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Holloman v. Clarke

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

January 15, 2016

TAJUAN HOLLOMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
HAROLD CLARKE, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. Background

On June 9, 2014, pro se prisoner plaintiff Tajuan Holloman (“Holloman”) filed this civil action against 26 correctional officials and prison employees pursuant to, inter alia, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Complaint primarily recounted events in connection with his 2010 transfer from the Suffolk County Jail to MCI Concord while Holloman was a pretrial detainee. The Complaint also made claims in connection with later events occurring at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center (“SBCC”) from 2010 through 2013.

On April 15, 2015, Judge Woodlock issued a Memorandum and Order (Docket No. 15) directing the issuance of summonses for service on 11 of the defendants.[1] The Memorandum and Order also directed Holloman to show cause within 42 days why his claims against the remaining 15 defendants should not be dismissed.[2]Specifically, Judge Woodlock concluded that for purposes of preliminary screening of the Complaint, Holloman had sufficiently alleged plausible claims for excessive force, failure to intervene, retaliation and denial of due process.[3] Id. at 12. In light of this, the Court permitted summonses to issue as to defendants Gill, Ferrarra, Maine, Diagneault (as to the retaliation claim only), Mendonsa, Spencer, O’Dell, Gelb, Ladouceur, Owens and Fedel.

With respect to the remaining defendants (Deakin, Clarke, Bender, Russo, Brodbeck, Maenpaa, Thornton, Bedard, Williams, Fasoli, Tocci, Palodian, MacDonald, Rodrigues and Wendover), however, Judge Woodlock preliminarily determined that Holloman failed to state plausible claims for a number of reasons.

As an initial matter, the statute of limitations for § 1983 claims appeared to bar Holloman’s claims concerning his transfer from the Suffolk County Jail to MCI Concord, as well as his claims concerning his transfer to SBCC and his first double-bunking assignment in 2010. Because Holloman filed the instant action more than three years after he knew or had reason to know of the alleged wrongful acts at the time they occurred, his claims against defendants Deakin, Clarke, Bender, Russo, Brodbeck and Maenpaa were subject to dismissal as time-barred.

Next, Judge Woodlock concluded that Holloman’s challenges to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, § 52A, which provides for the transfer of a pretrial detainee from a county jail to a state correctional institution if he previously has been incarcerated in such an institution under sentence for a felony, were untimely and failed to state a plausible claim. Memorandum and Order (Docket No. 15 at 15).

Further, with respect to Holloman’s claims as to defendants Palodian, Tocci, Diagneault, Fasoli, MacDonald, Rodrigues and Wendover stemming from problems with his legal mail in the Fall of 2011 and February 2013, [4] the Court found that Holloman’s allegations are plainly inadequate to state a viable access to the courts claim, as he fails to specify any actual injury to a nonfrivolous legal action caused by any of the defendants.

Memorandum and Order (Docket No. 15 at 17). As an additional matter, Holloman’s allegation that defendant Diagneault made derogatory (racist) statements to him did not rise to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. Id. (citing cases).

Finally, with respect to claims against defendants Thornton, Bedard and Williams, Judge Woodlock concluded that Holloman failed to state plausible claims upon which relief may be granted in accordance with the pleading requirements of Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because there were no factual assertions concerning the defendants’ conduct and because the Complaint failed to link clearly specific factual allegations of wrongdoing.

On June 9, 2015, this action was reassigned to this Court because Judge Woodlock took senior status. See Notice of Reassignment (Docket No. 25). Since the reassignment, this Court has granted Holloman a number of extensions of time to file his show cause response, denied his request for a subpoena, and granted, in part, defendants’ Motion to Stay pending the Court’s conclusion of the preliminary screening/review of the show cause response, which, by extension, was due on October 9, 2015.

Additionally, this Court denied Holloman’s Motion for a Default Judgment and Motion for Reconsideration but directed defense counsel, Attorney Glazer, to file a responsive pleading on behalf of all defendants he represented, by October 1, 2015. This Court noted that if Attorney Glazer did not represent all defendants, or if he defaulted in such filing, it would reconsider Holloman’s motion. See Endorsed Order (Docket No. 44) (entered September 18, 2015).

On September 29, 2015, Attorney Glazer, as counsel for defendants Fedel, Ladouceur, Mendosa, O’Dell and Spencer filed a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Service (Docket No. 48). Thereafter, Holloman filed his show cause response (Docket No. 51). A week later, defendants Daigneault, Ferrara, Gelb, Gill, Maine and Owens filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim (Docket No. 52) and a Memorandum in Support (Docket Nos. 54 and 57 (duplicative entries)).

On November 12, 2015, this Court granted Holloman until February 26, 2016 to file a response to the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim.

II. Discussion

A. The Show Cause ...


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