Posts tagged "Jane"

Jane J. v. Commonwealth (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-041-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   15-P-340                                        Appeals Court   JANE J.[1]  vs.  COMMONWEALTH.     No. 15-P-340.   Suffolk.     April 26, 2016. – April 12, 2017.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Cypher, Rubin, Maldonado, & Massing, JJ.[2]     Practice, Civil, Summary judgment.  Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.  Governmental Immunity.  Commonwealth, Claim against, Liability for tort.  Negligence, Hospital, Proximate cause, Governmental immunity.  Proximate Cause.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 5, 2011.   The case was heard by Elizabeth M. Fahey, J., on a motion for summary judgment.     John E. Zuccaro, III, for the plaintiff. Anne M. McLaughlin, Assistant Attorney General, for the Commonwealth.     MALDONADO, J.  The plaintiff filed a complaint against the Commonwealth under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, G. L. c. 258 (MTCA), alleging that, while she was committed to a locked unit of Tewksbury State Hospital, a similarly committed male patient raped her while she was watching television in a recreation room that is shared by both the male and female patients of that unit.  The only issue before us is whether the hospital’s failure to segregate by gender its patients’ use of a common recreation room constitutes an “original cause” of the rape.  See G. L. c. 258, § 10(j).[3]  Concluding that it does not, we affirm the summary judgment entered in favor of the Commonwealth. Background.[4]  Tewksbury State Hospital evaluates and treats patients with varying degrees of mental illness.  The hospital’s Hathorne Unit is a locked unit that houses, on separate corridors, both male and female patients.[5]  Male patients are not permitted access onto the female corridor, and female patients are not permitted access onto the male corridor, except that patients of both genders enjoy nearly free access to a common recreation room.  The recreation room contains a ping-pong table, some other games, and a television set; it also leads to a common sunroom which offers a second television set for patient viewing.  The common rooms are not staffed or equipped with video surveillance, but hospital staff conduct safety checks in the rooms every thirty minutes. In March, 2009, a District Court judge committed the plaintiff, who had been charged with an assault and battery, to the hospital for a competency evaluation under G. L. c. 123, § 15(b).[6]  She was assigned to the Hathorne Unit.  The plaintiff alleges that about three weeks into her commitment, she was watching television in […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 12, 2017 at 3:11 pm

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