United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
L. CABELL, U.S.M.J.
inmate Jason Schultz has brought a pro se action against two
of the prison's medical providers, Dr. Van Nguyen and
Jessica Roy, for failing to provide him with adequate medical
care. The defendants move to dismiss (D. 31).
For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss will
allegations in the amended complaint are taken as true for
purposes of the motion to dismiss. The plaintiff is serving a
prison term at MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole, Massachusetts.
(Amended Complaint [Complaint] at ¶ 2). Ms. Roy is the
Mental Health Director at the prison and Dr. Van Nguyen is a
staff psychiatrist there. (Id. at ¶ 11, 26).
2008, defendant Van Nguyen and another staff psychiatrist
named Earl Maruccio examined the plaintiff and diagnosed him
with manic bipolar disorder. (Id. at ¶¶
32). In 2014, they re-diagnosed, and also misdiagnosed the
plaintiff with anti-social personality disorder, anti-anxiety
disorder, steroid disorder and tobacco disorder.
(Id. at ¶¶ 4, 32). The plaintiff was
placed in solitary confinement as a result of this
misdiagnosis/misclassification, as well as because of false
reports filed by (other) Department of Correction officials
regarding his behavior. (Id. at ¶ 4).
his time on the seclusion ward, defendant Roy approved a
false report written by Elizabeth Meffen, the Director of
Clinical Services, which falsely indicated that Schultz had
been provided a “bed-roll” and a “book of
my choice.” Defendant Roy (and Meffen) also deprived
the plaintiff of rehabilitative and educational services
contrary to the policy of the DOC and the
Corrective-Care-Solutions (CCS), a corporation contracted by
the DOC. This deprivation in turn impaired the
plaintiff's ability to shorten his sentence by earning
good-time credits. Defendant Roy (and Meffen) also deprived
the plaintiff of his access to personal and legal mail, legal
counsel via telephone, outside recreation time, hygiene
items, and assistance with using the law library and
resources contained within. (Id. at ¶ 65).
addition, in January 2017, defendants Van Nguyen and Roy
reclassified the plaintiff as “severely mentally
ill.” (Id. at ¶ 59). As a result of this
reclassification, officials moved the plaintiff to the
Behavioral Management Unit (BMU) on March 8, 2017.
(Id.). While in the BMU, defendant Roy and others
reduced the plaintiff's
“earned-sentence-reduction” from ten days a month
and twenty days for program completion, to five days a month
and ten days upon completion. (Id. at ¶ 74).
Defendant Roy and others aloso minimized the plaintiff's
ability to reduce his sentence by only allowing him to enroll
in one “spectrum services program” at a time, and
by creating requirements for the plaintiff's treatment
that were unrealistic for someone with his medical history to
complete. (Id. at ¶ 75-76). The complaint also
appears to allege that defendant Roy along with others denied
the plaintiff access to educational and rehabilitative
programing while he was in the BMU. (Id. at ¶
Specific Claims Against The Defendants
IV of the amended complaint alleges that the defendants acted
with “deliberate indifference to [the plaintiff's]
serious mental health needs, ” and failed “to
accommodate a serious disability.” Although listed as a
single count, Count IV asserts three claims, for (1)
violation of the plaintiff's First, Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2)
violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and (3) violation of section
504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794.
ruling on a motion to dismiss brought under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), the court must accept as true all well-pleaded
facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff. See Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness Holding
Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007) (citing Rogan
v. Menino, 175 F.3d 75, 77 (1st Cir. 1999)). The court
is “not bound, however, to credit ‘bald
assertions, unsupportable conclusions, and opprobrious
epithets' woven into the fabric of the complaint.”
In re Colonial Mortgage Bankers Corp., 324 F.3d 12,
15 (1st Cir. 2003) (quoting Chongris v. Bd. Of
Appeals, 811 F.2d 36, 37 (1st Cir. 1987)). Dismissal is
appropriate if the complaint fails to allege a
“plausible entitlement to relief.”
Rodriguez-Ortiz v. Caribe, 490 F.3d 92, 95 (1st Cir.
2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 559 (2007)). Where, as here, the plaintiff is proceeding
pro se, the complaint will be construed liberally,
and will “only be dismissed for failure to state a
claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove
no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976) (internal quotation omitted).
the liberal notice pleading standard established by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), a plaintiff is required to submit “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant
fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(quotations, citation, and punctuation omitted). Accordingly,
“[p]laintiffs only are obliged to set forth in their
complaint ‘factual allegations either direct or
inferential, regarding each material element necessary to
sustain recovery under some actionable legal theory.”
Raytheon Co. v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 123 F.Supp.2d
22, 26-27 (D. Mass. 2000) (quoting Gooley v. Mobil Oil
Corp., 851 F.2d 513, 515 (1st Cir. 1988)). “While
a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(internal punctuation and citations omitted). Accordingly,
the factual allegations “must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact).” Id. (citations omitted).