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Feijoo v. Mass. Dep't of Public Safety

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 2, 2014

HUMBERTO FEIJOO, Plaintiff,
v.
MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY; MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS; LUIS SPENCER, Commissioner of the DOC; KAREN DINARDO, Deputy Superintendent; and KELLY RYAN, Superintendent, Defendants

For Humberto Feijoo, Plaintiff: Benjamin M. Stern, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mark T. Goracke, Holland & Knight (B), Boston, MA.

For Massachusetts Department of Corrections, Luis Spencer, Commissioner, Kelley Ryan, Superintendent MCI Shirley Medium, Karen Dinardo, Deputy Superintendent MCI Shirley Medium, Massachusetts Department of Public Safety, Defendants: Daryl F. Glazer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Correction, Boston, MA.

Page 199

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Patti B. Saris, Chief United States District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Humberto Feijoo, an inmate at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute in Shirley, filed suit against the Massachusetts Departments of Public Safety and Corrections; the Commissioner of the DOC; and the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent of MCI Shirley. The complaint alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (" RLUIPA" ). The defendants have moved to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion (Docket No. 24) is ALLOWED as to the Eighth Amendment claim, but is otherwise DENIED for the reasons stated in Court.

Page 200

II. BACKGROUND

The fifty-nine year-old plaintiff, who is confined to an electric wheelchair and suffers from multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and liver failure, has been housed in the Health Services Unit (" HSU" ) at MCI Shirley since 2000. Prisoners housed in general population, Feijoo alleges, may participate in educational and vocational courses, enroll in MCI Shirley's work program, obtain drug and alcohol abuse treatment, spend time outdoors, visit the central law library, receive visitors on a regular basis, and attend religious services. Prior to 2011, HSU inmates were equally able to avail themselves of these programs and privileges, and Feijoo did so notwithstanding his physical impairments.

However, the complaint further states, HSU inmates are no longer afforded such freedom. Under the current regime, HSU inmates may not traverse the prison at will, and must instead remain in their HSU cells or a single multi-purpose common room that serves as the HSU's visitation room, attorney/client consultation room, law library, site of religious observance, socialization space, and movie room. This room is frequently unavailable due to its multiple functions.

Furthermore, Feijoo alleges that the defendants have forbidden him from engaging in " light duty" work and from exercising his religion. As to the first, Defendant DiNardo has denied Feijoo's requests for work tasks and barred him from cleaning his own cell using a " buffer machine," although the medical director of the HSU believes that such duties would benefit Feijoo's physical and mental health. Nor can Feijoo, a devout Catholic, attend Mass. with a priest, participate in special religious programs in the prison's main chapel, or fully observe religious holidays and rituals. Instead, Feijoo -- like all HSU inmates -- is limited to one generic religious service per month conducted in the small multi-purpose room.

Feijoo alleges that he has complained to Defendant Spencer regarding all of the above conditions by means of multiple letters. The DOC has taken no action.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review


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