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. The defendants moved to
dismiss Baptiste's claims, and Baptiste did not file a
response. The court granted the defendants' motion to
dismiss, and judgment was entered on May 26, 2017.
moves for reconsideration on the grounds that he mailed a
response to the motion to dismiss seven days after receiving
the motion to dismiss. Because the court did not receive
Baptiste's response, he was granted an opportunity to
file the response in support of his motion for
reconsideration, which he has done. The defendants object to
of a judgment is deemed to be a motion to amend or alter
judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
59(e). Young v. Gordon, 330 F.3d 76, 80 (1st
Cir. 2003). Relief from a judgment under Rule 59(e) is
“an extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.” Palmer v. Champion Mortg., 465
F.3d 24, 30 (1st Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks
omitted). To support a motion to alter or amend a judgment,
the moving party must show “manifest errors of law or
fact, newly discovered or previously unavailable evidence,
manifest injustice, [or] an intervening change in controlling
law.” Marie v. Allied Home Mortg. Corp., 402
F.3d 1, 7, n.2 (1st Cir. 2005) (paraphrasing 11 C. Wright,,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 2819.1 (2d ed.
Baptiste's representation that he attempted to file a
response to the defendants' motion to dismiss, in the
interests of justice the court will consider the objection he
has filed to determine whether the motion to dismiss was
properly granted. The court provided the following background
information, taken from Baptiste's complaint, in the
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 ...