United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Christopher Castagna and Gavin Castagna bring this action
against various City of Boston police officers. Plaintiffs
assert that Defendants violated their civil rights under the
United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by
entering Christopher Castagna's home without a warrant,
arresting both Plaintiffs without probable cause, using
excessive force, failing to conduct a proper investigation,
and interfering with a First Amendment right to videotape the
action by unlawfully seizing cell phones, deleting videos to
destroy evidence, and wrongfully attempting to access data in
Christopher Castagna's cell phone. Third Am. Compl.,
¶¶ 71-75 (Count 1) [#189]. Plaintiffs also bring
claims under state law. Id. ¶¶ 76-108
(Counts 2-8). Pending before this court are Defendant Anthony
Troy's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
[#149], Defendant Jay Tully's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment [#151], Defendant Michael
Bizzozero's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
[#153], Defendant Harry Jean's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment [#155], Defendant Keith
Kaplan's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
[#157], Defendant Daran Edwards' Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment [#159], and Defendant Kamau
Pritchard's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
[#161]. For the reasons that follow, each
Defendant's motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
The Residence at Issue
events at issue took place at a property in South Boston
owned by Christopher and Gavin Castagna's father.
Pls.' Response to Defs.' Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts & Pls.' Statement of Further Material
Facts [“Pls.' SOF”] ¶ 2 [#176].
Christopher Castagna resided at the property. Gavin Castagna
resided there until he went to college in or around 2007.
Pls.' SOF ¶ 2. At the time of the events, Gavin
resided elsewhere in South Boston with his father and his
father's wife, Defs.' Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts [“Defs.' SOF”] ¶¶
47-48 [#163], but he visited the residence five or more times
per week, slept in the extra bedroom in the residence
approximately three times per week (though not the night
before the events in question), and kept clothing in the
extra bedroom closet, Pls.' SOF ¶ 2. Gavin had a key
to the residence, and Christopher permitted Gavin to enter
and stay at the residence whenever he pleased. Id.
The Police Officers' Entries into the Residence
March 17, 2013, after receiving a dispatch call regarding a
loud party, Kaplan, Edwards, and Jean, along with three other
police officers, (the “first wave officers”)
arrived and entered the residence. Defs.' SOF ¶ 1;
Pls.' SOF Response ¶ 1. Whether that initial entry
was lawful is disputed and is not the subject of the pending
point after entry, Kaplan called dispatch and requested
assistance. Pls.' SOF ¶ 10. Nine officers, including
Troy, Tully, Pritchard, and Bizzozero responded to
Kaplan's call. Pls.' SOF ¶ 11. These
“second wave officers” entered the home to
provide assistance, but did not know why assistance had been
requested. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 6, 20, 43, 45. Kaplan,
who had requested the additional officers so that he could
obtain additional handcuffs, was surprised by the number of
officers who arrived. Pls.' SOF ¶ 10.
The Events in the Residence
and Gavin Castagna and others were in Christopher's
bedroom when the first wave of police arrived. Pls.' SOF
¶ 5. Those officers removed Christopher from his
bedroom, and multiple party-goers, including Gavin, began
videotaping the interaction and verbally protesting the
police entry. Pls.' SOF ¶ 6.
lights subsequently went off in the kitchen where Gavin was
standing. Pls.' SOF ¶¶ 6-7. Christopher was
brought downstairs, and at some point as Christopher was
being arrested, the second wave of officers arrived. Some of
the second wave officers, including, at various times, Tully,
Pritchard, and Bizzozero, surrounded Castagna as first wave
officers Edwards, Kaplan, and Jean attempted to arrest him.
Pls.' SOF ¶¶ 7-8; Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts (With Pls.' Responses to Defs.' Facts
& Defs.' Responses to Pls.' Additional Facts
Incorporated Herein [Defs.' Response to Pls.'
SOF”] ¶ 7 [#184]; Pls.' SOF Response ¶
49. The altercation became physical. Christopher Castagna
alleges that Bizzozero, Jean, Edwards, and Kaplan, as well as
an unidentified “motorcycle cop, ” had physical
contact with him. Defs.' SOF ¶ 12; Pls.' SOF
Response ¶ 22; Pls.' SOF ¶ 9. None of the
civilian witnesses could identify which Defendants were
involved. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 27-28, 30, 32, 34, 36,
38-39, 41. Troy did not recall seeing Christopher Castagna at
all and denies having any physical contact with him.
Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 9-10; Pls.' Response to
Defs.' SOF ¶ 9. Christopher Castagna was arrested,
but the criminal charges against him were later dismissed.
Pls.' SOF ¶ 23.
after the second wave of police officers entered, Gavin
Castagna was also involved in a physical altercation that
culminated in his arrest. Pls.' SOF ¶¶ 13-14.
Gavin Castagna asserts that Pritchard and Tully were involved
in his arrest, but admits that Bizzozero was not involved in
placing him in handcuffs. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 22-23;
Pls.' SOF Response ¶ 22. None of the civilian
witnesses to this altercation could recall or identify which
Defendants were involved. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 27, 29,
31, 33, 35, 37-38, 40, 42. Gavin Castagna was arrested, but
the criminal charges against him were later dismissed.
Pls.' SOF ¶ 23.
the course of his arrest, Gavin Castagna lost both his and
Christopher Castagna's phones (which Gavin had been using
to film the events), but did not see what happened to them.
Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 13-17; Pls.' SOF ¶ 14.
Neither Gavin nor Christopher Castagna saw any officers take
Christopher's phone. Defs.' SOF ¶¶ 16-18. A
guest at the party also did not see any police officer in
possession of either Christopher or Gavin Castagna's cell
phones. Defs.' SOF ¶ 26.
the arrests, guests found a number of phones, including Gavin
Castagna's phone, in a trash can at the residence.
Pls.' SOF ¶¶ 16, 18, 22. The video on Gavin
Castagna's phone had been deleted. Pls.' SOF ¶
18. Additionally, another guest, who had recorded the
incident, testified that his phone was missing from the
residence when he went inside to retrieve it. Pls.' SOF
¶ 18. And another guest's phone was found in the
trash along with Gavin Castagna's phone, and his video of
the incident had also been deleted. Pls.' SOF ¶ 16.
Summary Judgment Standard
resolving a motion for summary judgment, the court takes all
properly supported evidence in the light most favorable to
the non-movant and draws all reasonable inferences in the
non-movant's favor. Griggs-Ryan v. Smith, 904
F.2d 112, 115 (1st Cir. 1990). Summary judgment is
appropriate only 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 dispute is
genuine if the evidence about the fact is such that a
reasonable jury could resolve the point in the favor of the
non-moving party. A fact is material if it has the potential