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Snell v. Thompson

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex

August 10, 2016

Emory Snell
v.
Michael Thompson et al No. 134563

         Filed August 26, 2016

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND AMENDED JUDGMENT

          Dennis J. Curran, Associate Justice.

         This case comes before the court from an unusual trajectory. Mr. Snell, a state prisoner, filed an Application for a Temporary Restraining Order seeking to enjoin certain then-pending state prison disciplinary proceedings directly with the Supreme Judicial Court which, after about a month, transferred to the matter to the Middlesex Superior Court.[1]

         Mr. Snell's complaint asserts 18 causes of action, virtually all of which revolve around his disagreement with two prison disciplinary reports issued against him by the Department of Correction. All defendants have moved to dismiss Mr. Snell's complaint. A hearing was held and after reviewing the moving and opposition papers, the motion must be ALLOWED.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

          To survive a motion to dismiss under Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must set forth the grounds of the plaintiff's entitlement to relief with more than mere " labels and conclusions." Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623, 636, 888 N.E.2d 879 (2008), citing Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). The factual allegations in the complaint need not be detailed, however, they " must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . [based] on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true . . ." Id. At this pleading stage, Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) requires factual " 'allegations plausibly suggesting (not merely consistent with)' an entitlement to relief" to show that the complaint " possesses enough heft to 'sho[w] that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id., quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557.

          In considering this motion, the Court may consider public documents and records such as other court filings and docket sheets. See Home Depot, Inc. v. Kardas, 81 Mass.App.Ct. 27, 28, 958 N.E.2d 531 (2011). See also Mmoe v. Commonwealth, 393 Mass. 617, 620, 473 N.E.2d 169 (1985).

         DISCUSSION

         We address each of Mr. Snell's counts, in logical, but not necessarily numerical, order.

          Mr. Snell's Disciplinary Proceedings . Counts II, III, V, VI, VII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVII and XVIII relate to the disciplinary reports about which Mr. Snell complains.

         Mr. Snell must exhaust his administrative remedies before bringing a lawsuit. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 126 S.Ct. 2378, 165 L.Ed.2d 368 (2006). See also G.L.c. 127, section 38F. He has failed to do so.

          Under state regulations governing prison operations, an inmate wishing to appeal a matter relating to disciplinary proceeding must do so by filing an appeal with the Superintendent within 15 days after receiving the decision on the disciplinary matter. 103 Code of Massachusetts Regulation 430.18(1).[2] This did not happen. Accordingly, Mr. Snell's appeals are time-barred and he has waived his right to relief by failing to exhaust his administrative remedies. Stokes v. Commonwealth, 26 Mass.App.Ct. 585, 590, 530 N.E.2d 801 (1988). These counts must be dismissed.

         However, our inquiry does not end there: there are many more of Mr. Snell's counts to be addressed.

          Mr. Snell's Constitutional Claims . Count III, V, X, XI, XIV and XV[3] claim that Mr. Snell's constitutional rights were violated; count VII claims that Mr. Snell received a sanction that was " excessive" under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution; and count ...


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