MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
L. Ullmann, Justice
defendants, Holiday Inn Express Middleboro Raynham (the
" Middleboro Holiday Inn" or " hotel"),
Prana Lodging, LLC, and BV Hospitality Inc. (collectively,
" Defendants"), moved for summary judgment on the
public accommodation discrimination claim of the plaintiff,
Greater Boston Church of God in Christ (the "
Church"), pursuant to G. L. c. 272, § 98 and G. L.
c. 151B, § § 4 and 5. The Court heard oral argument
on March 23, 2016. For the below reasons, the Defendants'
motion is ALLOWED.
following facts are undisputed, except to the limited extent
noted herein. Prana Lodging, LLC is the owner and operator of
the Middleboro Holiday Inn. SOF 2. Sometime between
September and November 2010, the Church through its Pastor
Ivan Cutts began renting the meeting room at the hotel for
Sunday services. SOF 5, 18. The Church describes itself as
part of the largest Black Pentecostal organization in
America, SOF 46, and for purposes of this motion Defendants
do not dispute that all or most of the Church's members
in 2010-2011 were African-American.
Tyrell, the hotel's director of sales and marketing,
first charged the Church $50 for each use of the room, then
increased the price to $100 for each use. SOF 17, 19. Pastor
Cutts had no problem with the $100 price, because it was
equal to, or less than, what the Church had paid for to rent
space over the previous 20 years. SOF 19, 20.
February 2011, members of the Church had only one negative
interaction with hotel staff. SOF 21, 22. On this one
occasion, Pastor Cutts's wife saw a male employee at the
front desk who " did not seem happy that the Church was
there. I did not know what the problem was, he just sort of
was, like, giving kind of dirty looks, even though I'm
saying hi, how are you, he was sort of standoffish... And I
think maybe he's having a bad day, that happens."
SOF 22. Ms. Cutts believes that the employee made a negative
comment, but cannot recall what it was. SOF 22. Neither Ms.
Cutts nor Pastor Cutts complained to anyone at the hotel
about the one employee. SOF 24.
the time that the Church rented the meeting room, hotel staff
received multiple verbal complaints from guests about the
high level of noise coming from the Church's services,
specifically related to loud singing. SOF 25. Hotel staff
informed Pastor Cutts on or shortly before February 11, 2011
that the " noise interfered with sleeping guests."
SOF 26, 55.
January and March, the hotel rents guest rooms to
construction work crews. SOF 27. Workers share these guest
rooms, and those who work overnight shifts sleep in the rooms
during the day. Id.
hotel's busiest wedding season runs from spring through
fall. SOF 28. During this time period, the hotel gives
preference to groups who book a minimum number of hotel guest
rooms. SOF 28, 31. There were multiple weddings and other
events at the hotel between September and November 2010, when
the Church began renting the meeting room there. SOF 28, 31,
in 2011, Pastor Cutts raised with Tyrell the possibility of
the Church booking the meeting room throughout 2011. SOF 29.
Tyrell explained that the hotel wanted to keep the meeting
room unrented during the busy season between spring and fall,
so that the hotel could minimize noise disturbance to other
guests by putting the wedding party guests over the meeting
room, and have the meeting room available for wedding party
guests who stayed at the hotel. SOF 31.
first half of February 2011, Tyrell confirmed to Pastor Cutts
that the Church could rent the meeting room on February 20,
2011 and March 20, 2011, but indicated that thereafter the
meeting room would not be available for the rest of the year.
SOF 33, 48-50.
produced by Defendants confirm that the hotel rented blocks
of rooms for large parties including multiple weddings
throughout the spring and summer of 2011. SOF 35; Ex. 24-25.
The Church notes, however, that the records do not reflect
rental or use of the meeting room by many of these parties.
Cutts does not deny that, as described above, Tyrell told him
about the work crews renting rooms above the meeting room,
and that the hotel uses the meeting room during its wedding
season as an amenity for guests who book blocks of rooms. SOF
34. However, Pastor Cutts believes that these purported
reasons were pretexts. Id. The Church also points to
emails in which Tyrell and the hotel's general manager
used the term " moochers" to describe Church
members whom they believed were eating the Sunday breakfast
buffet without paying for it, and described their dealings
with the Church as a " royal pia." 
April 2011, the Church filed a complaint of public
accommodation racial discrimination against Defendants with
the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ("
MCAD"). Ex. 9. The MCAD dismissed the Church's
complaint in June 2013, based upon a finding of lack of
probable cause. Id. The Church appealed, and the
MCAD affirmed the lack of probable cause finding in October
2013. Ex. 11. Thereafter, the Church filed the Complaint in