University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Battista v. Clarke PC-MA-0037
Docket / Court 05-cv-11456-DPW ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
Case Summary
On July 8, 2005, a civilly commited individual with a diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in the Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC) filed a pro se lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Massachusetts Department of Corrections and ... read more >
On July 8, 2005, a civilly commited individual with a diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder (GID) in the Massachusetts Treatment Center (MTC) filed a pro se lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Massachusetts Department of Corrections and the University of Massachusetts Correctional Health Program. The plaintiff asked the court for declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief, claiming violations of the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Claus, Equal Protection Clause, and the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. In addition, the plaintiff claimed violations of state law.

Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that for three years the defendants had withheld prescribed treatment for GID for security reasons. The prescribed treatment included psychotherapy, hormone treatment, laser hair removal, and access to feminine clothing and products from the DOC's canteen. The withholding of treatment caused the plaintiff emotional and physical pain. The plaintiff wanted declaratory and injunctive relief along with compensatory damages.

On July 8, 2005, the plaintiff moved for a temporary restraining order to get basic treatment while the case was ongoing. On March 22, 2006, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock appointing counsel to the plaintiff and denying the temporary restraining order; Judge Woodlock also granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the University of Massachusetts Correctional Medical Health Program. 2006 WL 1581528. On January 10, 2008, Judge Woodlock ordered a separate and final judgment in favor of the University of Massachusetts Correctional Health Program. The same day, the plaintiff filed a first amended complaint.

On August 6, 2008, the plaintiff again moved for a preliminary injunction, asking for treatment. On December 9, 2008, Judge Woodlock granted this request for preliminary injunction, requiring defendants to provide the plaintiff with a GID treatment plan set forth in the order to be implemented by the DOC's mental health service provider and medical service provider. He also issued a memorandum outlining resolution of certain issues in connection with the plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction. 2008 WL 11340291.

On February 10, 2009 Judge Woodlock issued another opinion regarding preliminary injunction noting the "passive aggressive" nature of the defendants, and clarifying the requirement of the clinicians to use their best judgment for treatment. 2009 WL 10675279. A bench trial began on June 14, 2010.

On August 23, 2010, Judge Woodlock issued a modified preliminary injunction order again requiring hormone therapy to begin shortly. 2010 WL 11527104. On August 26, 2010, defendants appealed this order, citing the security concerns that underpin its refusal to administer hormone therapy and contesting the finding of deliberate indifference on their part. On May 23, 2011, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Massachusetts officials were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of civil detainee or exercised an unreasonable professional judgment by denying her female hormone therapy. 645 F.3d 449 (1st Cir., 2011).

On July 11, 2011, Judge Woodlock issued the final judgment and order, replacing the preliminary injunctions, and the civil case was terminated. The order required the DOC to ensure that the medical and mental health services providers implemented the treatment provisions set out in the order, including providing the plaintiff with female hormone therapy, continued psychotherapy sessions, and access to feminine clothing and products from the DOC's canteen. In addition, the DOC had to continue to house the plaintiff in a single cell in the general population at the treatment center. The DOC was allowed to implement additional security measures deemed necessary to provide for Battista's personal safety within the general population. 2011 WL 3511037.

On August 4, 2011, the plaintiff made a motion for attorneys' fees, which the defendants opposed. This motion was never ruled upon.

The court was notified on March 28, 2014 that the plaintiff was released from the Department of Corrections custody on March 20, 2014. The plaintiff still has representation in the court, but there have been no other developments and the case seems to be closed.

Jessica Kincaid - 11/25/2013
Will McCartney - 03/14/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Medical/Mental Health
Medication, administration of
Mental health care, general
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Massachusetts Department of Corrections
University of Massachusetts Correctional Medical Health Program
Plaintiff Description Prisoner with Gender Identity Disorder in the Massachusetts state prison system.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2008 - 2011
Filing Year 2005
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
Date: May 2006
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University Faculty)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
Book
Date: Jan. 1, 1998
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:05−cv−11456 (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Complaint [ECF# 3]
PC-MA-0037-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/08/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 42] (2006 WL 1581528) (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/22/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 81]
PC-MA-0037-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/10/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 119] (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction Order [ECF# 120] (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 128] (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/10/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Modified Preliminary Injunction Order [ECF# 223] (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/23/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [Ct. of App. ECF# 244]
PC-MA-0037-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/20/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appellate Court Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 243] (645 F.3d 449)
PC-MA-0037-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/23/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment and Order [ECF# 256] (2011 WL 3511037) (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 07/11/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boudin, Michael (D.D.C., First Circuit)
PC-MA-0037-0008
Souter, David Hackett Court not on record
PC-MA-0037-0008
Stahl, Norman H. (D.N.H., First Circuit)
PC-MA-0037-0008
Woodlock, Douglas Preston (D. Mass.)
PC-MA-0037-0003 | PC-MA-0037-0004 | PC-MA-0037-0005 | PC-MA-0037-0007 | PC-MA-0037-0009 | PC-MA-0037-0010 | PC-MA-0037-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers McSherry, Dana M. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-0002 | PC-MA-0037-9000
Minahan, Neal E. Jr. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-0002 | PC-MA-0037-9000
Sheng, Ada Y. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-0002 | PC-MA-0037-9000
Smith-Lee, Emily E. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-0002 | PC-MA-0037-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Kennedy, Joan T. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-9000
McFarland, Richard C. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-9000
O'Shea, Stephen M. (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-9000
Other Lawyers Hughes, Stephen E (Massachusetts)
PC-MA-0037-9000

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