United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Lawrence A. Vogelman, Esq.
M. Belobrow, Esq.
J. McAuliffe United States District Judge.
Hewes filed suit against Belknap County and E. Justin
Blanchette, asserting both federal and state claims. Belknap
County has moved to dismiss the complaint.
ruling on a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
the court must “accept as true all well-pleaded facts
set out in the complaint and indulge all reasonable
inferences in favor of the pleader.” SEC v.
Tambone, 597 F.3d 436, 441 (1st Cir. 2010). Although the
complaint need only contain “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), it must allege each
of the essential elements of a viable cause of action and
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,
” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(citation and internal punctuation omitted).
other words, “a plaintiff's obligation to provide
the ‘grounds' of his ‘entitlement to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Instead, the facts alleged in the
complaint must, if credited as true, be sufficient to
“nudge [plaintiff's] claims across the line from
conceivable to plausible.” Id. at 570. If,
however, the “factual allegations in the complaint are
too meager, vague, or conclusory to remove the possibility of
relief from the realm of mere conjecture, the complaint is
open to dismissal.” Tambone, 597 F.3d at 442.
is currently an inmate at the New Hampshire State Prison for
Women. Between September, 2014, through July, 2015, and again
from May 29, 2015, through July 2, 2015, Hewes was housed at
the Belknap County Jail in Laconia, New Hampshire. At all
times relevant to the complaint, Justin Blanchette worked as
a sergeant in the Belknap County Sheriff's Department.
the facts as pled in the complaint at face value, the
background can be described as follows. On September 18,
2014, Blanchette was charged with transporting Hewes from the
Belknap County Jail to a dentist appointment. Hewes and
Blanchette were alone in the department van, and, on the way
to the dental office, Blanchette let Hewes use his cell phone
to make personal calls. Blanchette also stopped the van and
gave Hewes a cigarette to smoke. On the return trip after the
appointment, Blanchette allowed Hewes to sit in the front
seat without handcuffs, and again let her use his cell phone.
As they drove back to the jail, Blanchette flirted with
Hewes, discussing personal relationships and sex.
point during the drive, Blanchette drove down a dirt road. He
told Hewes that, before they arrived back at the jail, he
needed to handcuff her and move her to the back of van.
Blanchette stopped the van, took off his belt, unzipped his
pants, and had Hewes perform oral sex on him. Blanchette then
instructed Hewes to take off her pants, and he had sexual
intercourse with her in the back of the Sheriff's
2, 2015, Hewes was sentenced in the Belknap County Superior
Court. Following sentencing, Hewes was to be transported to
the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown.
Blanchette was tasked with driving Hewes from the Belknap
Superior Court to Goffstown in the Sheriff's SUV. During
the ride to the Goffstown prison, Blanchette allowed Hewes to
use his cell phone while she rode in the back of the car, and
told Hewes that he had two cigarettes for her.
stopped the car on a dirt road not far from the Belknap
County courthouse, and allowed Hewes to smoke a cigarette.
While Hewes smoked, Blanchette began talking to her about sex
and relationships, and, after Hewes finished her cigarette,
and Blanchette began driving again, he again allowed Hewes to
use his cell phone.
then suggested that Blanchette drive to her friend's
abandoned house in Goffstown, so that she could smoke the
second cigarette. As they neared the Goffstown prison,
Blanchette asked Hewes for directions to her friend's
house. He drove to the house, took off Hewes's handcuffs
and gave her the second cigarette. Hewes and Blanchette
entered the house, and ...