United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION
FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff, an inmate at the Cumberland County Jail,
alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights
and the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
30301 et seq., during an encounter on April 21, 2019, at the
jail. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) The matter is before the Court
on Defendant Kevin Joyce’s motion to dismiss and
Defendant Keith Seymour’s motion for judgment on the
pleadings. (ECF Nos. 12, 14.) Plaintiff has not filed an
objection to the motions.
review of the complaint and Defendants’ motions, I
recommend the Court grant the motions.
facts set forth below are derived from Plaintiff’s
complaint. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff’s factual allegations
are deemed true when evaluating a motion to
dismiss. McKee v. Cosby, 874 F.3d 54, 59
(1st Cir. 2017). Similarly, when assessing the motion for
judgment on the pleadings, the Court accepts as true all
well-pleaded facts and draws all reasonable inferences in
favor of Plaintiff. Frappier v. Countrywide Home Loans,
Inc., 750 F.3d 91, 96 (1st Cir. 2014).
alleges that on April 21, 2019, while he was an inmate at the
Cumberland County Jail, he noticed that the toilet in his
cell was backing up with waste from the adjacent cell and was
overflowing onto his cell floor. Plaintiff asserts that he
alerted a correctional officer, Defendant Seymour, of the
situation and requested agents to clean his cell. When
Defendant Seymour refused to provide the cleaning agents,
Plaintiff claims he requested a grievance form to complain.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Seymour then proceeded to
make inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments to him.
makes claims against the Defendants pursuant to the Prison
Rape Elimination Act (PREA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 30301 et
seq., the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may seek
dismissal of “a claim for relief in any pleading”
if that party believes that the pleading fails “to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In its
assessment of the motion, a court must “assume the
truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the
benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.”
Blanco v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 802 F.Supp.2d 215,
221 (D. Me. 2011) (quoting Genzyme Corp. v. Fed. Ins.
Co., 622 F.3d 62, 68 (1st Cir. 2010)). To overcome the
motion, a plaintiff must establish that his allegations raise
a plausible basis for a fact finder to conclude that the
defendant is legally responsible for the claim at issue.
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c)
is “ordinarily accorded much the same treatment”
as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
Aponte-Torres v. Univ. of P.R., 445 F.3d 50, 54 (1st
Cir. 2006). Thus, to survive a Rule 12(c) motion, as with a
12(b)(6) motion, “a complaint must contain factual
allegations that ‘raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations
in the complaint are true.’” Perez-Acevedo v.
Rivero-Cubano, 520 F.3d 26, 29 (1st Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
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 (1972), the complaint may not consist entirely of
“conclusory allegations that merely parrot the relevant
legal standard, ” Young v. Wells Fargo Bank,
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.”). Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) “demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
The Prison Litigation and Reform Act
defendants argue that Plaintiff’s claims do not survive
scrutiny under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42
U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA prevents an inmate from
asserting a claim for mental or emotional injury without a
showing of physical injury or the commission of a sexual act
as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2246. 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(e). Given that Plaintiff has not alleged a physical
injury or the commission of a sexual act, Plaintiff cannot
recover monetary damages for his alleged mental or emotional
injury. See id.; Robinson v. Landry, No.
2:15-cv-58-DBH, 2015 WL 4077297, at *2 (D. Me. July 6, 2015)
(“Although the First Circuit has avoided ruling on
section 1997e(e)’s applicability to constitutional
claims …, I conclude that the plain language makes
Robinson’s anxiety and emotional distress claim
futile.”) (footnote omitted) (citing Thompson v.
Carter, 284 F.3d 411, 416-17 (2d Cir. ...