Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Doe v. Meyers

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

August 28, 2019

John Doe, et al.
v.
Jeffrey A. Meyers, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department Of Health and Human Services, et al.

          ORDER

          JOSEPH A. DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         The plaintiffs have filed a putative class action that challenges practices used by New Hampshire hospitals and the Department of Health and Human Services to involuntarily detain individuals who experience mental health crises and seek treatment in hospital emergency rooms. In the amended complaint, the plaintiffs bring claims for violation of their procedural due process rights under the federal and New Hampshire constitutions, a claim of violation of RSA 135-C:31, I, and state law claims for false imprisonment. David D. King, Administrative Judge of the New Hampshire Circuit Court, is named in his official capacity as a “necessary party” under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19(a)(1)(A).

         Judge King moves to dismiss the action against him. The plaintiffs object to the motion to dismiss.

         Standard of Review

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the plaintiffs' complaint on the ground that they fail “to state a claim on which relief can be granted.” To decide the motion, the court accepts as true all of the properly pleaded facts and draws reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Lemelson v. Bloomberg L.P., 903 F.3d 19, 23 (1st Cir. 2018). The plaintiffs must allege facts that allow the court “to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         Background

         As alleged in the amended complaint, “[t]his case is about the State's systemic failure to provide probable cause hearings to patients being involuntarily detained and boarded in hospital emergency rooms within three days of the patient's admission to the hospital.” Doc. no. 78, at *2. In addition, the case is about “how New Hampshire hospitals systemically and unlawfully continue to detain these patients after the three-day deadline has come and gone for these probable cause hearings.” Id. The named plaintiffs provide information about each of their detentions.

         With respect to Judge King, the plaintiffs allege that “[t]he New Hampshire Circuit administers the very probable cause hearings that are directly at issue in this case, including their location, when they are conducted, and how they are conducted.” Doc. no. 78, ¶ 94. The plaintiffs allege that the court administers probable cause hearings after a detained individual is transferred to a receiving facility, which is when the court becomes aware of the detention. The plaintiffs contend that the court's “failure to timely conduct these hearings violates the protections of due process and RSA 135-C:31, both of which at least require a hearing to be held within three days of when the IEA certificate is completed while the patient is in an emergency room.” Id. The plaintiffs assert that Judge King is a necessary party in this case “so this Court can ensure that any remedy it imposes concerning probable cause hearings is administratively and logistically effectuated.” Id., ¶ 96. The plaintiffs name Judge King, as “a party pursuant to Rule 19(a)” in three claims: Count I - claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of Fourteen Amendment procedural due process rights; Count II - violation of procedural due process under the New Hampshire Constitution, Part I, Article 15; and Count III - violation of RSA 135-C:31, I.

         Discussion

         Judge King moves to dismiss the action against him. In support, he states that he has not been served and service cannot be made on him, that the Eleventh Amendment precludes the suit, that this court cannot grant the requested relief, and that he is not a necessary party. In response, the plaintiffs ignore the service issue, and argue that Judge King is a necessary party who is not affected by immunity under the Eleventh Amendment.

         I. Capacity

         As alleged in the amended complaint, Judge King is sued in his “official administrative capacity.” In contrast to personal capacity suits, which seek to impose liability on a government official for actions taken under color of state law, claims against parties in their official capacities “‘generally represent only another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.'” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-66 (2985) (quoting Monell v. N.Y. City Dept. of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690, N.55 (1978)). Therefore, it appears that although Judge King is named, the suit is brought against the New Hampshire Circuit Court.

         II. Service of Process

         Judge King, on behalf of the Circuit Court, states that he has not been served and that the suit should be dismissed as to him for that reason. The plaintiffs represent that after the motion to dismiss was filed, they sent Judge King a waiver of service, which ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.