United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Stephen Stone, who is presently confined at
the Norfolk County Jail, has filed a civil rights complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“§ 1983”) in
which he complains that his Eighth Amendment rights were
violated while he was confined at the Worcester County Jail
and House of Correction (“Worcester County HOC”
or “Jail”) beginning in August 2015. He alleges
that the medical treatment he received at the facility for
his serious mental health issues was below the level of care
required by the Constitution. Upon a preliminary screening of
the Amended Complaint [ECF No. 9 (“Amended
Complaint”)], pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court ordered that all official
capacity claims be dismissed and that summonses issue as to
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis and Dr. Bernard
Katz. [ECF No. 14]. These Defendants have separately moved to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure (“Rule 12(b)(6)”) for failure to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted. [ECF Nos. 20, 30].
For the reasons stated below, the Defendants' motions are
following facts are drawn from the Amended Complaint. For
purposes of evaluating a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court will, as
it must, “accept all well-pled facts in the complaint
as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff.” Gilbert v. City of Chicopee, 915
F.3d 74, 80 (1st Cir. 2019).
Stone's Mental Health History and the Policy Prohibiting
has suffered from anxiety and other serious mental health
issues since he was five years old. Am. Compl. ¶ 8.
Prior to his incarceration at the Worcester County HOC, his
mental illness was being effectively treated by the
prescription medication Klonopin, to which Stone responded
“very well.” Id. In 2009-2010, during a
period of incarceration in the Worcester County HOC previous
to the one at issue in this action, defendant Katz, who
worked at the facility as a contracted doctor, had prescribed
Klonopin for Stone and was aware of his medical needs.
Id. At the time, Evangelidis was not the sheriff of
Worcester County. Id. After Evangelidis was elected
sheriff, he instituted a new medication policy which included
a prohibition of the prescription of Klonopin to inmates
(“the Policy”). Id.
August 17, 2015, after the election of Evangelidis, Stone was
brought to the Worcester County HOC. Id. ¶ 9.
At intake, Stone was not provided Klonopin due to the Policy.
Id. During his stay at the Jail, Stone
“continuously” asked Katz for Klonopin, and Katz
responded that he was no longer able to provide that
particular prescription medication due to the Policy.
mental health rapidly deteriorated because he did not have
access to Klonopin. Id. Between August 2015 and
August 2016, he cut himself more than once, and employees of
the Worcester County HOC were aware of at least two or three
of these incidents. Id. ¶ 10. He also had
numerous mental health breakdowns. Id.
Stone's Self-Suicide Attempts: August 2016-January
August 16, 2016, Stone attended a court proceeding at the
Norfolk Superior Court. Id. ¶ 12. He had
surreptitiously brought a razor with him from the Worcester
County HOC. Id. ¶ 11. After the proceeding,
when employees of the Worcester County HOC were present to
transport him back to the institution, Stone attempted
suicide by cutting his arm with the razor. Id.
¶ 12. He was taken by ambulance to Norwood Hospital.
October 19, 2016, when Stone was brought to Malden District
Court, he had a mental breakdown after court security refused
him access to the building. Id. ¶ 13. In
reaction to his visible emotional instability, Worcester
County HOC transport officers tackled him on the pavement
outside of the courthouse. Id. After they placed him
in the back of the facility's van, he began to bang his
head and kick the cage because of his emotionally unstable
condition. Id. Aware of this conduct, the transport
officers called the Worcester County HOC to notify officials
of the situation, ask for permission to leave without waiting
for another inmate, and request leave to use flashing blue
lights while transporting Stone back to the Jail.
Id. During the return trip to the Jail, the two
transport officers failed to monitor Stone. Id.
¶ 14. Their view of Stone was obstructed by an American
flag that someone had hung over the observation window.
Id. During this ride, Stone attempted suicide by
tying a “thermo” around his neck. Id.
When the van arrived at the Worcester County HOC, Stone was
blue in the face and barely conscious. Id. A
correctional officer cut off the thermo, and Stone was taken
to a hospital for emergency treatment. Id.
around November 26, 2016, Stone attempted suicide in a
“camera cell” at the Jail by tying a sheet around
his neck. Id. ¶ 16. When correctional officers
entered the cell, Stone was “semi-unresponsive”
and required an oxygen mask and an injection to lower his
pulse and breathing. Id. On January 22, 2017, Stone
cut his wrists open with a razor after he was denied access
to the phone. Id. ¶ 20. He was taken to a
hospital, where he received stitches and was informed he had
cut his tendon. Id.
Amended Complaint sets forth three § 1983 claims for
violations of the Eighth Amendment: Katz's refusal to
prescribe Klonopin because of the Policy; Evangelidis's
implementation and enforcement of the Policy; and, the
failure of the transport officers on October 19, 2016 ...