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Saldivar v. Pridgen

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 17, 2015

ELVA SALDIVAR, Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY PRIDGEN, DANIEL RACINE and CITY OF FALL RIVER, Defendants

For Elva Saldivar, Plaintiff: Edward J. McCormick, III, LEAD ATTORNEY, McCormick & Maitland, Franklin, MA.

For Daniel Racine, Individually and in His Capacity as Chief of Police of City of Fall River, Defendant: Andrew J. Gambaccini, LEAD ATTORNEY, Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C., Worcester, MA.

For City of Fall River, Defendant: Gary P. Howayeck, LEAD ATTORNEY, Fall River, MA.

Page 135

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge.

This case arises from an alleged assault and rape of plaintiff Elva Saldivar (" Saldivar" ) by former police officer Anthony Pridgen (" Pridgen" ) while on duty. Plaintiff's second amended complaint asserts claims against Pridgen, Chief of Police Daniel Racine (" Racine" ) and the City of Fall River (" the City" ) for 1) assault and battery against Pridgen (Count I), 2) violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (" MCRA" ) against Pridgen and the City (Counts II and VI), 3) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against all defendants (Counts III, IV and VII) and 4) negligent hiring, training and supervision against the City (Count V).

Page 136

For the reasons that follow, the motions to dismiss filed by Racine and the City will be allowed.

I. Background

On or about June 8, 2011, Saldivar contacted the Fall River Police complaining that one of her children was being harassed at school. According to the plaintiff, Fall River Police interviewed her and Pridgen was assigned to conduct an investigation. Later that day, Pridgen arrived in full uniform at plaintiff's residence announcing that he needed to conduct further questioning. Upon entering plaintiff's apartment, Pridgen allegedly pointed his police revolver at Ms. Saldivar and proceeded to assault, batter and rape her. He allegedly then threatened the plaintiff by stating that he would kill her and her children if she reported his actions.

Notwithstanding the threats, Ms. Saldivar reported the rape to the Fall River Police. The subsequent investigation revealed that 1) on the day of the reported rape, defendant Pridgen was on duty, 2) security cameras located at plaintiff's housing complex confirmed that a Fall River police cruiser was parked near plaintiff's building and defendant Pridgen was identified as entering and leaving the building and 3) a search of Pridgen's police locker led to the seizure of two Trojan condoms and two packages of Extenze tablets.

Pridgen resigned from his employment as a police officer for the City of Fall River on June 28, 2011. In September, 2011, the District Attorney's Office for Bristol County informed the plaintiff that it would not prosecute Pridgen criminally.

Pridgen's disciplinary record during the course of his employment with the City indicates that he was 1) suspended for police misconduct for thirty days without pay in February, 2007, which was later reduced to a written warning by an arbitrator, due to a failure to properly abide by policy in handling a domestic violence call, 2) suspended for five days without pay in October, 2007 from an abuse of sick leave policy, 3) suspended for one day in January, 2011 for failing to appear for roll call, 4) suspended for five days in June, 2011 for allowing his license to carry a firearm to lapse for five years and 5) given seven reprimands between September, 2003 and June, 2011.

II. Procedural history

Plaintiff initiated her lawsuit in Bristol County Superior Court in May, 2014 and defendants Racine and the City timely removed the case to this Court. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint in August, 2014. Racine and the City subsequently moved to dismiss the amended complaint.

The Court held a hearing on the motions to dismiss in January, 2015 during which it ordered the defendants to immediately turn over Pridgen's ...


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