United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION INSTRUCTIONS
following proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. You may
file written objections to all or part of this
Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1)
specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your
objection, and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court
within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not
objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of
Matthew Boivin, an inmate at the Arkansas Department of
Correction's North Central Unit, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging defendants
violated his civil rights (Doc. No. 1). Specifically, Boivin
alleges Governor Asa Hutchinson, Board of Correction Chairman
Benny Magness, and Arkansas Department of Correction Director
Wendy Kelley require him to perform prison labor without
compensation or the award of meritorious good time. Boivin
claims that requiring him to work violates the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter,
the Eighth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the
United States Constitution, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and
the Arkansas Constitution.
move to dismiss Boivin's claims for failure to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted (Doc. No. 5). Boivin
did not respond to defendants' motion. Boivin moved to
amend his complaint and filed a proposed amended complaint
(Doc. Nos. 10-11). However, those amendments do not cure the
deficiencies asserted by defendants. As explained herein, the
undersigned recommends that defendants' motion be
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes a
court to dismiss a claim on the basis of a dispositive issue
of law. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326
(1989). If, as a matter of law, “it is clear that no
relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be
proved consistent with the allegations, ” a claim must
be dismissed, without regard to whether it is based on an
outlandish legal theory or on a close but ultimately
unavailing one. Id. at 327 (quoting Hishon v.
King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)); see
also O'Neal v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 630
F.3d 1075, 1077 (8th Cir. 2011).
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
court must accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint, and all reasonable inferences
from the complaint must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving
party. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007);
Young v. City of St. Charles, Mo., 244 F.3d 623, 627
(8th Cir. 2001). The court reads the complaint as a whole,
not parsed piece by piece to determine whether each
allegation, in isolation, is plausible. Braden v.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir.
2009). In addition to the complain t, the c o u rt may c o n
sider matters of public record, orders, items appearing in
the record of the case, and exhibits attached to the
complaint. See Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186
F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999).
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must allege facts sufficient to state a claim as a matter of
law and not merely legal conclusions. Young, 244
F.3d at 627. The factual allegations in the complaint must
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged. Id. The plausibility
standard is not akin to a “probability requirement,
” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully. Id. (quoting
Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 556). Where a complaint
pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a
defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line
between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to
relief.'” Id. (quoting Bell
Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 557). In Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), the Supreme Court
emphasized that when ruling upon a motion to dismiss in a
§ 1983 action, a pro se complaint must be
liberally construed and held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. However, such liberal
pleading standards apply only to a plaintiff's factual
allegations. Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 330
n. 9 (1989).
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations
Charter, and the Thirteenth Amendment
claims that the use of his labor without compensation under
threat of punishment violates Articles 4 and 5 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (prohibiting slavery,
servitude, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment) and Articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations
Charter (promoting “universal respect for, and
observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for
all”). Doc. No. 1 at ¶¶ 16, 19 &
20. However, neither the declaration nor the U.N. Charter
provide a basis for a private cause of action. See United
States v. Chatman, 351 Fed.Appx. 740, 741 (3d Cir. 2009)
(“ . . . the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a
non-binding declaration that provides no private rights of
action.”) (citing Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain, 542
U.S. 692, 734 (2004)); United States v. Khatallah, 160
F.Supp.3d 144, 148 (D.D.C. 2016) (“the U.N. Charter . .
. form parts of international agreements that impose general
obligations on countries; they confer no rights on
individuals or private rights of action enforceable in U.S.
Boivin's claim that he is subjected to slavery or
involuntary servitude must be analyzed under the U.S.
Constitution as opposed to international treaties or
agreements. See Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 17
(1957) (“This Court has regularly and uniformly
recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a
treaty.”). The Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution provides, in relevant part, “[n]either
slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment
for crime whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any
place subject to their jurisdiction.” U.S. Const.
amend. XIII, § 1 (emphasis added). It is well-settled
that requiring convicted inmates to work with no pay does not
violate the Thirteenth Amendment. See Ray v. Mabry,
556 F.2d 881, 882 (8th Cir. 1977) (citing Draper v.
Rhay, 315 F.2d 193, 197 (9th Cir. 1963); Howerton v.
Mississippi County, Ark., 361 F.Supp. 356, 364 (E.D.
Ark. 1973); Holt v. Sarver, 309 F.Supp. 362, 369-72
(E.D. Ark. 1970), aff'd, 442 F.2d 304 (8th Cir.
maintains in his brief that the Thirteenth Amendment's
prohibition on slavery and servitude applies to him because
he was only sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and was not
sentenced to “hard labor.” That argument fails.
Arkansas law requires all inmates sentenced to the Department
of Correction to participate in the work programs to which
they are assigned. See Ark. Code Ann. §
12-30-401(a) (West); Wendt v. Lynaugh,841 F.2d 619,
620 (5th Cir. 1988) (“Appellant also makes a convoluted
argument that under Texas law a prison sentence consists only
of confinement and does not compel labor. This latter
argument is quickly disposed of because Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat.
Ann. art. 6166x [requires prisoners to be kept at work] . . .
'”); Ali v. Johnson, 259 F.3d 317, 318
(5th Cir. 2001) (distinguishing Watson v. Graves,
909 F.2d 1549 (5th Cir. 1990), and holding that the precise
terms of state law are irrelevant because the ...