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LaPierre v. City of Lawrence

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 26, 2015

COEURDALENE LaPIERRE
v.
CITY OF LAWRENCE, et al

For Couerdalene LaPierre, Plaintiff: Janet E. Dutcher, Marsha V. Kazarosian, Kazarosian Law Offices, Haverhill, MA; Marc A. Moccia, Kazarosian Costello & O'Donnell, LLLP, Haverhill, MA.

For Lawrence, City of, Defendant: Charles D. Boddy, Jr., Office of the City Attorney, Lawrence, MA; Raquel D. Ruano, City of Lawrence, City Attorney's Office, Lawrence, MA.

For John Romero, Defendant: Andrew J. Gambaccini, LEAD ATTORNEY, Reardon, Joyce & Akerson, P.C., Worcester, MA.

Page 89

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

RYA W. ZOBEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. Background

This action arises from Officer Kevin Sledge's sexual assault and rape of the plaintiff, Coeurdalene LaPierre. LaPierre brings this suit against Sledge,[1] the City of Lawrence, and Lawrence's Police Chief John Romero, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for alleged violation of her civil rights. Romero (Docket # 68) and the City (Docket # 72) moved separately for summary judgment.

II. Facts

On the evening of September 25, 2008, LaPierre went out with a group of friends for a birthday celebration that stopped at several bars and restaurants in Lawrence. Before and during this celebration, she consumed large amounts of alcohol and became heavily intoxicated over the course of the evening. At some point, LaPierre became separated from her friends. While walking to find them, she dropped her cell phone, which broke. LaPierre accepted a ride from a group of strangers to a nearby garage and then went across the street to a local restaurant, Serena's, to call her friends.

Sledge was working the 1:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. shift as the booking officer on September 26, 2008. At roughly 1:45 a.m., Sledge indicated to a civilian dispatcher that he was leaving the station for about ten minutes and proceeded to drive in his personal vehicle to Serena's restaurant. Outside the restaurant, Sledge approached LaPierre and asked why she was out so late, drunk and alone. LaPierre explained the situation; Sledge then told her that he would bring her back to the police station in his personal car, a silver Jaguar, so that she could get in touch with her friends from there. As Sledge drove LaPierre back to the police station, she fell asleep in his car.

Sledge parked his car outside the police station while LaPierre remained in the car for some time, sleeping and waking up intermittently. She recalls waking up several times to find Sledge touching or fondling her in an unwelcome manner. She also recalls waking up once to find Sledge on top of her and thrusting himself onto or into her, and waking up again with her pants down and Sledge's hand inside of her. Video surveillance at the police station shows Sledge leaving the building and walking towards his car approximately five times over the course of the night.

III. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows that there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In considering whether or not a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court " must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the opposing party." Tolan v. Cotton,134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866, 188 ...


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