Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Cantell v. Commissioner of Correction

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Plaintiffs in this putative class action were inmates serving criminal sentences in various Massachusetts prison facilities who had, for varying lengths of time, been placed in a special management unit (SMU) in nondisciplinary administrative segregation. Plaintiffs brought this action alleging that their placements in the SMUs violated their constitutional rights to due process, as well as regulations of the Department of Correction. Plaintiffs sought to represent a class of similarly situated prisoners confined in SMUs. A judge denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and, relying on the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in LaChance v. Commissioner of Correction, dismissed Plaintiffs’ complaint. The Appeals Court dismissed Plaintiffs’ appeal as moot, as, by then, no named plaintiffs remained in SMUs. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) in light of the class action allegations in Plaintiffs’ complaint, the appeal was not moot; and (2) LaChance did not resolve the merits of all of Plaintiffs’ claims. Remanded. View "Cantell v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law
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