(with first initial, no space for Sullivan, Dorsey, and
Walsh): Tabit, Salim Rodriguez, J.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTSâ
MOTION TO DISMISS (PAPER #8)
Rodriguez Tabit Associate Justice
action arises out of an unusual set of circumstances where an
underage student attending Endicott College ("
Endicott") in Beverly, Massachusetts, became intoxicated
and assaulted three individuals over the course of the
evening on February 1, 2014, and the early morning of
February 2, 2014. That student, Dillon Destefano ("
Destefano"), subsequently pleaded guilty to three counts
of assault and battery and was sentenced in Essex County
Superior Court. Destefano has now brought a three-count
negligence complaint against Endicott and its President,
Richard Wylie (collectively, the " Defendants").
Destefano contends that but for the Defendantsâ negligence,
he would not have committed the assault and batteries to
which he pleaded guilty, and would not have suffered the
damages that have resulted from those convictions. This
matter is currently before the court on the Defendantsâ
Motions to Dismiss. For the reasons that follow, the Motion
to Dismiss is ALLOWED.
following facts are taken from the Complaint and are presumed
true for the purposes of the Motion to Dismiss. The court has
also considered court documents from Essex County Superior
Court case No. ESCR2014-00269. Some facts are reserved
for discussion below.
evening of February 1, and the early morning of February 2,
2014, Destefano, a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Endicott,
became extremely intoxicated while at a " dorm
party" and at a senior house on campus called the "
Farm House." At approximately 1:00 a.m. on February 2nd,
Destefano left the " Farm House" with two friends
in search of food. Along the way, Destefano engaged another
individual in a fight. After the fight, Destefano and his two
friends continued to a location known as the "
Lodge" to eat. After eating, Destefano and his friends
headed to another campus party located at the " Yellow
House." While on their way to the " Yellow House,
" Destefano engaged a second individual in a fight.
After the second fight, Destefano and his friends continued
en route to the " Yellow House." Destefano
and his friends never made it to the " Yellow
House." On the way, Destefano engaged yet a third
individual in a fight. Thereafter, the three friends
abandoned their plan to go the " Yellow House" and,
instead, returned to the " Farm House."
the events of February 1st and 2nd, a criminal investigation
ensued, resulting in Destefanoâs indictment on two charges of
assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and one
charge of assault and battery. On August 5, 2014, Destefano
pleaded guilty to all three indictments and was sentenced to
two years committed to the Massachusetts House of Correction
on indictment number ESCR2014-269-001, two years committed to
the Massachusetts House of Correction on indictment number
ESCR2014-269-002, from and after indictment number
ESCR2014-269-001, and three years of probation on indictment
number ESCR2014-269-003, from and after indictment number
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Mass.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), a complaint must set forth the basis of the
plaintiffâs entitlement to relief with " more than
labels and conclusions." Iannacchino v. Ford
Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623, 636 (2008), quoting
Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
While factual allegations need not be detailed, they "
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level ... [based] on the assumption that all the
allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in
fact) ..." Id., quoting Bell All.
Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. At the pleading stage,
Mass.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) requires that the complaint set forth
" factual âallegations plausibly suggesting (not merely
consistent with)â an entitlement to relief ..."
Id., quoting Bell A. Corp., 550 U.S. at
Destefano asserts three claims seeking damages from the
Defendants. While the Complaint alleges three separate
counts, the action is in essence a negligence action, in
which Destefano seeks to establish that the Defendants owed
him a duty of care under three distinct theories of
liability- social host liability, liability based on the
existence of a special relationship, and liability premised
upon negligent supervision. Because none of the theories
Destefano presents plausibly suggest the Defendants owed him
a duty of care based on the facts alleged, the Motion to
Dismiss must be allowed.