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Delacruz v. Spencer

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

January 13, 2015

JOSE DELACRUZ, Plaintiff,
v.
LUIS SPENCER, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DENISE J. CASPER, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Jose Delacruz ("Delacruz") brings this lawsuit against Defendants Luis Spencer, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction ("DOC"), and Carol Mici ("Mici"), Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Classification for the DOC (collectively, "Defendants"). D. 1; D. 19 at 1. Delacruz, acting pro se, seeks a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages, alleging that he was transferred to an out-of-state prison without due process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. D. 1 at 3-4. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. D. 18. Because one of the grounds for dismissal was failure to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), the Court denied the motion to dismiss without prejudice to give the parties leave to supplement the record as a summary judgment motion only as to the exhaustion issue. D. 34. For the reasons discussed below, the Court DISMISSES this action.

II. Factual Background

The facts recited are as alleged in the complaint, D. 1, and, as to the exhaustion issue, in the Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts, D. 38 at 2-7.

In May 2009, Delacruz was committed to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord to serve a life sentence. D. 38 ¶ 1. On July 8, 2009, after an initial classification hearing, D. 38 ¶ 1, Delacruz was classified for placement at Souza Baranowski Correctional Center ("SBCC"). D. 1 ¶ 4; D. 38 ¶ 1-2; Classification Report, D. 1-1 at 2.

Approximately two months later, on September 17, 2009, the Department of Correction's deputy director of the County, Federal and Interstate Unit modified Delacruz's initial classification and made a "final placement decision" to house Delacruz in a state prison in New Jersey, citing safety concerns as the basis of the decision. D. 38 ¶ 5-6.

In support of his procedural due process claim, Delacruz asserts that because the New Jersey prison did not keep Massachusetts case law in the law library, he was unable to assist in his pending, criminal appeal. D. 1 at ¶¶ 6, 9. Delacruz also asserts that he is unable to advocate effectively in a motion for new trial as a result of the out-of-state transfer. D. 1 at ¶¶ 9-10.

III. Procedural History

Delacruz filed suit on February 15, 2013. D. 1. Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint. D. 18. Delacruz opposed this motion. D. 24-26. Because one of the grounds for dismissal was Delacruz's alleged failure to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing suit, D. 19 at 11-15, the Court denied the motion without prejudice to allow the parties to supplement the record pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d) as to the exhaustion issue. D. 34. The Defendants supplemented the record as to administrative exhaustion and pressed its other grounds for dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), D. 38 at 2, and Delacruz filed supplemental exhibits. D. 39.

IV. Standard of Review

A. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate when the undisputed facts show that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law and there is no genuine dispute of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is material it if "carries with it the potential to affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law." Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp., 217 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2000). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Carmona v. Toledo, 215 F.3d 124, 132 (1st Cir. 2000). The Court views the record in the ...


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