BOYCE v. DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER - Judgment will be entered in this case for Plaintiff, Michael Boyce, for nominal damages in the amount of $1.00 against Defendant Joseph Jozefczyk. Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58 follows. It is ORDERED that the Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 81 ) dated May 10, 2017, as supplemented herein, is ADOPTED as the Opinion of the Court. This case shall be marked closed, and as more fully stated in said Memorandum Order. Signed by Judge Kim R. Gibson on 6/21/2017. (dlg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
COMMONWEAL TH OF
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS, et al.,
Civil Action No. 3: 15-cv-0157
United States District Judge
Kim R. Gibson
In this action, Plaintiff, Michael Boyce, claimed that multiple Parole and DOC staff
members violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when he was given a
recommendation for low intensity Sex Offender Programming without procedural due process.
In response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report
and Recommendation on December 12, 2016, recommending that the motion be granted in part
and denied in part. (ECF No. 64). Specifically, it was recommended that Plaintiffs Eighth
Amendment claim be dismissed, and that defendants Rosage, Rhoads, Wingard, and Joseph be
dismissed as they lacked personal involvement. It was further recommended that summary
judgment be denied on Plaintiffs due process claim against Defendant Jozefczyk. On February
7, 201 7, the Court adopted the Report and Recommendation, as supplemented, and held that the
only remaining claim in the case is Plaintiffs procedural due process claim against Defendant
Jozefczyk. (ECF No. 71). Defendant does dispute that Plaintiff was not afforded a hearing.
(ECF No. 69). Because there is nothing left for a fact finder to determine, judgment should be
entered in favor of Plaintiff.
However, before judgment can be entered, it is necessary to determine what damages
should be awarded to Plaintiff. The Court had the parties submit briefs on the issue of whether
judgment for nominal damages in the amount of $1.00 should be entered in Plaintiffs favor.
(ECF No. 72).
Defendant's position is that the record supports only an award of nominal
damages. (ECF No. 75). Plaintiff responds that he is entitled to an award of $100,000.00 for
"damages for the additional seven months spent incarcerated due to this constitutional violation,"
and for "damages for lost wages for this period." (ECF No. 78).
Following the completion of briefing, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation (ECF No. 81) which recommended that judgment for nominal damages in the
amount of $1.00 be entered in Plaintiffs favor. Plaintiff filed timely objections to the Report and
Recommendation. (ECF No. 83). He again argues that he is entitled to a monetary award of
$100,000.00 for the harm he suffered as a result of Defendant's violation of his due process
The United States Supreme Court has stated that "the abstract value of a constitutional
right may not form the basis for§ 1983 damages." Memphis Community Sch. Dist. v. Stachura,
477 U.S. 299, 308 (1986). Boyce seeks substantial damages for the harm he suffered as a result
of defendant's violation of his due process rights. However, the only actual injury that could
form the basis for the award he seeks would be mental and/or emotional injury.
previously explained in the report and recommendations, under the PLRA, § 1997e(e), in order
to bring a claim for mental or emotional injury suffered while in custody, a prisoner must allege
physical injury, an allegation that Boyce undisputedly does not make.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e);
Doe v. Delie, 257 F.3d 309, 335 n.3 (3d Cir. 2001); Mitchell v. Horn, 318 F.3d 523, 533 (3d Cir.
2003); Allah v. Al-Hafeez, 226 F.3d 247, 251 (3d Cir. 2000).
Thus, Boyce's claims for
compensatory damages are barred by§ 1997e(e).
Punitive damages may be awarded based solely on a constitutional violation, provided
the proper showing is made. Allah, 226 F.3d at 251. However, Plaintiff did not claim or request
punitive damages in his complaint nor is there any factual basis in this record to support such a
claim against the remaining defendant, psychologist Joseph Josefczyk.
After de novo review of the pleadings and documents in this case, together with the
Report and Recommendation, and the Objections thereto, the following order is entered:
AND NOW, this Zl_ day of June, 2017:
Judgment will be entered in this case for Plaintiff, Michael Boyce, for nominal
damages in the amount of $1.00 against Defendant Joseph Jozefczyk. Judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 58 follows.
It is ORDERED that the Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 81) dated May
10, 2017, as supplemented herein, is ADOPTED as the Opinion of the Court.
This case shall be marked closed.
BY THE COURT:
Kim R. Gibson
United States District Judge
1600 Walters Mill Road
Somerset, PA 15510
(via U.S. First Class Mail)
Mary Lynch Friedline
Office of Attorney General
(via ECF electronic notification)
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