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Madison v. Cruz

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 13, 2019

TIMOTHY CRUZ, et al., Defendants.



         Linanel Brown Madison (“Plaintiff”) asserts several claims against various Defendants for retaliation after it was revealed that he worked as an informant for law enforcement officials. Relevant to this motion, he brings claims against Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald (“Defendant McDonald”) in his official and individual capacities for violation of his Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights by failing to provide for Plaintiff's safety (Count VI)[1], negligent hiring, training, and supervision (Counts XIX, XXI), vicarious liability for assault and battery (Count XXV), and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count XXXI). Defendant McDonald has moved to dismiss all claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). (Docket No. 24). For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part.


          The factual background is taken from Plaintiff's Complaint (Docket No. 1) and assumed to be true at this stage of the litigation.

         Prior to 2015, Plaintiff worked as an informant for the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office (“PCDAO”), the Massachusetts State Police, and the Brockton Police. On July 5, 2015, Defendants Bradley and Cruz revealed to the Boston Globe Plaintiff's identity as an informant and his activities as such.

         When the Boston Globe article was published, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Essex County Correctional Facility (“ECCF”). After the article was published, other inmates continually harassed Plaintiff, threw urine on him, placed feces in his food, and assaulted him, which resulted in a black eye and abrasions on his face. Plaintiff was subsequently placed in solitary confinement and, upon rejoining the general population, was again assaulted.

         Thereafter, Plaintiff was transferred to the Plymouth County Correction Facility (“PCCF”) where he was again attacked by other inmates. Plaintiff continues to experience blurred vision, difficulties concentrating, migraines, insomnia, and anxiety as a result of the attacks.

         Defendant McDonald is the Sheriff of Plymouth County. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant McDonald failed to protect him from other prisoners while he was in custody at the PCCF.

         Legal Standards

          1. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), a defendant may move to dismiss an action for lack of federal subject matter jurisdiction. “The party invoking the jurisdiction of a federal court carries the burden of proving its existence.” Murphy v. United States, 45 F.3d 520, 522 (1st Cir. 1995). To determine if the burden has been met, a court “take[s] as true all well-pleaded facts in the plaintiffs' complaints, scrutinize[s] them in the light most hospitable to the plaintiffs' theory of liability, and draw[s] all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiffs' favor.” Fothergill v. United States, 566 F.3d 248, 251 (1st Cir.2009).

         2. Rule 12(b)(6)

         A defendant may also move to dismiss, based solely on the complaint, for the plaintiff's “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege “a plausible entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 559, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). Although detailed factual allegations are not necessary to survive a motion to dismiss, the standard “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955. “The relevant inquiry focuses on the reasonableness of the inference of liability that the plaintiff is asking the court to draw from the facts alleged in the complaint.” Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 13 (1st Cir. 2011).

         In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Langadinos v. American Airlines, Inc., 199 F.3d 68, 68 (1st Cir. 2000). It is a “context-specific task” to determine “whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief, ” one that “requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009) (internal citations omitted). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). On the other hand, a court may not disregard properly pled factual allegations, “even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955.

         Because Plaintiff appears pro se, we construe his pleadings more favorably than we would those drafted by an attorney. See Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197 (2007). Nevertheless, Plaintiff's pro-se status does not excuse him from complying with procedural and ...

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