The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. CAPUTO, District Judge
Presently before the Court are Magistrate Judge Thomas M.
Blewitt's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 69), and Plaintiff's
Objections to the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation (Doc.
72). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Objections to
the Magistrate's Report and Recommendation will be overruled and
the Court will adopt the Report and Recommendation. Therefore,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 64) will be granted in part
and denied in part as detailed in the Report and Recommendation.
Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed,
the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested
portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106
n. 3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C)), provided
the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark,
749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review,
the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736,
738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the
magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United
States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney,
749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n,
849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may
be reviewed at a standard determined by the district court. See
Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7.
At the very least, the Court should review uncontested portions
for clear error or manifest injustice. See, e.g., Cruz v.
Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375, 376-77 (M.D. Pa. 1998).
In his objections, Plaintiff states that he does not object to
the dismissal of his Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant
Townsend for staring and harassment. Therefore, I will adopt that
portion of the report without discussion.
1. Due Process Claims Entitlement to Inmate Compensation and
Plaintiff, first, objects to the recommendation that his
constitutional due process claims be dismissed. The report
recommended dismissal of Plaintiff's due process claims because:
(1) Plaintiff does not have a constitutional property right to
compensation under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment; (2) Plaintiff does not have a liberty interest in
compensation under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment; (3) Plaintiff does not have a property interest in his
days off or hours worked; and (4) Plaintiff does not have a
liberty interest in his days off or hours worked.
In his objections, Plaintiff does not argue that he has a
constitutional property right to compensation, or his days off
and hours worked, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. Therefore, I will adopt those portions of Magistrate
Judge Blewitt's report without further discussion. However, Plaintiff
does argue that he has a liberty interest under the Due Process
Clause in both his compensation and his days off or hours worked.
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that "[b]eing forced to work in
excess of five-hundred-seventy (570) days straight, and in excess
of five-thousand (5000) hours, while not being compensated for
over fourteen-hundred (1400) hours, all without a single day off,
clearly shows an atypical and significant hardship in relation to
ordinary incidents of prison life. . . ." (Doc. 77 at 3.)
A protected liberty interest can arise from one of two sources:
the Due Process Clause itself or the laws and regulations of a
state. See, e.g., Maples v. Boyd, No. 03-6325, 2004 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 15988, at *14 (E.D. Pa. August 9, 2004) (citing Asquith v.
Dep't of Corrections, 186 F.3d 407, 409 (3rd Cir. 1999). The
Supreme Court has consistently held that "as long as the
conditions or degree of confinement to which the prisoner is
subjected is within the sentence imposed upon him and is not
otherwise violative of the Constitution, the Due Process Clause
does not in itself subject an inmate's treatment by prison
authorities to judicial oversight." Hewitt v. Helms,
459 U.S. 460, 468 (1983) (alteration in original) (quoting Montanye v.
Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242 (1976)). Furthermore, in Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472 (1995), the Supreme Court held that a
prisoner is deprived of a state-created liberty interest only if
the deprivation "imposes atypical and significant hardship on the
inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life."
Sandin, 515 U.S. at 484. In order to determine whether a
deprivation creates an "atypical and significant hardship," the
court must consider "what a sentenced inmate may reasonably
expect to encounter as a result of his or her conviction in accordance with due process of law." Griffin v. Vaughn,
112 F.3d 703, 706 (3d Cir. 1997).
It is clear that Plaintiff does not have a liberty interest in
compensation and his days off or hours worked which arises from
the Due Process Clause itself, as the conditions and degree of
confinement to which Plaintiff was subjected are within the
sentence imposed upon him. Further, as Magistrate Judge Blewitt
correctly determined, Plaintiff has not been deprived of a
state-created liberty interest. Even assuming arguendo that the
DOC policy creates a liberty interest in Plaintiff's compensation
and days off or hours worked, an atypical and significant
hardship has not been imposed on Plaintiff.
As Magistrate Judge Blewitt correctly noted, it is well settled
that inmates have no constitutional right to compensation.
Murray v. Miss. Dep't of Corr., 911 F.2d 1167, 1167-68 (5th
Cir. 1990) ("Compelling an inmate to work without pay is not
unconstitutional . . . compensating prisoners for work is not a
constitutional requirement but, rather, is by the grace of the
state"). Additionally, "[t]here is no federally protected right
of a state prisoner not to work while imprisoned after
conviction. . . ." Stiltner v. Rhay, 322 F.2d 314, 315 (9th
Cir. 1963); Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3rd
Cir. 1999). As such, a sentenced inmate may reasonably expect to
be required to work without compensation as a result of his
conviction. Moreover, I find that Plaintiff's required work
schedule of approximately nine and half hours a day, seven days a
week, does not rise to a level beyond which a sentenced inmate
may reasonably expect to be required to work. Plaintiff's work
conditions are simply not an atypical or significant hardship
from which Plaintiff is entitled to constitutional protection.
Therefore, Plaintiff's due process claims were properly dismissed and I will adopt this
portion of Magistrate Judge Blewitt's report.
2. Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Plaintiff's Work
Second, Plaintiff objects to the recommendation that his Eighth
Amendment claims for cruel and unusual punishment in Plaintiff's
work assignment be dismissed. The report recommended dismissal of
Plaintiff's claim because: (1) Plaintiff has not alleged extreme
hardship with respect to the hours he worked; and (2) Defendant
Townsend's alleged threats to issue Plaintiff a misconduct if
Plaintiff did not show ...