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Winfield v. Perocchi

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 22, 2015



INDIRA TALWANI, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff Marie Y. Winfield filed the instant action against Lawrence Police Officer Neil J. Perocchi, the Lawrence Police Department, and Michael Fornesi alleging state and federal law claims in connection with her arrest at the Lawrence General Hospital on June 30, 2012. Before the court are Motion of the Defendant, Michael Fornesi, to Dismiss the Plaintiff's Complaint [#9], Defendant Neil Perocchi's Motion to Dismiss [#16], and Defendant Lawrence Police Department's motion to dismiss [#18]. For the following reasons, the motions of Defendants Perocchi and Fornesi are ALLOWED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, and the motion of Defendant Lawrence Police Department is ALLOWED.

II. Alleged Facts

In her complaint, Winfield alleges the following facts.[1] On the morning of June 14, 2012, Winfield was unable to wake her husband. Compl. ¶ 7. She called 911 and an ambulance arrived and transported her husband to Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts (the "Hospital"). Id . Doctors told Winfield that her husband was in critical condition. Id . Winfield's husband remained in the Hospital's Intensive Care Unit for two weeks. Id . ¶ 8. Winfield was frequently at the Hospital during this time. Id . ¶ 9.

Winfield alleges that on June 30, 2014, she was visiting her husband who had awoken from a coma. Id . ¶ 14. That evening, a man with a stethoscope entered the room and listened to her husband's chest. Id . ¶ 16. Winfield asked the man if he was a doctor, and he responded that he did not have time to talk to her. Id . The man used the stethoscope to listen to Winfield's husband's lungs and then left the room. Id.

Winfield asserts further that she later left the room to take a walk. Id . ¶ 17. Near the nurses' station, she encountered the man with the stethoscope who had previously entered her husband's room, and she asked the man if he was the replacement for the infectious disease specialist. Id . ¶ 18. Winfield had previously requested that the infectious disease specialist assigned to her husband be replaced because she had only been able to speak to the specialist on one occasion during a sixteen-day period. Id . ¶¶ 12-13. The man again brushed Winfield off, at which point a verbal altercation took place. Id . ¶ 18. Winfield asked the man, "what kind of a doctor are you?" and "[t]he man replied with an f' profanity." Id . After "being speechless for a few seconds, " Winfield told the man to "go to... !" Id . This altercation occurred sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. See id. ¶ 16.

According to the complaint, Winfield then told a nurse that she was going down to the lobby. Id . ¶ 19. When she reached the elevator, she heard a call on the intercom for security to report to the floor she was on. Id . ¶¶ 20, 14. When Winfield reached the lobby, three security guards confronted her.[2] Id . ¶ 20. The guards asked her to leave the hospital. Id . Winfield told them that "there was nothing going on and that the call resulted from the behavior of the person [that she] believed was a doctor." Id . One of the guards "became very aggressive and threatening to [her]." Id . Winfield informed the security guards that she had a meeting with the nurse supervisor and needed to return to the fourth floor. Id . ¶ 21. When Winfield stepped onto the elevator to go to the fourth floor, "the men became more aggressive." Id . When Winfield returned to the fourth floor, she met with the nurse supervisor and another person from the hospital. Id.

Winfield alleges that around 9:30 p.m., she started to leave the Hospital for the evening. Id . ¶ 22. On her way out, she stopped at a security booth located at the front of the Hospital and asked to speak to a security supervisor to report the behavior of the security guards. Id . A man at the security desk told Winfield that there was no security supervisor. Id . Winfield then walked over to the emergency desk and asked to speak to a hospital supervisor. Id . A person at the emergency desk told Winfield to take a seat while she called the hospital supervisor. Id.

Winfield asserts that while she was waiting for the hospital supervisor, the front desk attendant told her that the security guards were outside and wanted to speak with her.[3] Id. at 23. Winfield walked outside and saw the guards. Id . Winfield stood at a distance from the guards. Id . Within seconds, Defendant Perocchi "appeared from nowhere and stood close to [her] on the left." Id . Winfield asked Perocchi whether he was the head of security. Id . Perocchi stated that he was. Id . Winfield then attempted to explain why she wanted to speak with someone, but Perocchi told her that he already knew everything and that she needed to leave. Id . Winfield told Perocchi that she would need to call her daughter or a cab. Id . Perocchi then "grabbed the Plaintiff's hands violently, spun the Plaintiff around, and put the Plaintiff's wrists in handcuffs." Id . ¶ 24. While handcuffed outside the hospital, Perocchi "started to involve the crowd that had been gathering outside the emergency door by saying watch, watch, she's trying to kick - she's a kicker.'" Id . ¶ 25.

Winfield alleges that Perocchi communicated with the police via radio. Id . ¶ 26. Approximately twenty or thirty minutes later, a police cruiser arrived and Perocchi placed Winfield inside. Id . At the police station, Perocchi was present along with a desk officer who questioned Winfield. Id . ¶ 27. Perocchi ordered Winfield to remove her wedding ring. Id . Winfield was placed in a cell, and after she was released, officers informed her that they did not have her wedding ring. Id.

According to the complaint, on July 3, 2012, Winfield appeared at the Lawrence District Court, at which time the charges against her were dropped. Id. at 28. That same day, Winfield stopped by the Lawrence Police Department to inquire about her wedding ring. Id . At the police station, she spoke to a sergeant, who asked Winfield if Perocchi had identified himself and what color uniform he had been wearing. Id . Winfield told the sergeant that Perocchi had not identified himself, but that he had been wearing a blue uniform. Id . The sergeant told Winfield that Perocchi was a Lawrence police officer who works detail for the hospital. Id . He also told her that he did not know what happened to her wedding ring. Id . Following this meeting, Winfield made several more attempts to retrieve her wedding ring from the Lawrence Police Department. Id . Each time, the Department told her that it had not found the ring. Id.

Based on these allegations, Winfield brings six state and federal law causes of ...

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