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Davis v. Coakley

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

September 18, 2015

WILLIAM H. DAVIS, Plaintiff, Appellant,
v.
MARTHA COAKLEY and DEVAL PATRICK, Defendants, Appellees

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. William G. Young, U.S. District Judge.

Page 129

Christopher M. Perry, with whom Terance P. Perry, Brendan J. Perry & Associates, P.C., and Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, P.C. were on brief, for appellant.

Hé lène Kazanjian, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Andrew W. Koster, Assistant Attorney General, and Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts, were on brief, for appellees.

Before Thompson and Lipez, Circuit Judges, and Barbadoro,[*] District Judge.

OPINION

Page 130

LIPEZ, Circuit Judge.

Appellant William H. Davis (" William" ), in his capacity as the personal representative of the estate of Jason H. Davis (" Jason" ), brings this action against former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and former Attorney General Martha Coakley, in their personal capacities, seeking monetary damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In 1998, Jason received a punitive damages award in a federal civil rights action that he brought against six individual state employees who were held responsible for restraining and beating him in a state mental hospital.

Appellant contends that Patrick and Coakley violated the Davis estate's equal protection and due process rights because they, on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, refused to indemnify the punitive damages award, while at the same time agreeing to settle the civil rights claims of another individual, Joshua Messier, who died at another state mental facility years later while he was being subdued by corrections officers. The district court granted Patrick and Coakley's motion to dismiss. Finding no merit in appellant's arguments, we affirm.

I.

Because this appeal follows the grant of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), we recite the facts of appellant's claim as alleged in the complaint and documents incorporated into the complaint. See SEC v. Tambone, 597 F.3d 436, 438 (1st Cir. 2010) (en banc).

A. The Davis litigation

At all relevant times, Jason Davis suffered from a variety of acute psychiatric disorders, including schizo-affective and ...


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