United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON DEFENDANT CRUZ'S MOTION
TO DISMISS (DOCKET NO. 52)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE.
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 District Attorney for Plymouth County, Timothy
Cruz (“Defendant Cruz”), for violation of his
Fourteenth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment,  negligence, negligent infliction of
emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress for revealing to the Boston Globe his identity as an
informant, failing to intervene or prevent Defendant Bradley
from revealing the same information, and subsequently failing
to notify prison officials of the risk to his safety.
Cruz has moved to dismiss all claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). (Docket No. 52). For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's motion is granted
in part and denied in part.
factual background is taken from Plaintiff's Complaint
(Docket No. 1) and assumed to be true at this stage of the
litigation. The Court will also consider facts susceptible of
judicial notice that “can be accurately and readily
determined from sources whose accuracy cannot be reasonably
be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b).
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.
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.
Plaintiff was transferred to the Plymouth County Correction
Facility (“PCCF”) where he was again attacked by
inmates. Plaintiff continues to experience blurred vision,
difficulties concentrating, migraines, insomnia, and anxiety.
Court will take judicial notice of the fact that Defendant
Bradley was fired as a Plymouth Assistant District Attorney
on September 28, 2012, almost three years before the events
giving rise to this ligation. See Bradley v. Cruz,
2017 WL 1197700, at *4 (D. Mass. Mar. 30, 2017) (“[O]n
September 28, [2012, ] Horan summoned Bradley to his office
at Cruz's behest and asked Bradley to resign. When
Bradley refused, Horan said he was fired.”).
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).
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.
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 substantive
law. See Ahmed v. Rosenblatt, 118 F.3d 886, 890 (1st
Official Capacity Claims
Claims for Monetary Damages
as Plaintiff's seeks monetary relief for his claims
against Defendant Cruz in his official capacity, they must be
dismissed. Such official capacity suits “generally
represent only another way of pleading an action against an
entity of which an officer is an agent” and is
therefore “to be treated as a suit against the
entity.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,
165-66, 105 S.Ct. 3099 (1985) (citations omitted).
Accordingly, official capacity suits are subject to the
Eleventh Amendment, which bars suits for damages brought by
individuals in Federal Court, absent lawful Congressional
abrogation or consent of the state. Seminole Tribe of
Fla. V. Fla., 517 U.S. 44, 54-71116 S.Ct. 1114 (1996).
Cruz, in his official capacity, is not amenable to suit for
damages pursuant to Section 1983. See Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 65, 109 S.Ct.
2304 (1989) (“[A] state is not a ‘person'
within the meaning of § 1983.”);
Nieves-Marquez v. Puerto Rico, 353 F.3d 108, 124
(1st Cir. 2003) (“No cause of action for damages is
stated under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a state, its
agency, or its officials acting in an official
capacity.”); Destek Grp., Inc. v. State of New
Hampshire Publ. Utilities Comm'n, 318 F.3d 32, 40
(1st Cir. 2003) (“[N]either a state agency nor a state
official acting in his official capacity may be sued for
damages in a § 1983 action.”).
addition, Plaintiff's state law claims against Defendant
Cruz in his official capacity are also barred. The
Commonwealth has not waived its immunity for intentional
torts. See Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 258, § 10(c).
Although the Commonwealth has partially waived its immunity
for non-intentional torts, that waiver only applies in state,
not federal court. See Id. § 2; Caisse v.
DuBois, 346 F.3d 213, 218 (1st Cir. 2003) (“By
enacting the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, the Commonwealth
has not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity to suit in
federal court.” (citation omitted)); see also
Atascadero State Hosp. v. Scanion, 473 U.S. 234, 241,
105 S.Ct. 3142 (1985) (“[I]n order for a state ...