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Beaulieu v. Orlando

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

March 12, 2018

Christopher Beaulieu[1]
v.
Craig Orlando, et al.

          Christopher R. Beaulieu, pro se

          Laura E.B. Lombardi, Esq.

          Matthew Rodier, pro se

          ORDER

          Joseph DiClerico, Jr United States District Judge

         Crystal Beaulieu, who is proceeding pro se, brings claims against employees of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and another inmate, Matthew Rodier, arising out of incidents that occurred at the New Hampshire State Prison for men in March of 2012 and April of 2014. The state defendants move for summary judgment on the claims against them. Despite receiving extensions of time over the past ten months, Beaulieu failed to respond to the motion.

         Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party “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). “A genuine dispute is one that a reasonable fact-finder could resolve in favor of either party and a material fact is one that could affect the outcome of the case.” Flood v. Bank of Am. Corp., 780 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2015). The facts and reasonable inferences are taken in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. McGunigle v. City of Quincy, 835 F.3d 192, 202 (1st Cir. 2016). “On issues where the movant does not have the burden of proof at trial, the movant can succeed on summary judgment by showing ‘that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.'” OneBeacon Am. Ins. Co. v. Commercial Union Assurance Co. of Canada, 684 F.3d 237, 241 (1st Cir. 2012) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986)).

         Under the local rules in this district, a party moving for summary judgment must include “a short and concise statement of material facts, supported by appropriate record citations, as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue to be tried.” LR 56.1(a). A party opposing the motion must also include a statement of material facts with appropriate record citations to show that a genuine factual dispute exists. LR 56.1(b). “All properly supported material facts set forth in the moving party's factual statement may be deemed admitted unless properly opposed by the adverse party.” Id.

         In this case, the defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on April 6, 2017. Beaulieu was granted six extensions of time to file a response to the motion. The last deadline was February 16, 2018, when Beaulieu was notified that no further extensions would be granted. After the deadline had passed, Beaulieu again asked for an extension for an unspecified amount of time. That request was denied. Therefore, the properly supported factual statement in the defendants' memorandum in support of summary judgment is deemed admitted.

         Background

         Beaulieu was an inmate at the New Hampshire State Prison in March of 2012 and April of 2014, when the incidents at issue in this case occurred. The state defendants, who are Craig Orlando, Christopher Ziemba, Ernest Orlando, Michael Shaw, Barbara Slayton, Paul Casco, Kevin Stevenson, Page Kimball, and Douglas Bishop, were prison officers and officials during the time of those incidents. Beaulieu also brings claims against Matthew C. Rodier, another inmate.

         In March of 2012, Beaulieu was housed in the maximum security Special Housing Unit (“SHU”) at the prison. Because Beaulieu had threatened to spit on prison staff, Lieutenant Michaud had ordered staff to put a “spit hood” on Beaulieu whenever she was moved from her cell. In April of 2014, Beaulieu was housed in the Secure Psychiatric Unit (“SPU”).

         A. March 7, 2012, Incident

         On March 7, 2012, Shaw asked Ziemba and Orlando to move Beaulieu from her cell on J tier in SHU to the Officer in Charge in SHU for a disciplinary report hearing.[2] Once Beaulieu was handcuffed, Orlando put the spit hood over her head. While Ziemba and Orlando were escorting Beaulieu down the tier corridor, Beaulieu kicked a deodorant stick that was on the floor and then turned her head toward Orlando and spat at him.

         Despite the spit hood, particles of spit covered the right side of Orlando's face. Orlando took Beaulieu to the floor, and Ziemba helped to restrain her. During their efforts to restrain Beaulieu, she was injured, which caused bleeding over her eye.[3]When the officers had control of Beaulieu, they brought her to her feet and took her to the SHU Officer in Charge, as planned. Both Orlando and Ziemba state that they used only the amount of force necessary to control Beaulieu and that they had no malicious or sadistic intent.

         Because of the injury, Beaulieu was taken to a dayroom for medical treatment. Nurse Pat Keon examined and treated Beaulieu. Beaulieu had a scrape with some swelling on her head. Although Beaulieu also complained of right arm pain, she was found to have a good range of motion. Keon gave Beaulieu Ibuprofen for the scrape and cleared her to return to her cell.

         Orlando went to a bathroom to wash the spit off of his face. Other officers took Beaulieu back to her cell where she was agitated and demanded that pictures be taken of her injury. Shaw notified the shift commanders that the incident had occurred. Later, when Orlando was doing rounds, Beaulieu apologized for spitting on him.

         Beaulieu was charged with a major disciplinary infraction for striking an officer. During the disciplinary proceeding, Beaulieu did not deny spitting on Orlando. Following a hearing, Beaulieu was given fifteen days of punitive segregation and lost privileges for one hundred days.

         Orlando did not bring assault charges against Beaulieu. A “Use of Force Review” was done for the incident by the prison, which determined that Beaulieu must wear a spit hood whenever she was out of her cell and that all of her movements would be videotaped to document her behavior. In order to provide video surveillance, Beaulieu was moved to a different cell.

         B. Incidents in April of 2014

         On the morning of April 18, 2014, Beaulieu was in a therapeutic group in the Secure Psychiatric Unit (“SPU”) when she asked to be excused. Out in the hallway, Beaulieu told her social worker, Barbara Slayton, that she could not focus and that if things did not change she might have to go to the “suicide tank.” When they moved to another room, Beaulieu wrote on a piece of paper that she gave to Slayton: “I can't say no A was pressured into sexually acts he has Hep C and it is attempted murder.”

         Beaulieu identified Matthew Rodier as the inmate who was pressuring her for sex. She also said that Rodier threatened her so that she was afraid to report the behavior. She had concerns for her health related to sexual activity with Rodier. Slayton called SPU Captain, Paul Cascio, who joined her meeting with Beaulieu. Cascio told Beaulieu that she would be locked in her cell on Acute Care Status (“ATC”), pending an investigation of her charges.[4]

         Cascio put Beaulieu on ATC for her safety and notified the Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) investigator of Beaulieu's charges. Cascio also called the investigation unit and was told an investigation would be done. Beaulieu underwent a mental health assessment and was determined not to be a suicide risk.

         At 2:00 in the afternoon the same day, SPU staff notified Cascio that Beaulieu did not want to continue on ATC. Beaulieu sent an inmate request slip in which she said that she did not want to be on ATC and that “if your staff don't talk about it then my safety will not be at risk.” She further asked that they not put her on ATC for the weekend.

         Cascio met with Beaulieu at 4:00 p.m., and Beaulieu recanted her accusations against Rodier. Cascio called the investigations unit and was told to get a statement in writing from Beaulieu. The investigator said that he would not conduct an ...


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