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Case Name Doe v. Patrick CJ-MA-0001
Docket / Court 1:14-cv-12813-DPW ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Prison Conditions
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On June 30, 2014, women civilly committed to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham (MCI Framingham) under Chapter 123, section 35 of Massachusetts law, filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Massachusetts. They sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction, ... read more >
On June 30, 2014, women civilly committed to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham (MCI Framingham) under Chapter 123, section 35 of Massachusetts law, filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the District of Massachusetts. They sued the Massachusetts Department of Correction, under 42 U.S.C § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Represented by Prisoners Legal Services Inc., the ACLU of Massachusetts, and private counsel, they sought a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing the Massachusetts Department of Correction from placing civilly committed women in MCI Framingham instead of an in-patient treatment facility. They sought to represent a class of others like them--women civilly committed because of drug and alcohol dependence who were placed in MCI Framingham alongside criminal inmates and without the facilities necessary for proper treatment of their disorders.

On August 12, 2014, the Court (Judge Douglas P. Woodcock) granted plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Motion to Certify Class. In that motion, plaintiffs named the class to be represented as “All women who are now or will be civilly held at MCI-Framingham based solely on an order under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 123, Section 35." On January 13, 2015, plaintiff’s certification motion was granted. Plaintiffs then filed an amended complaint on January 27, 2015 to include the complaints of seven other “Jane Does” and to drop allegations of violations of parts of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

On January 21, 2016 the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to amend Section 35 practices. Four days later, Governor Baker signed the bill into law, enacting the Women's Recovery from Addictions Program. The law provided civilly committed women with alternative treatment options outside of prison.

On May 2, 2016, that year, the state moved to dismiss, alleging that the the controversy and class no longer existed. On June 10, the court denied the motion to dismiss on the basis that the court was not in the position to determine mootness because the plaintiff requested injunctive relief. The court suggested the plaintiffs amend their complaint again to request declaratory judgment as the preferred remedy.

On July 15, 2016, the plaintiffs submitted a reply to the court's order to amend and expressed an intention to file a motion for summary judgment based on the amended statute. The parties did not agree on what the next steps should be, but nothing more was filed for about two years. On March 31, 2018, Judge Woodlock entered an order, in which he explained:
The landscape of this certified class action was transformed by the amendment of Mass. Gen Laws ch. 123, sec. 35, which the plaintiffs had challenged to the degree it provided a basis for civil commitments to MCI-Framingham. The defendants take the position that in the wake of the amendment all such commitments have ceased and that there are no plans to make such commitments in the future. The parties, however, have continued to circle each other suspiciously. The defendants seek dismissal of the case based upon their statement of present intention; the plaintiffs seek a judgment interpreting sec. 35 as amended to prevent civil commitments to MCI-Framingham as a matter of law irrespective of the stated present intentions of the relevant state actors. There have been no submissions in almost two years to suggest that there is any foreseeable circumstance in which civil commitments to MCI-Framingham may be undertaken. This case lacks the type of foreseeable concrete injury that would support any relief the plaintiffs might successfully seek. It is plainly moot. Nevertheless, given the defendants' studied refusal to concede that sec. 35 categorically bars any civil commitments to MCI-Framingham, prudence - not to mention this court's duty to protect the inchoate interests of class members - requires making explicit that this dismissal is without prejudice to any future litigation challenging civil commitments to MCI-Framingham should they ever resume. Accordingly, the Clerk is directed to enter a judgment dismissing this case without prejudice.

Steve Vnuk - 09/25/2014
Frances Hollander - 02/21/2016
Chelsea Rinnig - 02/14/2018
- 05/20/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Mental impairment
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
Commitment procedure
Conditions of confinement
Over/Unlawful Detention
Placement in detention facilities
Strip search policy
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
State law
Defendant(s) Massachusetts
Plaintiff Description Women civilly committed under section 35 to Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Framingham.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Jail Strip-Search Cases: Patterns and Participants
Date: Spring 2008
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University in St. Louis Faculty)
Citation: 71 Law & Contemp. Problems 65 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

1:14-cv-12813 (D. Mass.)
CJ-MA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-MA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 54]
CJ-MA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/27/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Case as Moot Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) [ECF# 86]
CJ-MA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/02/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Response to the Court's June 13th Docket Entry [ECF# 94]
CJ-MA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/24/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Woodlock, Douglas Preston (D. Mass.)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fleischner, Robert D. (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Lee, William F. (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-0004 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Miller, Samuel Rand (New York)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Pingeon, James R. (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Pirozzolo, Lisa J. (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-0004 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Rossman, Jessie J. (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-0004 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Segal, Matthew (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-0004 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Staub, Sandra J. (Connecticut)
Tenneriello, Bonita (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Thompson, Sean K. (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0001 | CJ-MA-0001-0002 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bertram, Bryan F (Massachusetts)
CJ-MA-0001-0003 | CJ-MA-0001-9000
Cohen, Michael H. (Massachusetts)
D'Angelo, Dennis N (Massachusetts)
Healey, Maura T. (Massachusetts)
Lee, Kenneth Y (Massachusetts)
Saltzman, William D (Massachusetts)
Stephan, John Michael (Massachusetts)

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