Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Provost v. Massachusetts Department of Correction

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

January 12, 2018

THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, STEVEN J. O'BRIEN, Superintendent of the Namansket Correction Center, and THOMAS TURCO III, Commissioner of the Department of Correction



         Plaintiffs Steven Provost and Jason Pike bring this action[1] against defendants Massachusetts Department of Correction (“DOC”), Superintendent of the Namansket Department of Correction, Steven J. O'Brien, and Commissioner of the Department of Correction, Thomas A. Turco III. Plaintiffs contend that defendants violated their right to be free from illegal detention, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and their Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights (Count I). Plaintiff Provost also asserts that defendants violated his civil rights under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 12, § 11I, through threats, intimidation, and coercion (Count II). Docket # 13. Before me now are defendants' motions for summary judgment (Docket # 10), to strike (Docket # 29), and to dismiss Pike's claim (Docket # 31).

         I. Background

         I summarize the relevant facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, the non-moving parties. See Planadeball v. Wyndham Vacation Resorts, Inc., 793 F.3d 169, 172 (1st Cir. 2015).

         A. Superior Court Proceedings Related to Provost

         In March 2008, a jury returned a verdict finding that Provost was a sexually dangerous person. Docket # 12-1, at 30. Subsequently, Provost was committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center at Bridgewater (the “MTC”) “for an indeterminate period of a minimum of one day and a maximum of his natural life until discharged pursuant to the provisions of [Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123A, ] section 9.” Id. On November 19, 2012, Provost filed a petition in the Hampden Superior Court for examination and discharge pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 123A, section 9. Id. at 35. A jury trial was held in April 2016, which concluded on Friday, April 22, 2016, when the jury returned a verdict that Provost was no longer sexually dangerous. Id. at 39. There is a dispute about certain events that transpired after the jury's verdict. Plaintiff asserts that the superior court judge initially allowed his request for immediate release, but that the DOC objected and interfered by informing court officers that Provost had to return to the MTC until correct paperwork relating to Provost's intended residence was submitted to the Sex Offender Registry Board (“SORB”). See Docket # 13, at ¶¶ 29-35; see also Docket # 23-1, at ¶¶ 8-15. Provost had initially submitted to SORB the address of the Southampton Street Shelter as his intended address, but on the last day of trial, he provided DOC counsel with the address of the Boston Rescue Mission. Provost claims that the DOC informed his counsel that it “needed Mr. Provost to remain incarcerated until they had submitted the ‘correct' address of the Boston Rescue Mission in Boston to SORB.” Docket # 23-1, at ¶ 11. Defendants move to strike such assertions because, they contend, these statements are hearsay. In any event, it is undisputed that rather than ordering Provost to be immediately released, the superior court issued an Order of Discharge signed by the session clerk ordering Provost to be “discharged from custody and released from the Massachusetts Treatment Center no later than the end of the business day on Monday April 25, 2016.” Docket # 12-1, at 39. Provost was eventually released on April 25 at approximately noon. Id. at 40.

         B. State Proceedings Related to Pike

         Around 2002, Pike was involuntarily civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 123A, section 9, and he remains committed in the MTC. Like Provost, Pike filed a petition for examination and discharge, and his trial is scheduled to begin on November 4, 2019. Docket # 13, at ¶ 53.

         C. United States District Court Proceedings

         On October 17, 2016, Provost filed his original complaint against defendants in this court. Docket # 1. After several assented-to motions for extension of time to respond, defendants moved for summary judgment on April 11, 2017. Docket # 10. On May 1, 2017, Provost filed an amended complaint, adding Jason Pike as a named plaintiff and clarifying that plaintiffs are suing defendants Turco and O'Brien in their individual capacities. See Docket # 13, at ¶¶ 6-7. In response to plaintiffs' opposition to their motion for summary judgment, defendants moved to strike portions of plaintiffs' statement of undisputed facts and affidavit of Michael Ryan (the “Ryan Affidavit”), who was co-counsel for Provost in the state court proceeding. Docket # 29.

         II. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue is ‘genuine' for purposes of summary judgment if ‘the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ' and a ‘material fact' is one which ‘might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.'” Poulis-Minott v. Smith, 388 F.3d 354, 363 (1st Cir. 2004) (quoting Hayes v. Douglas Dynamics, Inc., 8 F.3d 88, 90 (1st Cir. 1993)). “In order to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the nonmovant may not rest upon some combination of conclusory allegations, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation, but must instead present definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion.” Advanced Flexible Circuits, Inc. v. GE Sensing & Inspection Techs. GmbH, 781 F.3d 510, 516 (1st Cir. 2015).

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), a defendant may move to dismiss an action based on lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. In opposing such motion, the plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the court has jurisdiction. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). “[A] plaintiff, however, may not rest merely on unsupported conclusions or interpretations of law.” Murphy v. United States, 45 F.3d 520, 522 (1st Cir. 1995) (citations omitted). “Dismissal is appropriate where a ‘district court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate' the case.” Seow v. Grondolsky, No. 10-cv-40174-TSH, 2012 WL 5392322 at *1 (quoting Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000)).

         III. ...

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.