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Langlois v. Pacheco

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 27, 2018

CHAD LANGLOIS, Plaintiff,
v.
MANUEL PACHECO, THOMAS HODGSON, GLEN TABER, and NICHOLAS DRINKWINE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          F. Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge.

         This is a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 arising out of an attack against plaintiff Chad Langlois, then an inmate at the Bristol County House of Corrections, by his cellmate, Manuel Pacheco. The complaint alleges that the Sheriff of Bristol County, Thomas Hodgson, and two corrections officers, Nicholas Drinkwine and Glen Taber, acted with deliberate indifference and disregard for Langlois's health and safety. Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants failed to protect Langlois from imminent attack and harm by moving either Langlois or Pacheco to a different cell or by searching Pacheco for a weapon.

         Defendants Hodgson, Drinkwine, and Taber have moved for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         Except where otherwise noted, the following facts are set forth in the record and are undisputed.

         A. Factual Background

         Between February 21, 2013, and February 14, 2014, Chad Langlois was an inmate at the Bristol County House of Correction (“BCHOC”). (Ds' SUMF ¶ 1; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 10; Ex. 2). While incarcerated at the BCHOC, he acted as a confidential informant for the Special Investigations Unit. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 2; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 54-55). On February 14, 2014, he was transferred from the BCHOC to the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Correction. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 3; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 10-11; Ex. 2). Between February 14, 2014, and December 28, 2016, he was continuously incarcerated at DOC facilities. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 4; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 10-11).

         The Bristol County Sheriff's Office operates the House of Corrections. Thomas Hodgson is the Sheriff of Bristol County. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 6; Dirks Aff. Ex. 3 at No. 2). Corrections officers Glen Taber and Nicholas Drinkwine were employed as sergeants in the BCHOC Special Investigations Unit in 2013. (Ds' SUMF ¶¶ 7-8; Dirks Aff. Ex. 4 at No. 2; Ex. 5 at No. 2; Drinkwine Aff. ¶ 1). Following the birth of his son, Drinkwine left for parental leave on October II, 2013, and did not return until at least November 4, 2013. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 31; Dirks Aff. Ex. 9; Drinkwine Aff. ¶ 8).

         On October 3, 2013, Langlois was transferred to the disciplinary unit at the BCHOC after a report that he made disrespectful comments to a nurse. (Ds' SUMF ¶¶ 9-11; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 46-50; Ex. 2). Manuel Pacheco was assigned to be his cellmate. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 12; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 21-22). In the week prior to the assault, Langlois wrote a letter to Steven Sousa, the Superintendent of BCHOC, requesting help resolving his disciplinary issue in exchange for continuing to act as an informant. (Pl.'s SMF ¶ 6; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 69-71, 138-139; Pavlos Aff. Ex. 5). The letter stated that Langlois had information about knives in the unit and requested a meeting with Taber. He did not, however, mention Pacheco or any specific threat. (Dirks Aff. Ex. 7).

         Langlois testified that he sent the same letter to Taber. (Pl.'s SMF ¶ 6; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 69-71, 138-139; Pavlos Aff. Ex. 5). He further testified that Taber met with him personally after receiving the letter, and that he told Taber during that meeting that he was scared of Pacheco. (Pl.'s SMF ¶ 6; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 76-78, 83-84).

         On October 15 and October 17, 2013, Langlois filed two grievances, one about a canteen issue and one about his disciplinary matter. (Ds' SUMF ¶¶ 61-62; Dirks Aff. Exs. 12 & 13). Neither grievance mentioned Pacheco, a weapon, or any threat to his safety. (Id.)

         Langlois testified that on October 19, 2013, he met with Taber again, and told him that he knew his cellmate had a knife. (Pl.'s SMF ¶¶ 7-8; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 81, 84).

         On October 21, 2013, Pacheco attacked Langlois while he was asleep, repeatedly stabbing him with a shank. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 44; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 103; Pl.'s SMF ¶ 9; Pavlos Aff. Ex. 7 at No. 3). He was taken to Saint Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, where his injuries were treated. (Ds' SUMF ¶¶ 46-47; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 104-06). He suffered numerous lacerations and blood loss as a result of the attack, and contends that he subsequently has suffered head trauma, nerve damage, PTSD, panic attacks, headaches, and loss of sleep. (Pl.'s SMF ¶ 15; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 117; Pavlos Aff. Ex. 2 at No. 13).[1]

         On October 31, 2013, Langlois filed a grievance about the loss of items of personal property that went missing during his October 21, 2013 hospitalization. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 63; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 115-16; Ex. 14).

         Langlois did not file a grievance concerning Pacheco, any risk that defendants failed to address, the injuries he sustained from the assault, or the fact that the assault occurred. (Ds' SUMF ¶ 65). Although he was familiar with the grievance procedures, he did not think he could grieve defendants' failure to protect him from Pacheco or the fact of the assault itself. (Pl.'s SMF ¶¶ 13-14; Dirks Aff. Ex. 1 at 116).

         B. Procedu ...


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