Hutt v. Corrections Corporation of America et al
OPINION AND ORDER Adopting Magistrate Judge's 136 Report and Recommendation granting 117 Defendant Pallito's Motion to Dismiss 108 Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. Signed by Chief Judge Christina Reiss on 2/1/2017. (pac)
U.S. OISTHICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF VERMONT
MELISSA DUMONT, as Personal
Representative for the ESTATE OF
ROBERT DONALD HUTT,
CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF
AMERICA, CORRECT CARE
SOLUTIONS, LLC, ANDREW PALLITO,
MICHAEL E. RAPAPORT,
and MITCHELL MILLER,
2011 fEB ·2 AH 10: E.5
Case No. 2:14-cv-209
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
(Docs. 117 & 136)
This matter came before the court for a review of the Magistrate Judge's
November 21, 2016 Report and Recommendation ("R & R") (Doc. 136), in which he
recommended the court grant Defendant Andrew Pallito's motion to dismiss Plaintiff
Melissa Dumont's claims against him based on the incarceration of decedent Robert
Donald Hutt at Southern State Correctional Facility. 1 (Doc. 117.) Neither party has filed
an objection to the R & R, and the time period to do so has expired.
Stacey A. Adamski, Esq. represents Plaintiff. Daniel P. Struck, Esq., Sandra A.
Strempel, Esq., and Jennifer G. Mihalich, Esq. represent Corrections Corporation of
America ("CCA"). Assistant Attorney General Megan J. Shafritz represents former
Vermont Department of Corrections ("DOC") Commissioner Andrew Pallito.
On August 10, 2016, the parties filed a stipulation to dismiss with prejudice Plaintiffs claims
against Defendant Pallito arising out of the decedent's incarceration at CCA's Florence
Correctional Center in Florence, Arizona.
A district judge must make a de novo determination of those portions of a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation to which an objection is made. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l); Cullen v. United States, 194 F.3d 401,405 (2d Cir.
1999). The district judge may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings
or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b )(1 ); accord
Cullen, 194 F.3d at 405. A district judge, however, is not required to review the factual
or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of a report and
recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140,
In his thirty-four page R & R, the Magistrate Judge carefully reviewed the factual
and procedural record as well as Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint and concluded
that Defendant Pallito's motion to dismiss should be granted. As a threshold matter, the
Magistrate Judge observed that the law of the case doctrine applies because Plaintiffs
new allegations in the Third Amended Complaint are merely reiterations of claims
previously asserted in the Second Amended Complaint and dismissed by the court. See
United States v. Quintieri, 306 F.3d 1217, 1225 (2d Cir. 2002) (noting that the "more
flexible branch" of the law of the case doctrine holds "that when a court has ruled on an
issue, that decision should generally be adhered to by that court in subsequent stages in
the same case, unless cogent and compelling reasons militate otherwise") (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted).
The Magistrate Judge further recommended dismissal of Plaintiffs claims against
Defendant Pallito for failure to state a claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The
Magistrate Judge correctly concluded that Plaintiff failed to allege any personal
involvement by Defendant Pallito in the alleged constitutional violations, and that the
allegations contained in the Third Amended Complaint are insufficient to establish an
Eighth Amendment violation. With regard to Plaintiffs state law causes of action, the
Magistrate Judge determined that they are barred by the doctrines of sovereign immunity
and absolute official immunity.
The court agrees with the Magistrate Judge's recommendations and finds them
well-reasoned. The court therefore adopts the R & R in its entirety.
For the foregoing reasons, the court hereby ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's
R & R (Doc. 136) and GRANTS Defendant Pallito's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Third
Amended Complaint (Doc. 117).
Dated at Burlington, in the District of Vermont, this
/ 1-day of February, 2017.
United States District Court
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