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Sirois v. United States

United States District Court, D. Maine

May 9, 2018

RICKY L. SIROIS, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES, et al., Defendants.


          George Z. Singal United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 34). As explained herein, the Court GRANTS the Motion.


         Defendants' request for dismissal invokes Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), which requires dismissal of claims over which this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and Rule 12(b)(6), which allows the Court to dismiss a case if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         A federal court is obligated to ensure the existence of subject matter jurisdiction before considering the merits of any complaint. Plaintiffs generally bear the burden of demonstrating subject matter jurisdiction. See, e.g., Aversa v. United States, 99 F.3d 1200, 1209-10 (1st Cir. 1996). Faced with a motion to dismiss based on lack of jurisdiction, the Court may consider not only the sufficiency of the jurisdictional facts pled in the complaint, but also the additional materials submitted by either side that allow it to resolve the jurisdictional challenge. See Valentin v. Hospital Bella Vista, 254 F.3d 358, 363-64 (1st Cir. 2001) (noting that “plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations . . . [may be] augmented by an explanatory affidavit or other repository of uncontested facts”).

         Once the Court determines it has jurisdiction over the asserted claims, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and a demand for the relief sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(1)-(3). A viable complaint need not proffer “heightened fact pleading of specifics, ” but in order to survive a motion to dismiss it must contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

         In assessing whether a complaint adequately states a claim, the Court considers the “facts and documents that are part of or incorporated into the complaint.” United Auto., Aerospace, Agric. Implement Workers of Am. Int'l Union v. Fortuño, 633 F.3d 37, 39 (1st Cir. 2011) (quotation marks omitted). But, the Court may also “supplement those facts with facts ‘gleaned from documents incorporated by reference into the complaint, matters of public record, and facts susceptible to judicial notice.'” Gonzalez v. Velez, 864 F.3d 45, 48 (1st Cir. 2017) (quoting Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011)). Likewise, when reviewing a pro se pleading a somewhat “less stringent” standard applies and the Court may consider other filings by the pro se litigant in order to “understand the nature and basis of his claims.” Wall v. Dion, 257 F.Supp.2d 316, 318 (D. Me. 2003) (internal citations omitted).

         Under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court assumes the truth of the facts contained in the pleadings and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Schatz v. Republican State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2012). However, if the properly considered factual allegations are “too meager, vague, or conclusory to remove the possibility of relief from the realm of mere conjecture, the complaint is open to dismissal.” Haley, 657 F.3d at 46; see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (stating that a court need not accept “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements”). In short, a plaintiff must plead facts indicating “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.


         On January 7, 2014, Plaintiff Ricky Sirois was sentenced to a forty-eight-month term of imprisonment to be followed by a thirty-six month term of supervised release. See United States v. Mckenney, et al., 1:11-cr-00206-JAW, ECF Nos. 313, 315. As Sirois neared the end of his term of imprisonment in March 2015, he was transferred from the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution in New Jersey to Pharos House, a federal halfway house in Portland, Maine.[1]

         Shortly after his transfer to Pharos House, Sirois was assigned the task of collecting trash around the house and bringing it to dumpsters behind the facility. On March 27, 2015, during his first trip to the dumpsters, Sirois slipped on ice and fell fracturing his right foot. The area where he fell had not been salted, sanded, or otherwise treated for ice. On March 28, 2015, the following day, Sirois obtained medical treatment, including x-rays of his foot, at the Brighton Medical Center. These x-ray images did not show a fracture.

         Sirois subsequently complained about his foot and was given permission to see a podiatrist, who recommended that Sirois obtain an MRI of the foot and prescribed an air boot and non-narcotic pain medication. For the following three weeks, Sirois continued to complain to Pharos House staff members that there was something wrong with his foot, meeting with the Pharos House assistant director on five occasions. Sirois communicated to Pharos House staff that the podiatrist had recommended an MRI. Pharos House staff informed Sirois that they were waiting for authorization from the BOP to obtain a third-party MRI or to transfer Sirois to a federal correctional institution for medical care. Sirois continued to complain to staff at Pharos House about his foot and the BOP's delay. Sirois eventually met with Richard Farris, the director of Pharos House, the assistant director, and Sirois' caseworker about his foot. He again was told that Pharos House was waiting on authorization from the BOP. All told, Sirois' requests for additional medical attention were denied by Pharos House employees on six occasions.

         On June 1, 2015, Sirois was released from Pharos House. He subsequently obtained an MRI of his foot at Maine General Hospital in Augusta, Maine. He was thereafter seen by Dr. Kipp, a podiatrist, who confirmed that Sirois' foot was fractured. Ultimately, Sirois did not have surgery on his foot until approximately eighteen months after his release from Pharos House. Sirois asserts that part of the reason for this delay was his conditions of supervised release, which required him to disclose to all medical providers that he had been convicted of an offense involving the selling of oxycodone.

         On August 7, 2017, Judge Woodcock revoked Sirois' term of supervised release and sentenced him to twenty-four months of incarceration. See United States v. Mckenney, et al., 1:11-cr-00206-JAW, ECF Nos. 372, ...

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