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Tague v. Holmes

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 8, 2017

JOHN TAGUE, Plaintiff,
v.
EMILY HOLMES, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge.

         This case arises out of a dispute concerning the treatment of plaintiff's health problems in a Massachusetts correctional facility. The pro se plaintiff, John Tague, claims that, during his incarceration at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, healthcare personnel failed to provide him with satisfactory medical care in violation of 1) Article 26 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights through the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (“the MCRA”), M.G.L. c. 12 § 11H and 11I and 2) the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution through 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff also alleges that defendants threatened and intimated him in violation of the MCRA.

         The following motions are pending before the Court:

1) Plaintiff's motion to remand (Docket No. 10),
2) Plaintiff's motion to amend his motion to remand (Docket No. 24),
3) Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint (Docket No. 23),
4) Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel (Docket No. 56),
5) Plaintiff's motion to clarify the jurisdictional statement (Docket No. 13),
6) Defendants' motion to dismiss (Docket No. 16) and
7) Plaintiff's motion to allow service to be considered complete (Docket No. 25).

         I. Background

         The pro se plaintiff, John Tague, is serving a life sentence in a Massachusetts correctional facility and is currently incarcerated at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. During the events at issue, he was incarcerated at Old Colony Correctional Center (“OCCC”) in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

         Defendants are various employees of the Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional Health (“MPCH”), a private contractor that provides health services to inmates in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. Defendant Khiem Tran is a medical doctor, defendants Paul Caratazzola and Emily Holmes are Health Services Administrators and defendant Linda Farag is the Grievance and Appeals Coordinator.

         During his incarceration, plaintiff was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a progressive neurological disorder that eventually incapacitates the body's extremities and spinal column and often results in foot deformities and mobility issues. Plaintiff submits that, due to that disease, he has high arches, claw toes and requires a wheelchair, although he is occasionally able to use a walker.

         Plaintiff claims that numerous physicians, including Drs. Enau, Angel and Hameed, and nurse practitioner Linda Rosa have prescribed narcotics, such as morphine, methadone, klonopin and gabapentin, for the pain that results from his condition. According to plaintiff, those healthcare providers ruled out pain killers such as Tylenol and ibuprofen because they are ineffective. His morphine prescription was last renewed by Dr. Hameed in September, 2015.

         In October, 2015, Dr. Khiem Tran began treating plaintiff. Dr. Tran reduced plaintiff's morphine use and then used a tapering schedule to end it altogether. As of January, 2016, plaintiff's pain was being treated with amitriptyline (a nerve pain medication), carbamazepine (a nerve pain medication), baclofen (a muscle relaxer) and acetaminophen (a pain medication). Three months later, Dr. Tran prescribed tegretol (a nerve pain medication), amitriptyline (a nerve pain medication), Tylenol and indomethacin (a pain medication) to treat plaintiff's pain.

         After his morphine prescription was terminated, plaintiff filed a grievance with MPCH in October, 2015 and defendant Caratazzola responded one month later. Plaintiff appealed the denial of his grievance and alleges that defendant Farag disposed of his appeal in an improper manner

by slyly merging a letter Tague wrote to her of only one page AFTER he submitted his appeal, ...

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