United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
TALWANI, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
se Plaintiff Max Felix alleges that Defendants Town of
Randolph and Randolph Police Officers Kevin Donnelly, Edward
O'Leary, and Paul Porter violated his civil rights and
committed state law torts in their investigation and
prosecution of incidents occurring in March 2009 and May
2010, and further violated his civil rights when Felix
attempted to complain of police misconduct in June 2010 and
December 2011. The magistrate judge recommended, see
R. & R. 24 [#117], that the court deny Felix's Motion
for Summary Judgment [#107] and grant
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [#108].
Felix filed timely objections. Obj. to R. & R. [#118]. The
court found the evidence proffered by the parties
demonstrated a number of disputes of fact. Order [#119]. The
court also concluded that these disputes of fact were
material to Felix's claims and, consistent with the
recommendation, denied Felix's motion for summary
motion presents a more difficult problem. As the magistrate
judge noted, on summary judgment, “the [c]ourt must
‘scrutinize the evidence in the light most agreeable to
the nonmovants, who are entitled to the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom.'” R. & R. 11
[#117] (quoting Ahern v. Shinseki, 629 F.3d 49,
53-54 (1st Cir. 2010)). Resolving all reasonable inferences
in favor of Felix and against Defendants, a jury could find a
version of the facts very different from that presented by
Defendants. By way of example:
• Contrary to paragraph 1 of Defendants' Concise
Statement of Material Facts of Record as to which the Moving
Party Contends There is no Genuine Issue to Be Tried
[#110] (“Defendants' Material Facts”), a jury
could find that Max Felix was not the driver of the car that
drove away from the roadblock on March 11, 2009. A jury could
also find that Officer Donnelly was not that familiar with
Felix before the events in question, and did not identify
Felix on March 11, 2009, from any prior interactions as he
later claimed. A jury could find instead that, before
Donnelly “recognized” Felix as the driver of the
car, Donnelly first learned that the car had been rented in
Felix's name and that the car had been abandoned near
Felix's friend's home.
• Contrary to paragraph 6 of Defendants' Material
Facts, a jury could find that Felix had a valid Georgia
driver's license commencing in 2007 and no Massachusetts
residence after 2007, and that Officer Donnelly did not have
cause to criminally charge Felix with operating a vehicle
without a license in 2009 and 2010, and no basis for having
the vehicle Felix was driving in 2010 towed.
• A jury could find that Officer Donnelly testified
untruthfully about Felix's license and address and about
Officer Donnelly's prior encounters with Felix in the
2011 and 2012 proceedings described in paragraphs 9-13 of
Defendants' Material Facts.
• Contrary to paragraph of 2 of Defendants' Material
Facts, a jury could find that Officer O'Leary did not
adequately investigate Felix's complaints.
these disputes are material poses a different question. The
magistrate judge diligently sought to sort through the
evidence presented and, as her recommendation implicitly
suggests, these disputed facts may ultimately not be material
to the legal issues presented. Defendants, however, made no
effort to present their motion within a summary-judgment
framework and instead presented their version of events as
“undisputed material facts” in their Statement of
Material Facts. If Defendants are looking for a validation of
their version of events, trial is the appropriate forum. And
because the facts set forth as material in Defendants'
Statement of Material Facts are genuinely disputed, summary
judgment is denied.
said, if Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of
law on some or all of Felix's claims even if the facts
are found in Felix's favor, determining such facts at
trial will not resolve this case. Instead, the legal issues
will still need to be confronted.
Defendants will be permitted 21 days to file a renewed motion
for summary judgment and memorandum in support. Any such
motion shall be limited to the evidentiary record previously
submitted in connection with the initial motions for summary
judgment. Any such motion shall seek to demonstrate that
Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law
without asking the court to resolve factual disputes in
Defendants file a renewed motion for summary judgment or
elect to proceed to trial, Felix may request appointment of
pro bono counsel. Any such request shall be filed
promptly after receipt of this order.
Defendants file a motion for summary judgment, Felix may file
an opposition within twenty-one days thereafter (or, if
counsel is appointed, within twenty-one days after counsel is
appointed), again limited to the evidentiary record submitted
in connection with the initial motions for summary judgment.
forth above, the court declines to ADOPT the Report and
Recommendation [#117] that the court grant
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [#108].
Accordingly, (1) Defendants' Motio ...