United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY, JUDGE.
Donald Homan ("Homan" or "Plaintiff), at all
times relevant a federal inmate incarcerated at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Schuylkill
("FCI-Schuylkill"), Minersville, Pennsylvania,
initially commenced this action in the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania on September 18, 2019, against Kathleen Hawk
Sawyer ("Sawyer"), the Director of the Federal
Bureau of Prisons. (Docs. 1, 2). The Eastern District
transferred the matter to this Court on September 23, 2019.
seeks to proceed in forma pauper is. (Docs. 1, 7,
10). For the reasons set forth below, the motions to proceed
in forma pauperis will be granted and the complaint
will be dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
is required to review complaints prior to service in cases in
which an incarcerated plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and
1915A. 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. Id.
alleges that on or about November 26, 2018, while
incarcerated at FCI-Schulykill, he was assaulted by another
inmate. (Doc. 2, pp. 6, 7). He did not seek help for
over twenty-four hours. (Id. at 7). At that point,
he was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a broken jaw
and an infection. (Id.). He indicates that he
underwent surgery to his jaw. He had a metal plate placed in
his mouth and his jaw was wired shut. (Id.)- He
remained in the hospital for four days. (Id.). He
alleges that after being released from the hospital prison
officials placed him in the Special Housing Unit.
(Id.). His meals consisted of Ensure two times per
day. (Id.). He further alleges that he received no
follow-up care and that officials released him from
FCI-Schuylkill on December 21, 2018, with his jaw wired shut
and metal plates in his mouth. (Id.). He indicates
that he removed the hardware in his mouth with a screwdriver.
alleges that the above conduct violated his Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. He seeks monetary damages
against Defendant Sawyer in her official capacity.
(Id. at 4, 7).
is a federal prisoner who is alleging that his constitutional
rights have been violated by a federal actor. Consequently,
his claims are appropriately brought under Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388 (1971), the federal counterpart to a civil rights
action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against
state officials who violate federal constitutional or
statutory rights. Egervarv v. Young, 366 F.3d 238,
246 (3d Cir. 2004). Bivens stands for the
proposition that "a citizen suffering a compensable
injury to a constitutionally protected interest could invoke
the general federal-question jurisdiction of the district
courts to obtain an award of monetary damages against the
responsible federal official." Butz v.
Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 504 (1978). To state a claim
under Bivens, a claimant must show (1) a deprivation
of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United
States; and (2) that the deprivation of the right was caused
by an official acting under color of federal law. Flagg
Brothers, Inc. v. Brooks, 436 U.S. 149, 155-56(1978).
brings constitutional claims against Defendant Sawyer, the
director of the federal bureau of prisons, in her official
capacity. The United States has sovereign immunity except
where it consents to be sued. United States v.
Mitchell, 463 U.S. 206, 212 (1983). An action against
prison officials in their official capacities constitutes an
action against the United States and Bivens claims
against the United States are barred by sovereign immunity,
absent an explicit waiver. See Corr. Servs. Corp. v.
Malesko, 534 U.S. 61, 72 (2001); Kentucky v.
Graham. 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (1985) (holding that suits
brought against an official in his or her official capacity
are, "in all respects other than name, to be treated as
a suit against the" United States); FDIC v.
Meyer, 510 U.S. 471, 483 (1994); Jaffee v. United
States. 592 F.2d 712, 717 (3d Cir. 1979). Homan has
identified no facts or basis for finding a waiver of
sovereign immunity by the United States. Because any claim
against Defendant Sawyer in her official capacity is a claim
against the United States, and because there has been no
waiver of sovereign immunity in this context, the Court lacks
subject matter jurisdiction over any official capacity claims
against Defendant Sawyer. Accordingly, the complaint against
Defendant Sawyer will be dismissed with prejudice for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
Leave to Amend
obligation to liberally construe a pro se
litigant's pleadings is
well-established." Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); see also Higgs
v. Atty. Gen, of the U.S., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir.
2011) (citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106).
Consequently, the Court will afford Homan the opportunity to
amend his complaint to cure the deficiencies, to wit,
identify proper defendants and allege personal involvement as
to those defendants.