Benedict v. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al
Judge George A. O'Toole, Jr: ORDER entered granting 5 Motion to Dismiss; granting 7 Motion to Dismiss (Halley, Taylor)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-11447-GAO
THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, PLYMOUTH COUNTY SUPERIOR
COURT, PLYMOUTH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY OFFICE, BROCKTON POLICE
DEPARTMENT, PLYMOUTH COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, and
MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION,
March 20, 2017
Proceeding pro se, plaintiff David Benedict brings this action against the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, Plymouth County Superior Court, Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office,
Brockton Police Department, Plymouth County Correctional Facility, Massachusetts Department
of Correction (“Commonwealth Defendants”), and Brockton Police Department.
The Commonwealth Defendants have moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) and 12(b)(6). They also assert that the plaintiff’s claims are barred
by the Eleventh Amendment and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The Brockton Police Department
also has moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), as
well as on the grounds that the claims are barred by the three year statute of limitations applicable
to tort claims and that the plaintiff has not alleged facts to make out a claim for municipal liability.
The motions to dismiss stand unopposed.
The plaintiff’s legal claims are unclear, but they appear to arise out of events beginning in
2002 relating to the plaintiff’s arrest, detention, and subsequent criminal trial in Massachusetts
Superior Court. The plaintiff alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Article XI of the
Massachusetts Constitution, and Sections 2-302, 1-103, 1-308, and 2-721 of the Uniform
Rule 8 generally requires only “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief,” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), and this Court construes pro se complaints
liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(2007)). However, a plaintiff must still allege enough facts so that the claim is “plausible on its
face,” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), allowing “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).
Here, the complaint fails to identify specific facts outlining the claims against each of the
separately named defendants. It is not coherent enough that it can fairly be said to state “a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “[A]n adequate complaint
must provide fair notice to the defendants and state a facially plausible legal claim.” Ocasio–
Hernández v. Fortuño–Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). Even reading the complaint in a light
most favorable to the plaintiff, the Court is unable to understand, without resort to hypothetical
speculation, what claims the plaintiff seeks to present. The complaint therefore does not provide
the defendants with adequate notice of the claims against them.
Even given the ambiguity of the complaint, it can be reliably determined that any claims
against the Commonwealth or its departments would be barred from presentation in this Court by
the Eleventh Amendment.
For these reasons, the defendants’ unopposed motions to dismiss (dkt. nos. 5, 7) are
It is SO ORDERED.
/s/ George A. O’Toole, Jr.
United States District Judge
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