JOHNSON v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 2/29/16. (jbk, )
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Layne W. Johnson,
Civil Action No. 16-622(RMB)
Unites States of America,
BUMB, District Judge
Massachusetts, filed a civil rights complaint on February 5,
2016. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) Johnson seeks to proceed in forma
inability to prepay the filing fee, and the Court will grant his
IFP application. However, for the reasons discussed below, the
Court will dismiss the Complaint with prejudice.
Johnson brings this action against the United States of
incarcerated in FCI Fort Dix, in Fort Dix, New Jersey. (Compl.,
ECF No. 1 at 4.) He asserts jurisdiction under 31 U.S.C. § 3723.
In his Complaint, Johnson alleged:
On January 12, 2015, I was placed in the
Special Housing Unit (“SHU”). An unknown
staff member gathered my personal belongings
and forwarded them to the “SHU”. January 15,
2015, an Officer Ward who was in charge of
property matters at F.C.I. Fort Dix, brought
my possessions to my cell to be inventoried.
Upon completion, I noted that several items
were missing. Officer Ward instructed me to
make a notation of the items missing on the
inventory forms prior to signing for them.
On February 19, 2015, I submitted a claim to
the F.B.O.P.’s regional office, with an
itemized list of what was missing, a dollar
amount, the approximate dates the items were
purchased, and the institutions that I
received the items in (see attached). The
regional office denied my claim on the basis
that I did not list the missing items on the
inventory documents and, in acknowledging
receipt of my property when I moved to
F.M.C. Devens as being complete, released
Fort Dix of responsibility.
On September 1, 2015, I sent a request for
the region to reconsider my claim. As of
today, I have not received a reply.
(Compl., ECF No. 1 at 5-6.)
governmental entity. Therefore, the Court is required to sua
frivolous or malicious; fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted; or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is
liberally construe documents that are filed pro se. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
which provides as follows:
(a) The head of an agency (except a military
department of the Department of Defense or
the Coast Guard) may settle a claim for not
more than $1,000 for damage to, or loss of,
privately owned property that-(1) is caused by the negligence of an
officer or employee of the United
States Government acting within the
scope of employment; and
(2) may not be settled under chapter
171 of title 28.
(b) A claim under this section may be
allowed only if it is presented to the head
of the agency within one year after it
(c) A claim under this section may be paid
as provided in section 1304 of this title
only if the claimant accepts the amount of
the settlement in complete satisfaction of
the claim against the Government.
A prisoner may file a claim under the Federal Tort Claims
Act for damaged or lost property by mailing the claim to the
regional office of the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) in the region
where the claim occurred. 28 C.F.R. § 543.31(a). The Federal
Bureau of Prisons is authorized to settle administrative claims
for not more than $1,000. 31 U.S.C. § 3723(a). Although BOP
regulations provide that if the prisoner is “dissatisfied with
“appropriate U.S. District Court” 28 C.F.R. § 543.32(g), the
U.S. Supreme Court in Ali v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, 552 U.S.
214, 228 (2008) held that 28 U.S.C. § 2680(c) proscribes the
waiver of federal sovereign immunity in relation to “[a]ny claim
merchandise, or other property by any officer of customs or
excise or any other law enforcement officer.” (citing 28 U.S.C.
§ 2680(c)). The term “other law enforcement officers,” as used
in the statute, includes Bureau of Prisons officers. Id. at 22728.
immunity from Johnson’s claim, and the claim will be dismissed
with prejudice. See Bowens v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 415 F.
App’x 340, 343 (3d Cir. 2011) (“[i]n Ali, the Court held that a
suit over the loss of items . . . during a prison transfer was
barred by § 2680(c). . . . The same rationale applies to the
loss of items pursuant to detention in Bowens's case.”)
For the reasons described above, in the accompanying Order
s/Renee Marie Bumb
Renée Marie Bumb
United States District Judge
Dated: February 29, 2016
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