United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MARIE Y. WINFIELD Plaintiff,
NEIL J. PEROCCHI, MICHAEL FORNESI, and LAWRENCE GENERAL HOSPITAL, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Marie Winfield brings this civil rights action against
Defendants Neil Perocchi, a detective with the Lawrence
Police Department (“Det. Perocchi”), Lawrence
General Hospital (“Hospital”), and Michael
Fornesi, a security guard employed by the Hospital, for
alleged damages arising from her June 2012 arrest at the
hospital. Specifically, she alleges that, at Fornesi's
direction, Det. Perocchi arrested her to prevent her from
filing a complaint against Fornesi and two other security
guards, and that the Hospital is vicariously liable for
Fornesi's actions. Presently before the court are Fornesi
and the Hospital's Motion for Summary Judgment
[#67] and Perocchi's Motion for Summary Judgment
[#71]. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are
evening of June 30, 2012, Plaintiff visited her husband, who
was staying at the hospital as an inpatient. Def. Fornesi
& Lawrence Gen. Hosp.'s Mot. Summ. J [“Fornesi
Mot. Summ. J.”] Ex. D [“Winfield Dep.”]
19:3-21; 30:13-16 [#68-4] (Transcript of Deposition of Marie
Winfield); id. at 30:13-16. During her visit,
Plaintiff and the treating physician argued about her
husband's care. Id. at 27:2-23. Hospital staff
called security as Plaintiff boarded the elevator to leave.
Id. at 28:4-5. When the elevator arrived at the
lobby level, she encountered three security guards, including
Fornesi. Id. at 22:14-16; 28:21:23. The guards told
her that visiting hours had ended and asked her to leave the
hospital. Id. at 31:9. Plaintiff informed them that
she had a meeting scheduled with a nurse supervisor, and the
guards escorted her to the fourth floor for her meeting.
Id. at 31:11-13; 32:3-8.
found the security guards “very threatening, really
very aggressive” while in the elevator. Id.
32:16-20. After meeting with the nurse supervisor, Plaintiff
returned to the first floor to report the guards'
behavior to their superiors. Id. at 34:5-17.
However, she was told there was no one in charge of security
on site and was referred to a nurse manager in the Emergency
Department. Id. at 34:9-35:3. While waiting to speak
with the nurse manager, Plaintiff was told that the security
guards were waiting for her outside. Id. at
36:19-23. She exited the building to speak with them.
Id. 37:1; 38:15-20.
who was one of the security guards outside, avers that he
again asked Plaintiff to leave the premises. Fornesi Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. F [“Fornesi Aff.”] ¶ 11 [#68-6]
(Affidavit of Michael Fornesi). Recalling the exchange at her
deposition, Plaintiff testified, “I really don't
remember what [the guards] said. It seemed they were all
talking at the same time. I don't remember anything they
said.” Winfield Dep. 38:6-9. Plaintiff remained on the
premises and continued to talk to the security guards.
Winfield Dep. 39:14-22.
reentered the hospital and informed Det. Perocchi, who was
working paid detail on site that night, that “there was
a problem at the emergency entrance of the hospital with a
visitor that would not leave the property.” Fornesi
Mot. Summ. J Ex. B [“Perocchi Aff.”] ¶¶
5-7 [#68-2] (Affidavit of Neil Perocchi). Det. Perocchi
located Plaintiff outside and directed her to leave.
Id. at 1:2-7. According to Plaintiff, she told Det.
Perocchi that she did not have transportation and would have
to call her daughter to be picked up. Winfield Dep. 40:9-23.
Det. Perocchi then “grabbed [her] hand” and
placed her in handcuffs. Id. at 42:4-5. He summoned
a police cruiser with his radio and, upon its arrival, he and
Fornesi “put” Plaintiff in the car. Id.
at 42:14-16; 45:10-17. She was transferred to the police
station for booking. Fornesi Aff. ¶ 11.
Summary Judgment Standard
movant is entitled to summary judgment if “there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A genuine dispute of fact exists if an issue can be
resolved in favor of either party. Calero-Cerezo v. U.S.
Dep't of Justice, 355 F.3d 6, 19 (1st Cir. 2004).
Facts are material if they have the potential to affect the
outcome of the case. Id.
defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party
must identify facts- either uncontested or disputed-that
demonstrate the existence of a trialworthy issue.
Id. The court views the entire record in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party and makes inferences
in the non-moving party's favor. O'Connor v.
Steeves, 994 F.2d 905, 907 (1st Cir. 1993). However, the
non-moving party may not rely “merely upon conclusory
allegations, improbable inferences, and unsupported
speculation.” Pina v. Children's Place,
740 F.3d 785, 796 (1st Cir. 2014) (citation omitted); see
also Griggs-Ryan v. Smith, 904 F.2d 112, 115 (1st Cir.
1990) (deeming “conclusory responses unsupported by
evidence” to be insufficient to ward off summary
Claims Against Det. Perocchi
raises the following causes of action against Det. Perocchi,
all of which are rooted in the decision to arrest her: false
and malicious arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment
(Count I); wrongful imprisonment and confinement in violation
of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments (Count II);
violation of her First Amendment rights (Count III); and
conspiracy to violate her First, Fourth, Fifth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights (Count IV). These constitutional
claims arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section
1983”), which provides a vehicle for redressing
constitutional violations caused by municipal or state
is barred under Section 1983 if an officer had probable cause
to arrest the plaintiff. Correia v. Feeney, 620 F.3d
9, 12 (1st Cir. 2010); cf. Robinson v. Cook, 706
F.3d 25, 33 (1st Cir. 2013) (“A warrantless arrest is
permissible under the Fourth Amendment where there is
probable cause.”). Probable cause exists if “the
facts and circumstances within [the officer's] knowledge
and of which [he] had reasonably trustworthy information were
sufficient to warrant a prudent [person] in believing that
the [arrestee] had committed or was committing an
offense.” Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91
(1964). Probable cause “depends upon the reasonable
conclusion to be drawn from the facts known to the arresting
officer at the time of the arrest.” Devenpeck v.