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Massachusetts Action to Compel Medical Treatment Dismissed; Lacked Eighth Amendment Claim, Diagnosis

Massachusetts State pro se prisoner Kenneth Mocks brought an action to compel the State Department of Corrections Director of Health Services, John Noonan, to provide allegedly needed medical care. Also named as a defendant, but judicially dismissed, was the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center (SBCC) Health Services Administrator, Gary Kane. The action was dismissed for failure to prove that the requested care was actually warranted.

Mocks was diagnosed with generalized eczematous dermatitis seborrheic in 1998 at the Shattuck Hospital. Upon his return to the SBCC, the medication was delayed because of a facility lock down. He reportedly refused treatment but claimed that one guard tried to attack him during a medical appointment and that guards repeatedly interfered with his attempts at treatment. He claimed that he was coerced into signing medical refusal forms. He also alleged that personnel failed to inform him that he tested positive for hepatitis B. He brought action and Noonan moved for summary judgment to dismiss.

The Superior Court of Massachusetts at Middlesex granted the motion to dismiss because Mock's mere claim that he needed specific treatment did not mandate Noonan’s compliance with the treatment requested. The court also noted that although he touched upon Eighth Amendment claims, the action did not allege that Noonan was directly involved with, or knew about, the medical provider's treatment. See: Mocks v. Noonan, Case No. CA 99 04866 (Mass. Super. Sept. 8, 2000).

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Related legal case

Mocks v. Noonan