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Eugene Carl Hathaway v. Lt. Hooper and Federal Bureau of Prisons

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


May 26, 2011

EUGENE CARL HATHAWAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LT. HOOPER AND FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, DEFENDANTS.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

Hon. J. Andrew Smyser

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R&R") of Magistrate Judge J. Andrew Smyser (Doc. 9), filed on May 3, 2011, which recommends that we dismiss this action without granting Plaintiff leave to amend. On May 13, 2011, Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R. (Doc. 10). Accordingly, this matter is ripe for our review.

For the reasons that follow, the R&R shall be adopted in its entirety and this action shall be dismissed.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When objections are filed to the report of a magistrate judge, the district court makes a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objections are made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 674-75 (1980). The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the magistrate judge's findings or recommendations. Id. Although the standard of review is de novo, 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) permits whatever reliance the district court, in the exercise of sound discretion, chooses to place on a magistrate judge's proposed findings and recommendations. Raddatz, 447 U.S. at 674-75; see also Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 275 (1976); Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 7 (3d Cir. 1984).

II. DISCUSSION

Pro se Plaintiff Eugene Carl Hathaway ("Plaintiff" or "Hathaway") is a federal prisoner. In his complaint, he alleges that, on April 30, 2009, he was transferred to the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Hathaway further alleges that upon intake into that correctional institution, Defendant Lieutenant Hooper, who was supervising the intake procedure, took possession of Plaintiff's property. Subsequent to Plaintiff's intake, his property was lost and Plaintiff was so informed by Lieutenant Hooper. Plaintiff then filed this federal action, generally alleging that Lieutenant Hooper was negligent and reckless by losing his property. Hathaway seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

In view of Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis, Magistrate Judge Smyser undertook an analysis of the complaint pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §1915 A. The Magistrate Judge concluded that the action must be dismissed because Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.

First, Magistrate Judge Smyser properly construes Plaintiff's claim as a Bivens*fn1 claim and thus concludes that Plaintiff cannot bring this claim against the Federal Bureau of Prisons.*fn2 Next, Magistrate Judge Smyser concludes that Plaintiff has not and cannot assert a Bivens claim against Lieutenant Hooper. Specifically, Magistrate Judge Smyser construes Plaintiff's claim as a due process claim for deprivation of property, and notes that an intentional deprivation of property does not violate the Due Process Clause, provided that adequate post-deprivation remedies are available to the claimant. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S.517, 533 (1984). The Bureau of Prisons' grievance procedure is considered an adequate post-deprivation remedy. See Tillman v. Lebanon County Correctional Faclity, 221 F. 3d 410, 422 (3d Cir. 2000). Accordingly, because the Plaintiff had access to the BOP's administrative grievance system, he cannot state a due process property deprivation claim related to the unfortunate loss of his property at intake.*fn3

Within his objections, Plaintiff does not cite the Court to any availing legal principle to overcome this Court's determination that the action must be dismissed. Again, it is unfortunate that Plaintiff's property was lost upon his arrival to USPLewisburg, however, the facts do not give rise to a federal lawsuit.

III. CONCLUSION

Based on all of the foregoing, we shall adopt the Magistrate Judge's R&R, overrule the Plaintiff's objections, and dismiss this action without leave to amend. An appropriate Order shall issue.


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