Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Holloman v. Clarke

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 23, 2017

Tajuan Holloman, Plaintiff,
v.
Harold Clarke, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case involves claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by Tajuan Holloman (“plaintiff”), a pro se litigant, against 26 defendants. Pending before the Court are 1) defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) brought by 14 Department of Correction (“DOC”) defendants and 2) a motion to strike affidavits attached in support of plaintiff's opposition to that motion. For the following reasons, the motions will be allowed.

         I. Background

         Tajaun Holloman is an inmate currently incarcerated at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Shirley, Massachusetts (“MCI-Shirley”). Holloman's claims arise from alleged misconduct while he was a pretrial detainee at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Concord, Massachusetts (“MCI- Concord”) and, later, at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center (“SBCC”) in Shirley, Massachusetts.

         In May, 2016, 14 of the defendants, namely, Harold Clarke (“Clarke”), James Bender (“Bender”), Lois Russo (Russo”), John Brodbeck (“Brodbeck”), Jorma Maenpaa (“Maenpaa”), Brian McDonald (“MacDonald”), Sergeant Fasoli (“Fasoli”), Michael Rodrigues (“Rodrigues”), Gregory Bedard (“Bedard”), James Thornton (“Thornton”), Shelley Williams (“Williams”), Anthony Mendosa (“Mendosa”), Luis Spencer (“Spencer”) and Thomas Fedel (“Fedel”) (collectively “defendants”), filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. They also filed a motion, along with their co-defendants, to strike affidavits attached in support of plaintiff's opposition to their motion to dismiss. These motions are the subject matter of this memorandum.

         The facts underlying this case were summarized extensively in prior orders of this Court and will not be repeated here. Instead, the Court will assume familiarity with that record and will incorporate and/or supplement additional facts where necessary.

         II. Motion to Strike Affidavits Attached in Support of Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

         A. Legal Standard

         A motion to strike affidavits in whole or in part is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f). Rule 12(f) allows the court to “strike from a pleading . . . any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Motions brought under Rule 12(f) are disfavored and seldom “granted without a showing of prejudice to the moving party.” Sheffield v. City of Boston, No. 15-14174, 2016 WL 6496432, at *1 (D. Mass. Oct. 28, 2016).

         When faced with “repetitious and unnecessary pleadings, ” however, courts have “considerable discretion” to allow 12(f) motions. Zurich Am. Ins. Co. v. Watts Regulator Co., 796 F.Supp.2d 240, 246 (D. Mass. 2011) (quoting In re Feeley, 393 B.R. 43 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2008)). Rule 12(f) may be applied to affidavits in support of pleadings when confronted with a motion to dismiss. Gauthier v. United States, No. 4:10-40116, 2011 WL 3902770, at *11 (D. Mass. Sept. 2, 2011) (citing Pigford v. Veneman, 225 F.R.D. 54, 58 n.8 (D.D.C. 2005)).

         Specifically, courts may strike pleadings that include inadmissible hearsay or lack of personal knowledge under Rule 12(f). See Brookfield Mach., Inc. v. Calbrit Design, 929 F.Supp. 491, 496-97 (D. Mass. 1996) (allowing, in part, motion to strike portions of affidavits that constituted hearsay and contained information of which the affiant had no personal knowledge).

         B. Application

         Plaintiff submitted his own affidavit and five affidavits of fellow inmates in support of his opposition to the motion of the 14 DOC defendants to dismiss. In response, defendants moved to strike 1) the affidavits of the five inmates in their entirety and 2) the portion of plaintiff's affidavit discussing his claimed mental illness because those affidavits contain hearsay and are not based upon the affiants' personal knowledge. That motion is unopposed.

         Those affidavits are considered part of the pleadings and thus Rule 12(f) applies. See Gauthier, 2011 WL 3902770, at *11. Plaintiff properly alleges in his complaint the purported harms, mental illness and legal assistance described in the affidavits. Therefore, the affidavits of the five inmates as well as the portion of plaintiff's affidavit discussing his claimed mental illness, are redundant within the meaning of Rule 12(f). For that reason and because the motion is unopposed, the affidavits will be stricken. See Sheffield, 2016 WL 6496432, at *2-3.

         III. Motion to Dismiss

         A. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain “sufficient factual matter” to state a claim for relief that is actionable as a matter of law and “plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 667 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible if, after accepting as true all non-conclusory factual allegations, the court can draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Ocasio Hernandez v. Fortuno Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A court may not disregard properly pled factual allegations even if actual proof of those facts is improbable. Id. Rather, the relevant inquiry focuses on the reasonableness of the inference of liability that the plaintiff is asking the court to draw. Id. at 13.

         When rendering that determination, a court may not look beyond the facts alleged in the complaint, documents incorporated by reference therein and facts susceptible to judicial notice. Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011); Alt. Energy, Inc. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 267 F.3d 30, 33-34 (1st Cir. 2001) (excluding opposition memorandum and supporting materials unless they are undisputed by the parties or the motion is converted to summary judgment).

         B. Application

         1. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.