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Sanders v. Palmer

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

December 18, 2017

Christopher Sanders
v.
Demetrius Palmer and United States of America

          Christopher Sanders, pro se.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Andrea K. Johnstone United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Christopher Sanders, a federal prisoner proceeding pro se, has filed a complaint (Doc. No. 1), pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), alleging violations of his rights while he was a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Institution, Berlin, New Hampshire ("FCI-Berlin") .[1]Sanders has also filed what appear to be: a handwritten copy of a letter from the Department of Justice concerning an administrative tort claim Sanders filed with that agency (Doc. No. 14) and a handwritten copy of a letter from a federal court in Florida accompanied by a memorandum of law (Doc. No. 17). This court considers the factual assertions in Document Nos. 14 and 17 to be part of the complaint in this case. This matter is before the court for preliminary review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a) and LR 4.3(d) (1) .

         Standard

         In determining whether a pro se pleading states a claim, for the purposes of this court's preliminary review of prisoner pleadings under 28 U.S.C. § l9l5A(a), the court construes the pleading liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Disregarding any legal conclusions, the court considers whether the factual content in the pleading and inferences reasonably drawn therefrom, taken as true, state a claim to relief. Hernandez-Cuevas v. Taylor, 723 F.3d 91, 102-03 (1st Cir. 2013) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).

         Discussion

         I. Bivens Claims

         A. Hygiene Products

         1. Background

         Sanders alleges that while he was incarcerated at FCI-Berlin, hygiene supplies distributed to inmates in the Secure Housing Unit ("SHU") burned his skin. Construing Sanders's complaint generously, it appears that Sanders seeks to sue the person "in charge of the supplies that's been giving [sic] to us inmates in SHU at FCI Berlin." Sanders then goes on to state, however, that other than the person "in charge" of providing SHU inmates with hygiene supplies, FCI-Berlin staff members are not responsible for the harm he alleges he suffered from the hygiene products.

         2. Claims Against Officer "In Charge"

         To assert a claim alleging that conditions of his confinement have violated his constitutional rights, Sanders must assert facts to show that a federal officer was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to Sanders, and disregarded that risk. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 828-29 (1994) . Sanders has not asserted facts suggesting that any FCI-Berlin officer or employee was aware of the harm to Sanders caused by the hygiene products provided to him at that facility, or otherwise failed to take reasonable responsive action to the harm alleged. Accordingly, Sanders has failed to state a constitutional claim upon which relief might be granted, and his Bivens claim against the officer "in charge" should be dismissed.

         3. Claims Against Manufacturers/Distributors

         Apparently intending to bring suit against the manufacturers and/or distributors of the pertinent hygiene products, Sanders asks the court to provide him with information to assist him in filing such an action. The court does not research potential claims or defendants on behalf of litigants. Sanders has not pleaded the minimum facts needed to state claims within this court's original jurisdiction against the manufacturers and/or distributors of the hygiene products in question in his complaint here. Accordingly, any claims Sanders may have intended to assert in this action against those ...


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