, he alleges that he was terminated without a disciplinary hearing, did not receive any notice or an opportunity to contest the charge of stealing, and ...


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.