United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Jeffrey Whitaker, Plaintiff Pro se
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
Jeffrey Whitaker, presently incarcerated at the Federal
Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri, seeks to bring a
claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Federal Tort Claims
Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346 et seq.
(“FTCA”), against the United States of America.
See ECF No. 1.
time, the Court must review the Complaint, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915A 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. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state
a claim, with leave to amend. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1).
states that he has been charged with violating 21 U.S.C.
§ 846. (ECF No. 1 at 1). He asserts his innocence.
(Id.). “Plaintiff claims unlawful imprisonment
and a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a public
trial by an impartial jury.” (Id. at 2). He
demands immediate release from detention and $75, 000 in
damages. (Id. at 3).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
1915A requires a court to review “a complaint in a
civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must
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. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). This
complaint is subject to screening under § 1915A because
Plaintiff is suing the United States.
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. 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 misconduct alleged.'” Fair Wind
Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d
Cir. 2014) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
complaint contains little in the way of facts, but it does
indicate that Plaintiff is currently charged with violating
21 U.S.C. § 846. See also United States v.
Whitaker, No. 17-cr-0015 (D.N.J. filed Jan. 18, 2017).
Plaintiff's criminal case is ongoing before this Court.
cannot bring a Bivens suit for damages against the
United States. “Absent a waiver, sovereign immunity
shields the Federal Government and its agencies from
suit.” FDIC v. Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 475 (1994)
(citations omitted). See also Webb v. Desan, 250
Fed.Appx. 468, 471 (3d Cir. 2007) (noting that the United
States is immune from Bivens claims).
has also failed to state claims under the FTCA for false
arrest or false imprisonment. In addition to failing to
provide the Court with any facts that would enable the Court
to determine whether Plaintiff's claims are plausible,
has not provided the Court with anything that indicates that
he has satisfied the jurisdictional requirements of filing a
FTCA claim in federal court.
filing a suit in federal court, a plaintiff suing under the
FTCA must present the offending agency with notice of the
claim, including a “sum certain” demand for
monetary damages. White-Squire v. U.S. Postal Serv.,
592 F.3d 453, 457 (3d Cir. 2010). “Because the
requirements of presentation and a demand for a sum certain
are among the terms defining the United States's consent
to be sued, they are jurisdictional.” Id.
(citing United States v. Sherwood, 312 U.S. 584, 587
(1941)). These requirements cannot be waived. Id.
(citing Bialowas v. United States, 443 F.2d 1047,
1049 (3d Cir. 1971)). ...