A plaintiff identified only as “Jane J.” filed suit against the state of Massachusetts under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act (MTCA). She alleged that while she was involuntarily committed to a state psychiatric hospital, a male patient raped her while she was in the recreation room. The issue before the Massachusetts Court of Appeals was whether the hospital’s failure to segregate its patients’ use of the recreation room by gender established legal causation for the rape. The appeals court concluded that it did not and accordingly affirmed the order of summary judgment for the state.
In March 2009, Jane J. was committed to the state hospital for a competency evaluation after being charged with assault and battery, pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Section 15. In her lawsuit, Jane J. alleged that roughly a month into her commitment, a fellow patient raped her in the common room.