Heard: January 8, 2018.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on March
motion to dismiss was heard by Bruce R. Henry, J.
W. Lang (Jennifer Davis also present) for the plaintiff.
M. Furgang, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendants.
Present: Blake, Neyman, & Ditkoff, JJ.
plaintiff, Arthur Cournoyer, appeals from a Superior Court
judgment dismissing his claims for declaratory judgment and
specific performance against the defendants. The plaintiff
argues that the Department of State Police (department) is
required by G. L. c. 22C, § 24A, to develop
individualized training programs for former State police
troopers seeking reinstatement, rather than require them to
complete recruit training at the State police academy
(academy). Concluding that the statute is unambiguous and
that the department may require former troopers separated for
more than three years to complete recruit training, we
affirm, ordering that the judgment be modified to declare the
rights of the parties.
Standard of review.
review a ruling on a motion to dismiss de novo, Rodriguez
v. Massachusetts Bay Transp. Authy., 92 Mass.App.Ct. 26,
28 (2017), taking the complaint's allegations as true, as
well all reasonable inferences drawn in the plaintiff's
favor, Saliba v. Worcester, 92 Mass.App.Ct. 408, 412
(2017). To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must
present factual allegations that rise above the level of
speculation, Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Co., 451
Mass. 623, 636 (2008), and plausibly suggest an entitlement
to relief, Flagg v. AliMed, Inc., 466 Mass. 23, 26
plaintiff was a State police trooper from 1992 until
2000. While so employed, the plaintiff received
positive performance evaluations, and he completed all
required in-service training in addition to numerous
programs, certifications, and service in specialized areas of
law enforcement. In 1998, however, the plaintiff suffered a
severe injury while on duty, requiring medical leave and
ultimately causing his involuntary retirement in 2000.
Following several operations and physical rehabilitation, the
plaintiff was able to obtain employment, working for the
Worcester County sheriff's department and obtaining a
private investigator's license.
2013, the plaintiff learned of the possibility of
reinstatement as a State police trooper following involuntary
retirement and applied to the Public Employee Retirement
Administration Commission (PERAC) seeking to return to active
status. After a panel of medical doctors determined that the
plaintiff was medically fit to perform the essential duties
of a State trooper, PERAC approved the plaintiff's
completing qualifying physical fitness and agility tests, the
plaintiff enrolled in the first available recruit training
program at the academy in October, 2015. Recruit training is
similar to a military "boot camp, " and involves
activities designed to, among other things, inculcate
recruits with a proper respect for the chain of command. The
plaintiff was the only former State trooper enrolled at that
time. The plaintiff was approximately fifty-eight years old;
the recruits were ...