United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY, United States District Court Judge.
December 6, 2016, Tywan James (“James”), a
federal inmate formerly incarcerated at the United States
Penitentiary at Allenwood (“USP-Allenwood”),
filed this Bivens action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1331. Named as Defendants are the following officials and
employees at USP-Allenwood: Warden Oddo; Unit Manager
Pasanite; Case Manager Birdsaw; and Counselor Antanucci.
seeks to proceed in forma pauperis (Doc. 12).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court is required to
examine the complaint for legal sufficiency and to dismiss a
complaint if it is frivolous, malicious or fails to state a
claim on which relief may be granted. For the reasons that
follow, the complaint will be dismissed for failure to state
a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Standards of Review
1915(e)(2)(B) states, in pertinent part, “the court
shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines
that the action “(I) is frivolous or malicious; (ii)
fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune
from suit.” 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(i) - (iii).
The applicable standard of review for the failure to state a
claim provision is the same as the standard for a motion
pursuant to 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of complaints that
fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion,
the court must “accept as true all [factual]
allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences
that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Kanter v.
Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting
Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir.
2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review
to the facts contained in the complaint, it “may also
consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached
to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the
case.” Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran &
Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see
also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d
1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).
notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide
“the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests.” Phillips v. Cty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To test the sufficiency of the complaint in the face
of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must conduct a
three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Twp.,
629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). In the first step,
“the court must ‘tak[e] note of the elements a
plaintiff must plead to state a claim.' ”
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 675 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a
claim should be separated; well-pleaded facts must be
accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be
disregarded. Id.; see also Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the
well-pleaded factual allegations have been isolated, the
court must determine whether they are sufficient to show a
“plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal,
556U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556);
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to
allege facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief
above the speculative level”). 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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Allegations of the Complaint
alleges that the defendants “violated his Fifth, Eighth
and Fourteenth Amendment rights when said defendants
arbitrarily applied the Second Chance's Act Residential
Reentry Program to deny plaintiff of benefits and rehablative
[sic] programming under said act. To the extent the
defendants significantly reduced plaintiff's [release]
from six months to ninety days. All the while, the defendants
were cognizant that plaintiff meets all the criteria for long
term placement.” (Doc. 1, p. 7). He seeks monetary
relief in the amount of 2, 450, 000.00. (Id. at 5).
recently notified (Doc. 15) the Court that he has been
transferred to the Pact Bradley Center in Michigan City,
Bivens action is “the federal equivalent of
the § 1983 cause of action against state actors.”
Brown v. Philip Morris Inc., 250 F.3d 789, 800 (3d
Cir.2001); see also Tavarez v. Reno, 54 F.3d 109,
110 (2d Cir. 1995) (per curiam) (noting that
“federal courts have typically incorporated § 1983
law into Bivens actions” because “the
two actions share the same practicalities of
litigation.”). Accordingly, to establish a claim for
relief under Bivens, a plaintiff must demonstrate:
(1) that the conduct was committed by a federal actor, and
(2) that conduct resulted in the deprivation of a right
secured by the Constitution or federal laws of the United
States. See Brown, 250 F.3d at 801.
failure to recommend James for placement in a halfway house
for the desired period of time does not implicate
Constitutional concerns. Prisoners have no inherent
constitutional right to placement in any particular prison,
or in a halfway house, to any security classification, or to
any particular housing assignment. See Olim v.
Wakineknoa, 461 U.S. 238, 245 (1983); Meachum v.
Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225 (1976); Montayne v.
Haymes, 427 U.S. 236, 242 (1976); Bulger v. U.S.
Bureau of Prisons, 65 F.3d 48 (5th Cir.
extent that James has any right to substantive relief through
the Second Chance Act itself, any such claims must be pursued
in a petition for writ of habeas corpus. A civil rights
action may not be employed to challenge the fact or duration
of a prisoner's sentence or to seek earlier or speedier
release. Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475 (1975).
request for damages is also subject to dismissal. In Heck
v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), the Supreme Court
ruled that a constitutional cause of action for damages does
not accrue “for allegedly unconstitutional conviction
or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid,
” until the plaintiff proves that the “conviction
or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such ...