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Ouellette v. Kennebec Behavioral Health

United States District Court, D. Maine

January 7, 2015




John C. Nivison, United States Magistrate Judge.

In this action, Plaintiff Daniel Ouellette, proceeding pro se, alleges that Kennebec Behavioral Health, and some if its employees or agents, violated his civil rights and discriminated against him.

Plaintiff filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis, which application the Court granted. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a preliminary review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. Following the review, I recommend that the Court dismiss Plaintiff's complaint without requiring service of the complaint.

Standard of Review

When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis, " the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines, " inter alia, that the action is " frivolous or malicious" or " fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). " Dismissals [under 28 U.S.C. § 1915] are often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense of answering such complaints." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324, 109 S.Ct. 1827, 104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989); see also Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Ct. S.D. Iowa, 490 U.S. 296, 307-308 (1989), 109 S.Ct. 1814, 104 L.Ed.2d 318 (" Section 1915(d), for example, authorizes courts to dismiss a 'frivolous or malicious' action, but there is little doubt they would have power to do so even in the absence of this statutory provision.").

When considering whether a complaint states a claim for which relief may be granted, a court must assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuño-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). " The relevant question ... in assessing plausibility is not whether the complaint makes any particular factual allegations but, rather, whether 'the complaint warrant[s] dismissal because it failed in toto to render plaintiffs' entitlement to relief plausible.'" Rodrí guez-Reyes v. Molina-Rodrí guez, 711 F.3d 49, 55 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n. 14). Although a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to " less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, " Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of " conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant legal standard, " Young v. Wells Fargo, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013). See also Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro se plaintiffs " is not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a claim").

Factual Background

The facts set forth herein are derived from the factual allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint, which facts are deemed true when evaluating the Motion to Dismiss.[1] Beddall v. State St. Bank & Trust Co., 137 F.3d 12, 16 (1st Cir. 1998).

Plaintiff asserts that in June 2013, while homeless and suffering from an untreated mental disability, he applied for services with Defendant Kennebec Behavioral Health (KBH). KBH provides mental health therapy, medication services and vocational rehabilitation. Plaintiff alleges that when he sought the services, he had to undergo an " extensive, redundant intake and admission process." (Compl. ¶ ¶ 1-2.) Following a five-hour intake process with KBH, Plaintiff allegedly received a diagnosis " in support of preconceived clinical decision to deny and deprive [him of] historically prescribed and effective medication." (Id. ¶ 7.) Thereafter, Defendants delayed two weeks before addressing Plaintiff's request that certain adverse effects of medication be addressed. (Id. ¶ 9.) He complains that the delay in services caused him to experience difficulties with the law, which included the imposition of a probationary sentence in July 2013 for undisclosed conduct. (Id. ¶ 5.)

In November 2013, Defendants granted Plaintiff " membership" in KBH's Looking Ahead Clubhouse, a " work rehabilitative model." (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff alleges that he had a " contract" to receive such " job development/placement services in support employment." (Id.) He contends that an adjustment in his medication caused him to suffer a " relapse in abuse of illicit substance, " which apparently resulted in Plaintiff's termination from the program in January 2014. (Id. ¶ ¶ 13, 15.) Plaintiff's membership in the Clubhouse program was reinstated through a " graduated sanction agreement contract, " which Plaintiff maintains exacerbated his symptoms. (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff complains of " error and defamation" because he was not suffering from addiction at that time. (Id.) In February 2014, a KBH agent contacted Plaintiff's probation officer, allegedly to retaliate against grievance activity. (Id. ¶ 16.)

Plaintiff subsequently applied for employment with KBH in its Looking Ahead Clubhouse, but was denied employment with an explanation that the application " could not be considered due to Plaintiff Applicants [sic] Gender & Disability." (Id. ¶ 20.) After a two week absence from the program due to shock and devastation, Plaintiff returned to KBH for services. (Id. ¶ 21.) According to Plaintiff, however, employees of the program turned on him because of his ability to complete their work tasks for them. (Id. ¶ 22.) The employees' conduct exacerbated Plaintiff's symptoms, which generated the need for additional psychiatric services. Plaintiff asserts that the services were not helpful. (Id. ¶ ¶ 22-24.) He also contends that the doctor who provided the services called KBH regarding Plaintiff's relationship with a student intern, which call undermined the relationship. Additionally, as the result of Plaintiff's subsequent grievance, KBH's agents interfered with the relationship and threatened to remove Plaintiff from the program if he persisted in grievance activity. (Id. ¶ 25-26.) After Plaintiff contacted the Maine Department of Human Services and the Disability Rights Center, KBH's agent assisted him with the filing of a grievance dated April 10, 2014. (Id. ¶ ¶ 27-28.)

On April 18, two days after Plaintiff visited the clubhouse with a female friend, " someone called [his] probation officer stating [Plaintiff] was home using drugs with a prostitute." (Id. ¶ 31.) Plaintiff did not return to the clubhouse for more than a week and then only did so to work on another grievance based on defamation that he discovered in his records. (Id. ¶ 32.) In a closed-door session with several KBH agents, Plaintiff was instructed to discontinue his grievance related conduct and " sign in for billing of insurance" or " be escorted out by police." (Id.) Plaintiff walked out and later received a call in which he was told not to return until after the grievance process concluded because the grievance was disruptive to staff and others participating in the program. (Id. ¶ 33.) " With medication deprived as repeated calls for help denied ..., the loss of friendship with intern and LAC support system, [Plaintiff] became disconnected and suicidal leaving messages for Dr. Mosher which led to her calling police, probation and having [Plaintiff] arrested as a seemingly familiar process." (Id. ¶ 34.) Plaintiff alleges that thereafter, a conspiracy developed among his probation officer, KBH agents, the state, the courts, and others " to retaliate, confine, restrict and silence Plaintiff." (Id. ¶ 35.)

Plaintiff alleges a violation of his constitutional rights, citing 42 U.S.C. § 1983; a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act " in regards to Federally Funded Vocational Rehabilitation Programs and Services"; breach of contract; violation of the Maine Human Rights Act; and defamation. (Id. ¶ ¶ 36-40.) For relief, Plaintiff requests " Actual, Compensatory, and Punitive Damages"; lost income; and a court order that his " contract" with ...

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