United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons set forth below, the Court denies the petition for
writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and
sua sponte dismisses this action.
Scott Mattingley (“Petitioner”), an inmate now in
custody at FMC Devens, initiated this action on July 25,
2018, by filing a pro se petition for writ of habeas corpus
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241. See Petition
(“Pet.”), Dkt. No. 1. At that time, the case was
assigned pursuant to the Court's Program for Random
Assignment of Civil Cases to Magistrate Judges. See Notice of
Case Assignment, Dkt. No. 6. The case was subsequently
assigned to the undersigned for further proceedings. See
Electronic Notice of Case Re-Assignment, Dkt. No. 14.
was convicted of securities fraud in the Western District of
Virginia and was sentenced on November 17, 2017, to a
fifty-month sentence. See United States v.
Mattingley, No. 6:15-cr-00005-NKM-1 (W.D. Va. Nov. 17,
2017). He alleges that he is a double-amputee having
“lost his left leg below the knee [in 2013] and again
in late 2017 when he lost his right leg below the
knee.” See Pet. at ¶ 4. In order to avoid
irreparable damage to his legs and to obtain relief from
extreme pain, Petitioner seeks release from FMC Devens so
that he can obtain immediate medical attention at home.
Id. at p. 5. Petitioner complains of (1) severe
phantom pain; (2) inability to sleep; (3) inadequate pain
medication; (4) inadequate prosthetic legs; and (5) improper
medical care. He alleges that his current pain medication is
inadequate and that he has developed “2 wounds on his
left stump as well as a fungus on both stumps, which he has
never had before.” Id. at ¶ 4.
August 30, 2018, the government moved to dismiss stating that
Petitioner's claims should be brought in a civil rights
action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of
Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), which
established a direct cause of action against federal
officials for violations of the federal law. See
Dkt. No. 18. Respondent subsequently filed a notice of
supplemental authorities, See Dkt. No. 24, On
September 24, 2018, Petitioner was granted until November 5,
2018 to file any response to the government's motion.
See Dkt. No. 23. Petitioner subsequently filed three
letters addressed to the chief judge concerning the
conditions of his confinement. See Dkt. Nos. 25-27.
He also filed an “addendum” seeking to amend his
initial petition to add new allegations: (1) that after
receiving a commissary restriction by Counselor M. Tidwell,
he was subsequently placed in the SHU [Special Housing Unit]
based on retaliatory reasons; (2) that on September 8, 2018,
two days after he was placed in a non-handicap cell in the
SHU, he fell and was taken by ambulance to Nashoba Hospital;
(3) that his stumps had bleeding sores due to his inadequate
prosthetics and inability to shower; (4) that he washed his
stumps in the toilet due to an inoperable sink, and (5) that
the conditions at FMC Devens constitute cruel and unusual
punishment because they violate the Eighth Amendment
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment as well as
violate the Americans With Disabilities Act. See
Dkt. No. 28.
the habeas petition is clearly subject to dismissal under
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings,
see Infra ¶ II(A) (review of the habeas
petition), the court will not wait for Petitioner to file an
opposition to the pending motion to dismiss before dismissing
this action for the reasons stated below.
Review of the Habeas Petition
this petition was brought pursuant to Section 2241, the rules
governing Section 2254 cases may be applied at the discretion
of the district court to other types of habeas petitions.
See Rule 1(b) of the Rules Governing Section 2254
Proceedings; Boutwell v. Keating, 399 F.3d 1203,
1211 n.2 (10th Cir. 2005) (district court acted within its
discretion by applying Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing
Habeas Corpus Cases Under Section 2254 to § 2241
petition); Perez v. Hemingway, 157 F.Supp.2d 790,
795 (E.D. Mich. 2001).
Rule 4 of the Rules Governing Section 2254 Proceedings, the
court is required to examine a petition, and if it
“plainly appears from the petition and any attached
exhibits that the petitioner is not entitled to relief in the
district court, ” the court “must dismiss the
petition and direct the clerk to notify the
petitioner.” Rule 4; see McFarland v. Scott,
512 U.S. 849, 856 (1994) (habeas petition may be dismissed if
it appears to be legally insufficient on its face);
Mahoney v. Vondergritt, 938 F.2d 1490, 1494 (1st
Cir. 1991) (upholding Rule 4 summary dismissal of § 2254
petition). A petition for a writ of habeas corpus may also be
summarily dismissed if it fails to set forth facts that give
rise to a cause of action under federal law. Marmol v.
Dubois, 855 F.Supp. 444, 446 (D. Mass. 1994); see
Eady v. Director, Charleston County Detention
Center, 2011 WL 3704225, *3 (D.S.C. 2011) citing
Allen v. Perini, 424 F.2d 134, 141 (6th Cir. 1970)
(noting that district courts have a duty to screen habeas
petitions and eliminate burden on respondents caused by
ordering an unnecessary answer or return.
Failure to State Cognizable Habeas Claims
the habeas petition is subject to dismissal because the
allegations concern the conditions of Petitioner's
confinement at FMC Devens, which is not the proper subject of
a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. “[T]he essence
of habeas corpus is an attack by a person in custody upon the
legality of that custody, and . . . the traditional function
of the writ is to secure release from illegal custody.”
Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 484 (1973).
“Challenges to the validity of any confinement or to
particulars affecting its duration are the province of habeas
corpus; requests for relief turning on circumstances of
confinement may be presented in a [non-habeas action].”
Muhammad v. Close, 540 U.S. 749, 750 (2004);
Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 104 (1980)
(“[T]he purpose of [the writ of habeas corpus] is not
to redress civil injury, but to release the applicant from
unlawful physical confinement.”).
general matter, § 2241 is the vehicle for challenging
the execution of an otherwise valid sentence. Civil rights
actions - whether under Bivens for federal inmates
or 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for state inmates - are the vehicle
for challenges to the particular conditions of confinement.
See Crooker v. Grondolsky, No. 12-12106, 2013 WL
101588, at *2 (D. Mass. Jan. 4, 2013) (“Claims for
inadequate medical treatment are most properly characterized
as conditions of confinement claims, which are generally not
cognizable under ...