United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Stephen C. Baptiste, pro se.
Francis Charles Fredericks, Esq.
DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
C. Baptiste, who is an inmate at the New Hampshire State
Prison for men and is proceeding pro se, brought suit against
the New Hampshire Attorney General and officials and
employees of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections,
alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that arose from
a group strip search at the prison. As allowed on preliminary
review, Baptiste brings a claim for damages against Officers
John Doe #2, Jardine, Fouts, Orlando, Foncier, alleging that
the strip search violated his Fourth Amendment right to be
protected from unreasonable searches. The defendants move to
dismiss the claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Baptiste did not file a response to the motion.
Rule 12(b)(6), the court must determine whether the plaintiff
has alleged sufficient facts to support a plausible claim.
In re Curran, ___ F.3d ___, 2017 WL 1405211, at *3
(1st Cir. Apr. 20, 2017). The court accepts the properly
pleaded facts as true and takes inferences from the facts in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party.
O'Shea v. UPS Retirement Plan, 837 F.3d 67, 77
(1st Cir. 2016). Conclusory allegations and mere statements
of the elements of a cause of action are not sufficient to
avoid dismissal. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
prison hosts a holiday event for inmates and their families
in December each year. The event is held in the prison
gymnasium with each prison unit assigned a day for the party.
Inmates apply to attend the party and must meet certain
criteria to be allowed to attend.
unit was scheduled to attend the holiday event on December
18, 2014. The event began at 6:30 p.m. and lasted until 8:45
p.m. When the visitors were escorted out of the gym after the
event, the inmates remained.
corrections officers announced that there would be a strip
search of the inmates before they were allowed to leave the
gym. The inmates were called to tables in groups of eight for
corrections officers to conduct the strip searches, including
visual body cavity searches. The strip searches were done in
the open in the gym, without privacy screens, and in the view
of a female corrections officer, Kelly Jardine, who was
standing on the stairs in the gym. There was also a video
surveillance camera operating during the searches.
early January of 2015, Baptiste complained to Major Fouts
about the strip search and about a female officer being
present. Major Fouts denied that a female officer had been
present. On January 22, Baptiste went to mental health sick
call to report the circumstances of the strip search and to
seek treatment for the trauma he experienced during the
search. Baptiste met with Jean Carrol to discuss the strip
search and to provide a statement.
wrote to the New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster
about the strip search. Foster replied that he had turned the
investigation over to Colon Forbes in the department of
professional standards. On January 29, 2015, Baptiste sent a
grievance form to Warden Gerry about the strip search, which
was denied as untimely. In February of 2015, Baptiste sent a
grievance to Commissioner William Wrenn who responded that no
female corrections officer was present during the strip
search and that the strip search procedure would be reviewed
and changed for the next year.
defendants move to dismiss Baptiste's claim that the
strip search violated his Fourth Amendment rights. They argue
both that Baptiste has not alleged facts to show a violation
of his Fourth Amendment rights and that they are protected by