In plaintiffs' civil rights action brought following the death of their son against a facility operated by the Massachusetts Department of Corrections that serves as both a prison and a mental hospital, its superintendent, and others, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where: 1) defendant-superintendent is entitled to qualified immunity as a reasonable official in defendant's place, given the circumstances and the legal standard, could have believed that allowing a certain practice to continue would not lead to events that would violate a patient's rights; 2) commissioner is also entitled to qualified immunity as a reasonable official in his position could have reasonably believed that staffing that met the hospital's recommendations was sufficient to avoid constitutional violations; and 3) the district court properly dismissed the plaintiffs' state law claims as barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Decided December 18, 2009
Opinion by DiClerico, District Judge
For Appellant: Jerrold N. Arnowitz, Arnowitz, Goldberg, and Mann, LLC
For Appellee: Daniel G. Cromack, Assistant Attorney General, Martha Coakley, Attorney General, and Ronald F. Kehoe, Assistant Attorney General