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Moore v. Maine Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. Maine

January 18, 2019

WALTER WILLIAM MOORE, a/ka Nikki Natasha Petrovickov, Plaintiff


          John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         In this action, Plaintiff, an inmate at the Maine State Prison, alleges Defendants did not provide adequate treatment for gender dysphoria. (Complaint at 3 - 4, ECF No. 1.) The matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Magnusson, Fitzpatrick, Merrill, and Liberty, officials or former officials of the prison. (ECF No. 133.) Following a review of the summary judgment record and after consideration of parties' arguments, I recommend the Court grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “After the moving party has presented evidence in support of its motion for summary judgment, ‘the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, with respect to each issue on which he has the burden of proof, to demonstrate that a trier of fact reasonably could find in his favor.'” Woodward v. Emulex Corp., 714 F.3d 632, 637 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Hodgens v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 144 F.3d 151, 158 (1st Cir. 1998)).

         A court reviews the factual record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, resolving evidentiary conflicts and drawing reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Perry v. Roy, 782 F.3d 73, 77 (1st Cir. 2015). If a court's review of the record reveals evidence sufficient to support findings in favor of the non-moving party on one or more of the Plaintiff's claims, a trial-worthy controversy exists, and summary judgment must be denied as to any supported claim. Id. (“The district court's role is limited to assessing whether there exists evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Unsupported claims are properly dismissed. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         Summary Judgment Record

         When presented with a summary judgment motion, a court ordinarily considers only the facts included in the parties' statements of material facts, which statements must be supported by citations to evidence of record. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) and District of Maine Local Rule 56(b) - (d) require the specific citation to record evidence. In addition, Local Rule 56 establishes the manner by which parties must present their factual statements and the evidence on which the statements depend. A party's pro se status does not relieve the party of the obligation to comply with the court's procedural rules.[1] Ruiz Rivera v. Riley, 209 F.3d 24, 27 - 28 & n. 2 (1st Cir. 2000); Marcello v. Maine, 489 F.Supp.2d 70, 77 (D. Me. 2007).

         By rule, a party seeking summary judgment must file, in addition to its summary judgment motion, a supporting statement of material facts setting forth each fact in a separately numbered paragraph, with each factual statement followed by a citation to evidence of record that supports the factual statement. D. Me. Loc. R. 56(b). A party opposing a motion for summary judgment must file an opposing statement in which it admits, denies, or qualifies the moving party's statements by reference to each numbered paragraph, with citations to supporting evidence, and in which it may set forth additional facts, in separately numbered paragraphs, with citation to supporting evidence. D. Me. Loc. R. 56(c). If an additional statement is introduced by the non-moving party, the moving party must file a reply statement in which it admits, denies, or qualifies the non-moving party's additional statements by reference to each numbered paragraph, with citations to supporting evidence. D. Me. Loc. R. 56(d).

         “Facts contained in a supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted.” D. Me. Loc. R. 56(f). Additionally, “[t]he court may disregard any statement of fact not supported by a specific citation to record material properly considered on summary judgment.” Id. Finally, “[t]he court shall have no independent duty to search or consider any part of the record not specifically referenced in the parties' separate statement of facts.” Id.

         Nevertheless, the factual assertions contained in the verified pleadings and affidavits filed by a pro se litigant generally will be considered in the review of a summary judgment motion. That is, where a pro se litigant has failed to comply strictly with the summary judgment rules, this Court has considered the sworn assertions of record. See Clarke v. Blais, 473 F.Supp.2d 124, 128 - 30 (D. Me. 2007) (“The First Circuit has not addressed this notice debate directly, but has said, in the summary judgment context, that unrepresented plaintiffs' opposing affidavits and opposition papers are to be read ‘liberally.'” (citing Posadas de Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Radin, 856 F.2d 399, 401 (1st Cir. 1988), and Mas Marques v. Digital Equip. Corp., 637 F.2d 24, 27 (1st Cir. 1980)); Demmons v. Tritch, 484 F.Supp.2d 177, 182 - 83 (D. Me. 2007).

         Factual and Procedural Background[2]

         Plaintiff is a prisoner incarcerated at the Maine State Prison. Plaintiff identifies as a transgendered individual, born biologically a male but identifying as a female. (DSMF ¶ 1; PSMF ¶¶ 1, 2.) Prior to beginning a sentence in February 2005, Plaintiff was taking hormone medication to treat gender dysphoria. (DSMF ¶ 2; Complaint at 3.) The prison's medical personnel did not provide Plaintiff with hormone medication at the prison. (DSMF ¶ 2; Complaint at 3.) In November 2008, Plaintiff was sent to the Riverview Psychiatric Hospital, where hormones were prescribed, but the prison's medical providers discontinued the hormones upon Plaintiff's return to the prison. (DSMF ¶ 3; Complaint at 3.) The Warden of the prison (Defendant Liberty) and the other security and administrative prison staff defer to the judgment of the Department of Corrections' contracted medical providers regarding the necessity of medical treatment and the type of treatment prescribed. (DSMF ¶ 10.)

         In November 2015, the Department adopted Policy 23.8, “Management of Transgender and Intersex Prisoners and Residents.” (DSMF ¶ 4.) The policy creates protocols for the assessment, placement, management and treatment of prisoners with gender dysphoria or who are transgender or intersex. (Id.) The policy establishes a multi-disciplinary team, including the chief administrative officer of the facility, security personnel, and medical and mental health providers. (Id.) The policy addresses issues such as housing and security concerns, strip searches, allowed property and clothing, and medical and mental health treatment. (Id.)

         On December 3, 2015, pursuant to the transgender policy, a multi-disciplinary team was convened to provide recommendations regarding Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 5.) The team discussed such topics as Plaintiff's assigned housing, Plaintiff's requests for cosmetics and female clothing, appropriate forms of address, and medical diagnosis. (Id.) Comprehensive minutes were kept at such meetings. (Id. ΒΆ 6). At the first meeting, the prison's medical director, Robert Clinton, M.D., advised that hormones had not ...

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