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LLC v. Town of Braintree Board of Health

Superior Court of Massachusetts, Norfolk

July 25, 2017

G6 Hospitality Property, LLC
Town of Braintree Board of Health


          Michael D. Ricciuti, Justice of the Superior Court.

         In its complaint in this action, Plaintiff G6 Hospitality Property LLC (" G6"), which operates a Motel 6 located at 125 Union Street, Braintree, Massachusetts (" the Motel"), seeks certiorari review under G.L.c. 249, § 4 of a decision made by the defendant, Town of Braintree Board of Health (" the Board"), to revoke G6's license to operate the Motel under G.L.c. 140, § 32B and c. 111, § 122.[1] At issue before the Court is G6's application for a temporary restraining order and motion for a preliminary injunction, enjoining the Board from enforcing its July 13, 2017, decision to revoke G6's license while this case is litigated.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that G6 has not shown that it is entitled to a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, as it cannot show that it is likely to succeed on the merits. Its application and motion are thus DENIED.


         The relevant facts in the administrative record provided to this Court are as follows.

         Procedural History

         On May 12, 2017, the Board notified the Motel that an emergency license revocation hearing would be held on May 18, 2017, to determine whether, pursuant to G.L.c. 140, § § 30 and 32B, G.L.c. 111, § 122 and 105 C.M.R. 410.000, the Motel had " violated certain provisions of [its] license" because of " concerns relating to public health and safety . . . as the result of the exorbitant number of police-related responses to the motel since 2010, including but not limited to sudden deaths, sexual assaults/offenses, drug overdoses, warrant services, as well as the most recent shooting of a Braintree police officer and apparent suicide [of the officer's assailant] that took place at Motel 6 on Friday, May 5, 2017."

         Representatives of G6 and Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan (" the Mayor") agreed that the Board would not oppose G6's request to continue the hearing if G6 agreed to voluntarily close the Motel for 45 days, from June 1 to July 15, 2017, during which time G6 would work on improving the Motel's security protocol. Accordingly, G6 requested a continuance of the hearing. The Board approved the Motel's request. The Motel voluntarily closed June 1. The hearing was rescheduled for July 13, 2017. Prior to the July 13 hearing, a public notice was published in the local newspaper.

         Facts Disclosed at the July 13, 2017 Hearing

         At the July 13, 2017 hearing (" the Hearing"), the Board heard testimony from both the Braintree Police Department and G6 representatives, and allowed G6 to cross examine the police witnesses. The Board also received an expert report submitted by G6.

         Plaintiff G6 has been operating the Motel 6 located at 125 Union Street, Braintree, Massachusetts, since 1999. The Motel is located approximately 50 yards from the Braintree MBTA subway station and close to a highway. There are five other lodging establishments, all hotels, in Braintree-Candlewood Suites, Extended Stay, Hampton Inn, Holiday Inn (now known as the Beantown Inn), and Hyatt (collectively, with the Motel, " the facilities"). The other facilities are not in the same proximity to the MBTA station. However, one of them, the Hyatt, is in close proximity to the South Shore Plaza, the second largest mall in New England, and is close to a highway.

         In 2009, a woman was murdered at the Motel and her boyfriend committed suicide. In response, in May 2009, the Board notified G6 of a hearing to revoke the Motel's license, alleging four grounds: death on the premises; major calls requiring police assistance; disproportionate volume of calls for police assistance; and insufficient supervision or inadequate management. As a result of the hearing, G6 made two commitments to the Board in a December 15, 2010 letter-first, " we agreed to implement a number of security measures to address specific concerns" of the Board, and second, " we agreed to conduct a substantive renovation of the property."

         G6 noted that both commitments were timely met. The Motel implemented new practices, including a nightly police detail and a nightly review of the guest registry by the Braintree Police Department. For a period of time in and after 2009, the Motel hired armed security guards, but at some point before 2017, that measure was ended.

         The Motel's license was renewed. G6 claimed that " substantial improvement" in conditions at the Motel were reflected in the reduced number of " calls for service" to the police[2] and that " we virtually eliminated any true crime and activity at the property" in compliance with the commitments G6 had made to the Board.

         However, despite the measures put in place, G6 was unable to stop criminal activity from increasing at the Motel after 2009, and from experiencing more such activity than any other facility. In April 2017, the Braintree Police Department made suggestions to the Motel for enhancing safety and security at the Motel-by requesting guests checking in to provide the number and names of those checking, obtaining license information so that the Braintree police could run checks for warrants, and preventing recurring rentals to people who have posed problems for the police. There was no evidence that G6 took these steps. Aside from that request, there was no evidence that G6 failed to take any other steps requested by the Braintree Police Department.

         On May 5, 2017 (" the May 5 Incident"), Braintree police officers went to Motel 6 to serve a warrant on a guest in one of Motel 6's rooms. Without provocation, the guest shot a police officer in the head. The other officers returned fire. The gunman then barricaded himself in the room. Several SWAT teams responded to the Motel. Streets near the Motel were shut down, as was the nearby MBTA station. An armored vehicle was positioned in front of the gunman's room for protection, and the approximately sixty Motel guests were evacuated. After efforts to contact the gunman were unsuccessful, police used another armored vehicle to breach the door to the gunman's room. Police ...

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