United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. Rogers, III, United States Magistrate Judge
a civil action filed pro se by Otis Jones
(“Plaintiff”/ “Jones”) on June 25,
2018. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Federal
Correctional Institution (FCI) in Jesup, Georgia. Plaintiff
was previously incarcerated at FCI Bennetsville, South
Carolina, and his claims arise from his incarceration there.
The Defendants are South Carolina BOP employees who are or
were employed at FCI Bennettsville. The Defendants are Warden
Bragg, former Associate Warden Kelly, Associate Warden
Furman, former Foreman Shipman, and Dr. Onuoha who is the
Clinical Director at FCI Bennettsville, each in their
individual capacities. This matter is currently before the court
on the Defendants' motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment filed February 25, 2019.
(ECF #35). As the Plaintiff is proceeding pro
se, the court issued an order on or about February 26,
2019, pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309
(4th Cir. 1975), advising Plaintiff of the motion
to dismiss/motion for summary judgment procedure and the
possible consequences if he failed to respond adequately.
Plaintiff filed a response in opposition after being granted
FOR MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
matters outside of the pleadings have been submitted by both
parties, this motion will be treated as one for summary
federal court is charged with liberally construing the
complaints filed by pro s e litigants, to allow them
to fully develop potentially meritorious cases. See C r u
z v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972); Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). The court's function,
however, is not to decide issues of fact, but to decide
whether there is an issue of fact to be tried. The
requirement of liberal construction does not mean that the
court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege
facts which set forth a federal claim, Weller v.
Dep't of Social Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
1990), nor can the court assume the existence of a genuine
issue of material fact where none exists. If none can be
shown, the motion should be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
moving party bears the burden of showing that summary
judgment is proper. Summary judgment is proper if there is no
genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
Summary judgment is proper if the non-moving party fails to
establish an essential element of any cause of action upon
which the non-moving party has the burden of proof.
Celotex, 477 U.S. 317. Once the moving party has
brought into question whether there is a genuine dispute for
trial on a material element of the non-moving party's
claims, the non-moving party bears the burden of coming
forward with specific facts which show a genuine dispute for
trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Electrical
Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574
(1986). The non-moving party must come forward with enough
evidence, beyond a mere scintilla, upon which the fact finder
could reasonably find for it. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The facts and
inferences to be drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party. Shealy v.
Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991).
However, the non-moving party may not rely on beliefs,
conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat
a motion for summary judgment. Barber v. Hosp. Corp. of
Am., 977 F.2d 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). The
evidence relied on must meet “the substantive
evidentiary standard of proof that would apply at a trial on
the merits.” Mitchell v. Data General Corp.,
12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1993).
that a genuine dispute of material fact exists, a party may
not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his
pleadings. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (Rule 56(e)
permits a proper summary judgment motion to be opposed by any
of the kinds of evidentiary materials listed in Rule 56(c),
except the mere pleadings themselves). Rather, the party must
present evidence supporting his or her position through
“depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with . . . affidavits, if
any.” Id. at 322; see also Cray
Communications, Inc. v. Novatel Computer Systems, Inc.,
33 F.3d 390 (4th Cir. 1994); Orsi v.
Kickwood, 999 F.2d 86 (4th Cir. 1993); Local
Rules 7.04, 7.05, D.S.C.
Complaint, Jones alleges that on September 16, 2015, he was
instructed to remove a rusted and damaged nut-bolt from a
pipe that needed repair and restoration while incarcerated at
FCI Bennetsville. Jones contends that while trying to pry the
bolt so that he could loosen it, the bolt snapped and he
hyper-extended his elbow and ruptured his triceps tendon.
Jones asserts he is bringing this “negligence claim
against the United States of America for failing to provide
adequate safety safeguards for its inmates” by
negligently hiring, supervising and training its employees
who disregard the safety procedures and the safety and health
of the inmates. (Complaint). Jones alleges that the prison
officials at FCI Bennettsville “who were
acting/omitting through and by the United States/FBOP condon
and turn a blind eye to proper safety measures as required by
its own policy and program statement. These acts/omissions by
the United States and its prison employees named herein
caused Plaintiff a permanent residual injury in his arm that
will require medical care for the rest of his life.”
Jones alleges that he brings this claim against the
Defendants for “medical ordinary negligence” for
the acts/omission of Dr. Onuoha for not sending him to the
hospital right away and for the way he handled
Plaintiff's post-surgical care including having him
transferred to another prison. Jones alleges Defendants
Bragg, Kelly, Furman, and Shipman failed to protect him in
regard to his safety and health which was a deliberate
indifference with regard for his safety. Jones asserts that
his claims are both under the FTCA and Bivens. He
requests monetary damages.
their motion, Defendants assert that Jones was assigned to
the Plumbing Shop work detail at FCI Bennettsville on
September 16, 2015, where he had been on work detail since
March 11, 2014, with the exception of a vacation from August
30, 2015, to September 6, 2015. Jones's supervisor was
the Plumbing Worker Supervisor. Jones had been a Plumbing
Assistant from October 16, 2012, until February 24, 2014.
court construes Jones' Complaint as purporting to raise
claims pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of
Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and
the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2671-2680, 1346(b).
SUBJECT MATTER JURSIDICTION FTCA
argue that the Inmate Accident Compensation Act (IACA)
provides the exclusive remedy against the United States for
federal inmates' claims of work-related injuries as
opposed to the FTCA. Thus, Defendants assert that the IACA
bars Jones's FTCA claims and Defendant United States is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the work-related
injury claim, as the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction
over the FTCA claim. In the response to summary judgment,
Jones states that he “concedes to Defendants argument
concerning ‘IACA' is the exclusive remedy for an
inmates work related injuries!” (ECF No. 45 at 2).
stated, Jones alleges he sustained personal injury while
performing his prison job at FCI Bennetsville. Under the
Inmate Accident Compensation Act (“IACA”), 18
U.S.C. § 4126, Congress authorized Federal Prison
Industries, Inc. (“FPI”) to compensate inmates
for “injuries suffered in any industry or in any work
activity in connection with the maintenance or operation of
the institution in which the inmates are confined.” 18
U.S.C. § 4126(c)(4); see also 28 C.F.R. § 301.319.
Federal prisoners cannot recover under the FTCA for
work-related injuries, as the IACA provides the exclusive
remedy against the Government for injuries incurred in
work-related incidents. United States v. Demko, 385
U.S. 149, 152-53 (1966). See also 28 C.F.R. §
301.319 (“Inmates who are subject to the provisions of
these Inmate Accident Compensation regulations are barred
from recovery under the Federal Torts Claim Act.”).
Recovery is barred under the FTCA not only for the
work-related injury, but also for the negligent treatment of
that injury. Vander v. U.S. Dep't of Justice,
268 F.3d 661 (9th Cir. 2001); Wooten v. United
States, 825 F.2d 1039, 1044 (6th Cir.
1987)(“Section 4126 is also the exclusive remedy when a
work-related injury is subsequently aggravated by negligence
and malpractice on the part of prison officials or when the
injury stems from a negligent job assignment.”)
(internal citations omitted); Church v. United
States, 2014 Wl 5527829 (D.S.C. 2014)(finding that
“the IACA includes medical negligence as a compensable
injury, and provides that ‘compensation may only be
paid for work-related injuries or claims alleging improper
medical treatment of a work-related injury'”
(citing 28 C.F.R. §301.201(b)); Elliott v.
United States, No. 0:17-3407-DCC-PJG, 2018 WL 7820722
(D.S.C. Sept. 10, 2018) report and recommendation
adopted, No. 0:17-cv-03407-DCC, 2019 WL 580976 (D.S.C.
Feb. 13, 2019)(finding the court lacks jurisdiction to
adjudicate Plaintiff's FTCA claim regarding his work
related injury and alleged failure to properly treat the
injury because the IACA system is the exclusive remedy
against the Government). Accordingly, this Court lacks
jurisdiction to adjudicate Jones's FTCA claim with regard
to his work-related injury. Walker v. Reese, 364
Fed.Appx. 872, 876 (5th Cir. 2010) (“Because the IAC
system is Walker's exclusive remedy against the
Government, the court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate his
FTCA claim.”). Therefore, it is recommended that
Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted, and
the FTCA claims regarding work-related injuries be dismissed
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, with prejudice.