United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
DISMISS (DKT. NO. 13)
L. CABELL, U.S.M.J.
Elliott (Elliott or “the plaintiff”) has brought
a pro se civil rights lawsuit against the
City of Salem, Massachusetts (“the City”), its
mayor, Kimberly Driscoll (“Mayor Driscoll”), the
Salem Police Department (“SPD”), and SPD Captain
Conrad Prosniewski (“Captain Prosniewski”)
(collectively “the defendants”). The gravamen of
Elliott's complaint is that police officers repeatedly
trivialized or ignored her complaints that certain neighbors
were harassing her, and instead tended to credit the
neighbors' own complaints regarding her. The defendants
move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
reasons discussed below, I find that the complaint as drafted
fails to state a viable claim. The motion to dismiss will
therefore be GRANTED.
complaint, taken as true for the purposes of the motion to
dismiss, arises from an ongoing dispute between the plaintiff
and her then neighbors and fellow trustees of her condominium
association, Honor Segal (“Segal”) and
Christopher Patzke (“Patzke”). Segal and Patzke
reportedly made false and misleading statements about the
plaintiff; among other things, they claimed that she was
mentally ill and had a long and well documented history of
disruptive behavior during association meetings. (Compl.
¶¶ 7, 9, 17, 35). Segal and Patzke also reportedly
sent the plaintiff threatening emails, blocked her driveway,
shut off her electricity, recorded her in her home, and
posted on the building's front porch biblical quotes
highlighting her failings as a Christian. (Id.
¶¶ 16-19, 21-23, 25, 32-35).
and Patzke at some point alleged to the SPD that the
plaintiff had painted a swastika and other Nazi-related
insignia in the cellar of the building in order to target
Segal, who is Jewish, and Patzke, who is gay. The SPD under
Captain Prosniewski's direction conducted an
investigation but failed to seriously investigate the
plaintiff's complaints, and credited Segal and
Patzke's version of events over hers. At the conclusion
of the investigation the Essex District Attorney's office
brought criminal charges against the plaintiff. (Id.
¶¶ 27-28, 36, 38, 40, 45, 55-56, 64-66, 90).
complaint asserts eight counts.
One alleges that the SPD engaged in selective enforcement by
failing to protect the plaintiff when she called them in July
2014 to complain about Patzke.
Two is entitled “Neighbor Dispute” and summarizes
an incident where the plaintiff called the SPD regarding
Patzke's car blocking her from exiting the driveway. The
plaintiff appears to allege that a police report summarizing
the incident would have militated against charges being filed
against her had it been considered.
Three is entitled “Excessive Force” and alleges
that an SPD officer frightened the plaintiff and her daughter
when he and his colleague went to the plaintiff's unit
late one evening and banged loudly on her front door.
Four and Five are lumped together and are entitled
“Police Misconduct; Disregard for the Truth (and)
Malicious Prosecution.” They allege that Captain
Prosniewski lied to the plaintiff's attorney and caused
her to “los[e] her legal representation.” They
also allege that Captain Prosniewski told Patzke when the
plaintiff would be at the courthouse so he could intimidate
her and put her at risk for arrest or harm.
Six, like Count One, is entitled “Selective
Enforcement” and alleges that the SPD refused to
investigate the plaintiff's allegations against Patzke
Seven is entitled “Failure to Protect” and
alleges that SPD Officer Levesque failed to adequately
address the plaintiff's complaint following a snowstorm
that Patzke was harassing her by moving his car to block the
plaintiff's car each time she cleared an area around it.
Eight is also entitled “Failure to Protect” and
alleges that SPD Levesque on another occasion failed to
adequately address the plaintiff's complaint that Patzke
had caused damage to the plaintiff's ...