United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG DISTRICT JUDGE.
Police Department Patrolman Julie Ann Barrett
(“Barrett”) brings a section 1983 claim against
the Town of Plainville (“Plainville”) for the
involvement of Plainville Police Chief Alfred
(“Alfred”) in the search and seizure of
Barrett's personal cell phone in connection with North
Attleborough's internal investigation of another police
officer. Plainville has now moved for summary judgment.
initially filed a complaint in the Norfolk Superior Court on
November 15, 2016, asserting three counts: (1) a section 1983
claim against Plainville, Alfred, and Lieutenant Floyd
(“Floyd”) (count I); (2) a violation of
Massachusetts General Laws chapter 12, sections 11H and 11I
against Alfred and Floyd (count II); and a violation of
Massachusetts General Laws chapter 214, section 1B against
North Attleborough's Police Department Captain Joseph
DiRenzo (“DiRenzo”) and Chief John Reilly
(“Reilly”), as well as John and Jane Doe (count
III). Notice Removal, Ex. A, Compl. (“Compl.”),
ECF No. 1-1. After the case was removed to this Court, Notice
Removal 1, ECF No. 1, and various defendants moved for
dismissal of the claims against them, Mot. North Attleborough
Defs. Dismiss Pl.'s Compl. Rule 12(b)(6), ECF No. 9;
Defs., Town Plainville, James Alfred & James Floyd's
Mot. Dismiss Pl.'s Compl. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), ECF No.
12, this Court heard oral arguments, Electronic Clerk's
Notes, ECF No. 22, and dismissed counts I and II solely as to
Alfred and Floyd, Order, ECF No. 23. Barrett subsequently
dismissed her claims against John and Jane Doe, Notice
Voluntary Dismissal, ECF No. 43, and Reilly and DiRenzo,
Stipulation Dismissal, ECF No. 51.
now moves for summary judgment on count I. Def. Town of
Plainville's Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 39. The parties
briefed the issues and filed supporting statements of facts.
Pl. Julie Barrett's Opp'n Def. Town Plainville's
Mot. Summ. J. (“Pl.'s Opp'n”), ECF No.
48; Pl. Julie Barrett's Statement Material Facts Supp.
Opp'n Town Plainville's Mot. Summ. J.
(“Pl.'s Facts”), ECF No. 48-1; Def. Town of
Plainville's Mem. Law Supp. Mot. Summ. J.
(“Def.'s Mem.”), ECF No. 40; Def. Town
Plainville's Statement Undisputed Material Facts Supp.
Mot. Summ. J. (“Def.'s Facts”), ECF No. 41.
On September 14, 2017, this Court heard oral argument and
took the matter under advisement. Electronic Clerk's
Notes, ECF No. 55.
is employed as a police officer for the Town of Plainville.
Compl. ¶ 1; Def.'s Facts ¶ 1. On July 30, 2016,
there was an alleged incident in which Sergeant David Gould
(“Gould”) of the North Attleborough Police
Department punched Detective James Moses
(“Moses”) of the Plainville Police Department and
also committed domestic assault and battery against Barrett.
Compl. ¶¶ 23-24; Def.'s Facts ¶ 2.
August 9, 2016, State Troopers Edward Keefe
(“Keefe”) and Yuri Bukhenik
(“Bukhenik”) investigated the alleged assault and
battery. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 7; Def.'s Facts ¶ 4.
Following Barrett's declining to discuss the incident
with Keefe, Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 5-7, Keefe and
Bukhenik then went to the Plainville Police station where
they explained to Floyd that they would like to ask Barrett
some questions and look at her phone, id.
¶¶ 8-9. Floyd had Barrett called off of patrol and
into the station, id. ¶ 10, where Keefe and
Bukhenik told Barrett that they wanted to discuss the alleged
domestic violence incident. Id. ¶¶ 11-12.
Barrett, however, again indicated that she had nothing to
say, Pl.'s Facts ¶ 2; Def.'s Facts ¶ 13.
asked Barrett if he could take a look at her cell phone, but
Barrett said no. Def.'s Facts ¶ 14. Keefe then told
Barrett that they needed to take her cell phone as evidence,
Pl.'s Facts ¶ 2; Def.'s Facts ¶ 15, and
that if she did not give her cell phone over voluntarily,
they would get a warrant, Def.'s Facts ¶ 21, and
leave Barrett without her cell phone for a much longer period
of time, id. ¶¶ 16, 19. Barrett said she
was inclined to have them get a warrant. Id. ¶
20. Barrett told the state troopers that her phone was in her
police cruiser and that she wanted to make some calls.
Id. ¶ 22.
troopers let Barrett go to her cruiser and make phone calls.
Id. ¶ 23. During this time, Barrett received a
call from Moses, who told her that Floyd had called Alfred
and said that Barrett was being uncooperative, and that
Alfred was going to the Plainville Police station to get
Barrett to cooperate. Id. ¶¶ 24-25. Moses
told Barrett that he was with Alfred, id. ¶ 35,
and had told Alfred that he would call and talk to Barrett,
id. ¶ 26. Barrett told Moses that Floyd, Keefe,
and Bukhenik were trying to take her phone. Id.
¶ 28. Moses told Barrett, “they can, ” and
that “they” already had his phone. Id.
¶¶ 29-30. He encouraged Barrett to hand over her
phone, saying “Don't lose your job over this,
” and “You have to cooperate in an internal
investigation.” Id. ¶¶ 31-32. Moses
lied to Barrett by telling her that she had to cooperate and
reinforced Barrett's belief that there was an internal
investigation by saying that she could lose her job.
Id. ¶¶ 33-34.
told Floyd that she wanted to speak with a union attorney;
Floyd responded that the attorney said that Barrett had to
cooperate. Id. ¶ 36. Barrett handed her cell
phone over, id. ¶ 37, because of Floyd's
statement that the union attorney said she had to cooperate
and Floyd's and Alfred's directives, Pl.'s Facts
¶ 6. Floyd went back into the police station and the
state troopers took the phone, asked Barrett to sign a form,
then drove away. Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 38-40.
took the phone to the Norfolk County District Attorney's
Office and downloaded the contents of the device.
Id. ¶ 41. Barrett resumed patrol; a trooper
returned her cell phone to her later during her shift.
Id. ¶¶ 42-43.
later returned to the police station and told Barrett that he
did not know what happened on July 30, but that if something
had happened, it pissed him off. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 3;
Def.'s Facts ¶ 44. Barrett interpreted this as
meaning that Alfred would ...