United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge
action, Plaintiff Jamie Brown, an inmate in the custody of
the Department of Corrections at the Maine State Prison,
alleges he was placed in the Maine State Prison's
Intensive Mental Health Unit (IMHU) without cause.
(Complaint, ECF No. 1.)
matter is before the Court on Defendant Eric Bueno's
Motion for Summary Judgment. Through his motion, Defendant
Bueno argues the case is moot because Plaintiff was removed
from the IMHU in October 2016, and transferred to the Close
Unit at the prison. (Motion for Summary Judgment at 1, ECF
No. 17.) Plaintiff did not file an opposition to the motion.
a review of the record, and after consideration of the
parties' arguments, I recommend the Court grant the
complaint against all the named defendants, Plaintiff
I have been forced to take medications when I did not need
them. I'm being warehoused in the special management unit
in supermax conditions. I'm denied programs and
treatment. I live in unsanitary conditions. My mail is
tampered with. I don't receive proper medical care.
Keeping me warehoused in a cell without proper mental health
care lack of basic human needs.
(Complaint at 3, ¶ 21.) Plaintiff asserted that as the
result of Defendants' actions, he experienced certain
mental health issues. (Id. ¶ 22.) After a
review of Plaintiff's complaint in accordance with 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A, the Court dismissed
all claims against all the defendants except
“Plaintiff's official capacity claim for injunctive
relief against Defendant Bueno based on Plaintiff's
assertion that he has been unlawfully assigned to the
IMHU.” (Recommended Decision After Screening Complaint
at 1, ECF No. 13; Order Affirming the Recommended Decision,
ECF No. 14.) As alleged, Defendant Bueno is the unit manager
of the IMHU.
summary judgment record establishes that Plaintiff was
released from the IMHU of the Maine State Prison in October
2016. (Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ¶ 1, ECF
No. 18.) At that time, he was placed in the Close Unit at the
prison. (Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff remains assigned
to the Close Unit. (Id. ¶ 3.)
judgment is proper only if the record, read favorably to the
non-moving party, reflects no genuine issues of material fact
and the undisputed facts indicate that the movant is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law.” Hadfield v.
McDonough, 407 F.3d 11, 15 (1st Cir. 2005) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). Here, the facts are undisputed that
Plaintiff no longer is assigned to the IMHU. Defendant Bueno
argues that Plaintiff's removal from IMHU moots his claim
in this case.
Constitution ‘confines the jurisdiction of the federal
courts to actual cases and controversies.'”
Ford v. Bender, 768 F.3d 15, 29 (1st Cir. 2014)
(quoting Barr v. Galvin, 626 F.3d 99, 104 (1st Cir.
2010)). “A case generally becomes moot when the
controversy is no longer live or the parties lack a legally
cognizable interest in the outcome.” Id.
(quoting Shelby v. Superformance Int'l, Inc.,
435 F.3d 42, 45 (1st Cir. 2006)). “A prisoner's
challenge to prison conditions or policies is generally
rendered moot by his transfer or release.” Id.
and persuasive authority demonstrate Plaintiff no longer
presents an actual case or controversy for the Court's
consideration. In Salahuddin v. Goord, 467 F.3d 263
(2d Cir. 2006), the Second Circuit held that a prisoner's
claims for declaratory and injunctive relief against
officials at one facility were mooted by the prisoner's
removal from the facility. Id. at 272; see also
Thompson v. Choinski, 525 F.3d 205, 209 (2d Cir. 2008)
(mooting prisoner's claims for “modification of the
conditions of confinement” at a state facility he no
longer resided in). Similarly, in an unpublished table
opinion, the First Circuit held that a prisoner's
challenge to a New Hampshire state prison policy was mooted
by the prisoner's transfer to a Massachusetts prison.
Stow v. Warden, N. H. State Prison, 21 F.3d 420 (1st
Cir. 1994) (table).
Plaintiff's official capacity claim against Defendant
Bueno is the sole claim on which Plaintiff was authorized to
proceed following the Court's review in accordance with
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and 1915A. Indeed, when a
state official is sued exclusively in an official capacity,
the official is not subject to a money damage award.
Caisse v. DuBois, 346 F.3d 213, 218 (1st Cir. 2003).
Because the Plaintiff's only claim is one for injunctive
relief, and because the uncontroverted record establishes