United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Procedure for Filing Objections
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge J. Leon Holmes. You may file written
objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections,
they must be specific and must include the factual or legal
basis for your objection. Your objections must be received in
the office of the United States District Court Clerk within
fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation.
objections are filed, Judge Holmes can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By
not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
Sanders, an Arkansas Department of Correction
(“ADC”) inmate, filed this civil rights lawsuit
on behalf of himself and Christopher Batson. (Docket entry
#1) They allege that the ADC's failure to pay inmates
adequate compensation for prison work assignments violates:
the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments; the United
Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
the International Declaration of Human Rights; and the
Sherman Act. They explain that they are bringing this lawsuit
under Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents, 91 S.Ct. 1999
(1971). They sue thirteen individuals in their official
capacities only. They seek both monetary damages and
injunctive relief. The Court Clerk severed this case into two
Court recently dismissed Mr. Sanders's complaint based on
his failure to state a constitutional claim. Sanders v.
Kelley, E.D. Ark. No. 5:17-306-JLH-BD (Jan. 17, 2018).
For the same reasons, the Court recommends that Mr.
Batson's claims be DISMISSED.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires
federal courts to screen prisoner complaints seeking relief
against a governmental entity, officer, or employee. 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court must dismiss a complaint or
any part of the complaint where the prisoner has raised
claims that are legally frivolous or malicious; that fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or that seek
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from paying
damages. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
for Mr. Batson, “[t]here is no constitutional right to
prison wages and any such compensation is by grace of the
state.” Hrbek v. Farrier, 787 F.2d 414, 416
(8th Cir. 1986) (citing Sigler v. Lowrie, 404 F.2d
659, 661 (8th Cir. 1968)).
Batson also claims that the Defendants violated the United
Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(“ICCPR”), an international treaty to which the
United States is a party. The Court is unaware of any
“judicial decision authorizing a private right of
action under the ICCPR.” Ralk v. Lincoln
County, 81 F.Supp.2d 1372 (S.D. Ga. 2000).
Mr. Batson's claim that Defendants violated the
International Declaration of Human Rights fails for the same
reason. Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542 U.S. 692,
734-35 (2004) (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does
not provide a private right of action in federal courts).
Mr. Batson should not be allowed to proceed on his claim
under the Sherman Act. He claims that the Defendants violated
the Sherman Act by “maintaining an illegal price scheme
by requiring prisoners at  several institutions of the ADC
to work for no equitable remuneration to produce food and
dairy products at its facilities.” (#1 at p.35) He
explains that “[a]s a result of these practices, it is
undermining and prohibiting the competitive bidding for sales
of food and dairy products to the ADC by private
corporations.” (Id. at p.36) His claim,
however, is not well taken.
To bring a federal antitrust claim, a private plaintiff must
demonstrate that he has suffered an “antitrust
injury” as a result of the alleged conduct of the
defendants. An “antitrust injury” is an
“injury of the type the antitrust laws were intended to
prevent . . ...