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Rasheed v. Bissonnette

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 12, 2015

RASHAD RASHEED, Plaintiff,
v.
DALE BISSONNETTE, MICHAEL THOMPSON, and LUIS SPENCER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

F. DENNIS SAYLOR, IV, District Judge.

This is a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff Rashad Rasheed, an inmate at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord ("MCI-Concord"), has filed suit against various prison officials contending that they violated his constitutional rights by disregarding his mental-health needs and refusing to house him in a single cell.

On October 14, 2014, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Plaintiff and defendants have both filed motions to strike affidavits. For the following reasons, these motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

The record, including the complaint, is not entirely comprehensible, and includes a variety of documents and statements that are difficult to understand.[1] Nonetheless, to the extent the Court can do so, the facts will be presented in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.

1. Parties

Rashad Rasheed is a state prisoner confined at MCI-Concord. (Compl. ¶ 4). He is a serial litigant. Including this action, he has filed at least 16 actions in the District of Massachusetts. These actions are as follows:

1. Rasheed v. Butterworth, Civil Action No. 78-01176-MLW (petition for writ of habeas corpus);
2. Rasheed v. Bender, Civil Action No. 87-01957-RGS (petition for writ of habeas corpus);
3. Rasheed v. Commissioner of Corrections, Civil Action No. 88-02027-MLW (section 1983 action)
4. Rasheed v. Duval, et al., Civil Action No. 93-12378-EFH (petition for writ of habeas corpus);
5. Rasheed v. Mundy, et al., Civil Action No. 94-11601-MLW (section 1983 action);
6. Rasheed v. DuBois, et al., Civil Action No. 94-12275-MLW (section 1983 action);
7. Rasheed v. Duval, Civil Action No. 95-10804-DPW (petition for writ of habeas);
8. Rasheed v. D'Antonio et al., Civil Action No. 10-11253-GAO (section 1983 action);
9. Rasheed v. Conley, Civil Action No. 11-11672-RGS (section 1983 action);
10. Rasheed v. Gelb, Civil Action No. 12-11921-DJC (petition for writ of habeas corpus);
11. Rasheed v. Newry et al., Civil Action No. 12-12094-RGS (section 1983 action);
12. Rasheed v. Newry et al., Civil Action No. 12-12210-RGS (section 1983 action);
13. Rasheed v. Bissonnette et al., Civil Action No. 14-10378-FDS (present section 1983 action);
14. Rasheed v. Bissonnette et al., Civil Action No. 14-11240-DJC (section 1983 action);
15. Rasheed v. Thompson, Civil Action No. 14-11885-IT (petition for writ of habeas corpus);
16. Rasheed v. Thompson, Civil Action No. 14-12240-DPW (petition for writ of habeas corpus).

Nine of these actions appear to be civil rights actions, and seven appear to be habeas petitions.

Defendant Dale Bissonnette is the Deputy Superintendent of Classification and Programs at MCI-Concord. (Compl. ¶ 5). Defendant Michael Thompson is the Superintendent of MCI-Concord. ( Id. ¶ 6). Until approximately July 2014, defendant Luis Spencer was the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections ("DOC"). (Compl. ¶ 7; Def.'s SMF ¶ 6).

2. History of Mental-Health Evaluations

According to the complaint, in June 1993, Elaine Wasserman, a mental-health expert at MCI-Cedar Junction, reviewed the mental-health records of Rasheed and recommended that the DOC house him in a single cell without a cellmate due to his condition. (Compl. ¶ 8). On May 14, 2009, Brad Feltus, a mental-health expert at MCI-Souza Baranowski Correctional Center ("SBCC"), reviewed Rasheed's records and determined that "double bunking of this inmate poses a severe security risk to him and any other inmate placed in his cell. Advocate [for]... single cell placement of this inmate due to his mental health...." (Rasheed Aff. Ex. B). John Beland, also a mental-health expert at SBCC, reviewed Rasheed's mental-health records on January 5, 2010, and "agreed to advocate for a single cell." (Rasheed Aff. Ex. C). In his evaluation, Beland noted that Rasheed posed "no apparent risk to [him]self [or] others." ( Id. ).[2]

Pursuant to Beland's recommendation, SBCC Deputy Superintendent Anthony Mendonsa placed Rasheed on a single-cell restriction. (Compl. ¶ 11 (citing Compl. Ex. D)). A January 6, 2010 letter from Mendonsa to Rasheed has been included in the record. ( See Rasheed Aff. Ex. E).[3] It is unclear whether the letter itself is the single-cell order or whether it is recognizing a single-cell order issued separately. ( See id. ).[4] The letter states, "[p]lease be advised that after a review by Mental Health Director John Beland, you have been placed on a single cell restriction effective January 5, 2010. Once you are bailed the Assignment Sgt. Ron Raymond will assign you to a unit." ( Id. ).

Rasheed apparently filed an action in 2010 for injunctive relief to prevent placement in a cell with another inmate. (Compl. ¶ 12). At that time, an affidavit filed with the court said that the "Department of Correction ha[s] no intention to house Mr. Rasheed with another inmate so long as he is under the single cell restriction." (Compl. Ex. D (Mendonsa Aff. ¶ 17)). From December 2011 to February 5, 2013, Rasheed was housed at MCI-SBCC in a single cell without a cellmate. (Compl. ¶ 13).

Defendants contend that Rasheed's single-cell order was issued on January 7, 2010. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 8 (citing O'Neill Aff. ¶ 7).[5] According to defendants, "[a]t the time [Rasheed] was given an order for a single cell he was not an open mental health case." ( Id. (citing O'Neill Aff. ¶ 7). Defendants contend that the order noted that it would be reviewed if Rasheed was transferred to a new institution. ( Id. (citing O'Neill Aff. ¶ 7); see also Bissonnette Aff. ¶ 6)). Although defendants did not point to a specific document in the record, a copy of Rasheed's Inmate Management System ("IMS") Medical Restrictions Report generated on March 11, 2013, identified a mental-health single-room restriction with a start date of January 7, 2010, and an end date of February 5, 2013. (Rasheed Aff. Ex. N). The IMS report noted that the restriction was not indefinite, and the comments included the notation, "review single cell status upon classification to another facility other than SBCC." ( Id. ).[6] Defendants contend that "[o]rders for a single cell based on mental health needs are made based on a diagnosis and a clinical indication." (O'Neill Aff. ¶ 8). "Such orders are not interminable as mental health needs are fluid." ( Id. ).

3. Transfer to MCI-Concord

On February 5, 2013, Rasheed was transferred to MCI-Concord. (Compl. ¶ 14). The complaint alleges that Spencer was responsible for Rasheed's transfer, and that contrary to the three mental-health recommendations on file, after the transfer Rasheed was placed in a double cell with a cellmate. ( Id. ).

According to defendants, when Rasheed was transferred to MCI-Concord, a thorough review of his mental-health needs was conducted and there was no clinical indication for placement in a single cell. (O'Neill Aff. ¶ 9). The single-cell order was discontinued on February 11, 2013 by the mental-health director at MCI-Concord. (O'Neill Aff. ¶ 9).[7] The February 11, 2013 decision appears to be memorialized in a document submitted by Rasheed. In a copy of the IMS Medical Restrictions Report generated on March 11, 2013, there is an entry dated February 11, 2013 by Meaghan Dupuis, who is identified as the mental-health director. (Rasheed Aff. Ex. O). The entry states that the inmate "transferred ...


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