United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Blake Sosa, who is incarcerated at MCI Cedar Junction,
commenced this lawsuit on October 24, 2018, alleging that he
is being subjected to excessive force and prolonged solitary
confinement. He further claims that he is not receiving
adequate medical attention and accommodations for his
disabilities. Sosa has also filed a motion for a preliminary
injunction, asking that this Court require the defendants to
use waist chains instead of painful, knuckle-to-knuckle
restraints behind his back when transporting him.
Court has already ordered that a summons issue as to the
Massachusetts Department of Correction (“DOC”)
and that it be served with the complaint and motion for a
preliminary injunction. For the reasons stated below, the
Court will order that summonses issue as to some of the
brings this action against the DOC and 33 past and present
DOC officials, correction officers, and medical providers.
His typed complaint is 52 pages long. Sosa also filed over
300 pages of exhibits. The complaint is in three counts.
Count One is a claim under 42 U.S.C. for violations of the
Eighth and Fourteenth amendments. See Compl.
¶¶ 177-189. Count Two is a claim for violations of
Article I of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. See
id. ¶¶ 190-194. Count Three is a claim under
Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 12131 et seq. (“the ADA”).
See id. ¶¶ 195-215.
Court summarizes the complaint, assuming, for the limited
purpose of this memorandum and order, the veracity of all
well-pled factual allegations and construing them in favor of
has been convicted on multiple counts of aggravated rape and
related offenses. He has been sentenced to over 95 years of
incarceration. Sosa has been in the custody of the DOC since
2001, when he was a pretrial detainee. During that time, he
was found guilty of several disciplinary infractions for
which he was given time in the Department Disciplinary Unit
(“the DDU”). Sosa has been housed in the DDU
since June 6, 2003, and he is scheduled to remain there
indefinitely. While in the DDU, Sosa is held in solitary
confinement, spending 23 or 24 hours a day in his cell.
childhood, Sosa has suffered from attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”) and antisocial
personality disorder. The DOC has recognized that Sosa
suffers from these conditions, and at some point, provided
him effective psychotropic medication for ADHD. However, the
psychotropic treatment has been discontinued despite its
ameliorative effect. Sosa is also subject to sleep
has been suffering from severe degenerative bilateral join
disease in his shoulders for over 20 years. Due to pain in
his right shoulder that did not respond to a cortisone shot,
Sosa underwent surgery in January 2005 for right shoulder
impingement syndrome and osteoarthritis of the AC joint.
Based on his shoulder condition, at some point, medical
officials at MCI Cedar Junction prescribed for him a medical
restriction from behind-the-back cuffing.
25, 2006, Sosa stabbed two guards in an attempt to obtain
their cell keys so that he could get access to a racist
inmate who had attacked him. The same day, the medical
restriction prohibiting cuffing behind the back was
discontinued for security reasons, and it has never been
security precautions concerning Sosa were also immediately
implemented after the July 25, 2006 stabbing. Since that
time, whenever Sosa leaves his cell, he is accompanied by at
least six members of the MCI Cedar Junction tactical response
team outfitted with helmets, stab-proof vest, elbow guards,
shin guards, and a five-foot, one-inch-thick Plexiglas
shield. Sosa is also cuffed everyday behind his back, knuckle
to knuckle. Because of his shoulder injury, this purportedly
causes him extreme agony and worsens his condition. At times,
Sosa misses medical appointments or does not seek medical
care because of the severity of the pain he experiences
during these transfers. Sosa's multiple, informal
complaints and formal grievances to reinstate the medical
restriction of cuffing behind the back have been denied.
physical and mental condition, combined with the lack of
treatment therefor and the conditions of confinement in the
DDU, allegedly is causing him to deteriorate: “Mr. Sosa
is caught in a cycle of irresponsibility by the defendants,
i.e. an untreated mentally ill man with a painful physical
injury, held in solitary, subjected to restraints that cause
further agony and injury.” Compl. ¶ 73.
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, prisoner complaints in civil actions
that seek redress from governmental entities or officers or
employees of governmental entities are subject to a
preliminary screening. See 28 U.S.C. §
1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any claims that
are frivolous or malicious, fail to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b). In conducting this review, the Court
liberally construes Sosa's complaint because he is
proceeding pro se. See Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). The Court also has examined the
exhibits but only where Sosa has made a specific reference to
an exhibit. Further, the Court considers only the content of
an exhibit in conjunction with the corresponding allegation
in the complaint.
Claims under Title II of the ADA
ease of reference, the Court will group the defendants into
two categories. The Court will refer to the DOC and all of
the defendants who are or were employed by the DOC as
“the DOC Defendants.” The Court will refer to
defendant Massachusetts Partnership for Correctional
Healthcare, Inc. (“the MPCH”) and its employees,
past or present, who are defendants in this action as
“the MPCH Defendants.” The MPCH contracts with
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide medical care to
prisoners at DOC facilities, including MCI Cedar Junction.
ADA Claims Against the DOC Defendants
II of the ADA provides that “no qualified individual
with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be
excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of
the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or
be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” 42
U.S.C. § 12132.
statute defines “public entity” to include
“any State or local government” and “any
department, agency, special purpose district, or other
instrumentality of a State . . . or local government.”
42 U.S.C. § 12131(1). An individual sued in his or her
individual capacity is not liable under Title II of the
Americans with Disabilities Act. See Wiesman v.
Hill, 629 F.Supp.2d 106, 112 (D. Mass. 2009). Therefore,