United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
WILLIAM G. YOUNG, D.J.
Montel ("Montel") brought the instant suit against
the City of Springfield ("Springfield") and three
Springfield police officers, William Catellier, Luke
Cournoyer, and Juan Rodriguez (the "Officers"),
alleging violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights and various torts. See generally Compl., ECF
No. 1. These claims arise out of an incident in which the
Officers, responding to 911 calls from Montel's home,
shot and arrested Montel upon finding him intoxicated and
holding a hatchet. See id. Montel's sister,
Erica Cartagena, had called 911 because "she feared
[Montel] was going to kill himself." Pl.'s Statement
Material Facts Supp. Opp'n Defs. Mot. Summ. J.
("Pl.'s Facts Supp. Opp'n") ¶ 21, ECF
No. 54. Montel sustained multiple serious injuries as a
result of the shooting. Id. ¶¶ 53-57.
first moved for summary judgment on counts II, VI, and VII;
the Officers moved for summary judgment on counts III, IV-V,
VIII, and IX; and the parties fully briefed the issues. Def.
City Springfield Mot. Summ. J. ("Springfield Mot.")
ECF No. 44; Def. City Springfield Mem. Law Supp. Mot. Summ.
J. ("Springfield Mem."), ECF No. 45; Defs. William
Catellier, Luke Cournoyer, and Juan Rodriguez Mot. Summ. J.
("Officers' Mot."), ECF No. 47; Defs. William
Catellier, Luke Cournoyer & Juan Rodriguez Mem. Law Supp.
Mot. Summ. J. ("Officers' Mem."), ECF No. 48;
Pl.'s Mem. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J. Defs. Officers William
Catellier, Luke Cournoyer & Juan Rodriguez ("Montel
Mem. Opp'n Officers"), ECF No. 52; Pl.'s Mem.
Law Supp. Opp'n Def. City Springfield Mot. Summ. J.
("Montel Mem. Opp'n Springfield"), ECF No. 53.
Court heard argument on these motions on November 29 and
December 13, 2018. Electronic Clerk's Notes, ECF Nos. 68,
69. On January 9, 2019, after carefully reviewing the
materials the parties presented and drawing all reasonable
inferences in Montel's favor, this Court granted
Springfield and the Officers' motions for summary
judgment on counts II through IX. Order, ECF No. 77.
January 16, 2019, Springfield moved for summary judgment on
count I. Def. City Springfield Suppl. Mot. Summ. J. Count I
PI. Nicholas Montel Compl. ("Springfield Suppl.
Mot.''), ECF No. 84; Def. City Springfield Mem. Law
Supp. Suppl. Mot. Summ. J. ("Springfield Mem. Suppl.
Mot."), ECF No. 85.
Court hereby GRANTS Springfield's motion for summary
judgment on count I and explains the reasoning for its
rulings on all of the claims in the memorandum that follows.
the day of July 29, 2013, Montel consumed alcohol with his
sister, Erica Cartagena ("Erica"), at their home.
Defs.' Facts ¶¶ 5-9. Montel drank "much
more than usual": Erica relates that he drank two
1.75-liter bottles of vodka, in addition to consuming
marijuana. Id. By around 9:30 p.m., when Jesus
Cartagena ("Jesus"), Erica and Montel's
brother, arrived at the house, Montel was very intoxicated
and acting in a strange and belligerent manner. Id.
¶¶ 2, 10-16. For example, Montel "was
punching everything in the kitchen, including the fridge, the
cabinets, the sink, the microwave, and the stove,"
id. ¶ 16, and he "hit himself in the leg
and head," Pl.'s Facts Supp. Opp'n ¶ 25.
agitation concerned Erica, who called 911 and reported to the
dispatcher that she feared that her brother was suicidal.
Pl.'s Facts Supp. Opp'n ¶ 27; Pl.'s Resp.
Facts ¶ 24; see also Defs.' Facts
Luke Cournoyer ("Cournoyer") and William Catellier
("Catellier") were together in a patrol car near 74
Irvington Street, Montel's home, when they received a
dispatch from the Massachusetts State Police informing them
of "unknown trouble" at that address. Montel Mem.
Opp'n Officers, Ex. 9, Dep. Tr. Cournoyer 41:13-21, ECF
No. 52-9; see also Montel Mem. Opp'n Officers,
Ex. 7, Dep. Tr. Catellier 15:15-16:22, ECF No. 52-7. The
dispatcher updated them about a minute later - just as they
were arriving at the address - that there was a
"[s]ubject inside attempting to commit suicide."
Dep. Tr. Cournoyer 42:2-15.
Juan Rodriguez ("Rodriguez") also received a call
from the dispatcher informing him of "trouble" at
74 Irvington Street. Defs.' Facts ¶ 24. Officer
Rodriguez arrived at the house just moments after Catellier
and Cournoyer. Id. ¶ 25.
entryway to the house was dark. Id. ¶ 26.
Catellier approached the house first; Rodriguez and Cournoyer
followed close behind. Id. ¶ 27.
stepped backward out of the house to find the Officers on the
porch. Pl.'s Facts Supp. Opp'n ¶ 31. The
Officers noticed blood on Jesus's shirt. Defs.' Facts
¶ 31.Jesus requested that the Officers give him
some space to "deal with his brother." Pl.'s
Facts Supp. Opp'n ¶ 32. Montel claims that one of
the Officers asked Jesus "what the fuck [he] was talking
about," id. (alteration in original), and the
Officers insisted on remaining, Defs.' Facts ¶ 31.
Jesus and the Officers spoke, Montel opened the door.
Pl.'s Facts Supp. Opp'n ¶ 34. Montel held a
hatchet in his hand. Id. Immediately the Officers
"ripped Jesus from the steps and grabbed Montel."
Id. ¶ 35. Montel struggled while the Officers
attempted to subdue him for three to five minutes.
Id. ¶¶ 35-36. During this struggle,
Catellier "fell off the porch," id. ¶
and Rodriguez stepped off of the porch, Defs.' Facts
¶¶ 39, 41.
denies that the Officers ever instructed him to drop the
hatchet. Pl.'s Resp. Facts ¶ 40. But see
Defs.' Facts ¶ 40.
(with the hatchet still in hand) approached Catellier, who
lay on his back at the bottom of the steps. Defs.' Facts
¶ 41. Montel maintains that he "was not using"
the hatchet and did not "have a chance to swing at the
police officers." Pl.'s Resp. Facts ¶¶
distance between Catellier and Montel was - at most - that of
a small porch and three stairs when Catellier and Cournoyer
discharged their firearms, striking Montel three times, once
in each of his legs and once in his stomach, causing Montel
to fall to the ground. Pl.'s Facts Supp. Opp'n
¶¶ 39, 53.
later "pled guilty to assault by means of a dangerous
weapon, assault and battery on a police officer, and assault
and battery by means of a dangerous weapon."
Id. ¶ 50.
treat the injuries that he sustained in the shooting, Montel
underwent multiple surgeries on his femur and liver, had two
small bowel resections, and had his gallbladder removed.
Id. ¶¶ 54-57. Montel's current
"physical disabilities include but are not limited to
chronic leg pain; wires, screws, and a metal rod in his left
leg; right knee pain; back pain; and digestive issues
including chronic stomach pain, constipation, and persistent
diarrhea." Id. ¶ 59.
the incident, Montel "was diagnosed with severe
recurrent major depressive disorder, borderline personality
disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, with recurrent
experiences of hallucinations, sleeplessness, and
nightmares." Id. ¶ 52.
28, 2016, Montel sued the Officers in their personal capacity
and the City of Springfield. Compl. ¶ 1.
alleged that the Officers violated and conspired to violate
his civil rights under section 1983 and Massachusetts General
Laws chapter 12, sections 11H and I (counts III, IV, and V).
Compl. ¶¶ 97-105. Montel further alleged that the
Officers intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him
(count VIII). Id. ¶¶ 112-15. In addition,
Montel alleged that the Officers committed assault and
battery against him (count IX). Id. ¶¶
claimed that Springfield violated his civil rights pursuant
to section 1983 of title 42 of the United States Code
("section 1983") because it fostered a "custom
and practice of . . . deliberate indifferen[ce] towards the
rights of individual citizens" and grossly negligently
hired, trained, and supervised its Officers (counts I and II)
. Id. ¶¶ 91-96. Montel further alleged
that Springfield breached its duty “to exercise
reasonable care" in general and by negligently hiring,
training, and supervising the Officers (counts VI and VII).
Id. ¶¶ 106-11.
Officers and the City of Springfield sought summary judgment
on all counts. Springfield Mot.; Springfield Mem.;
Officers' Mot.; Officers' Mem.; Springfield Suppl.
Mot.; Springfield Mem. Suppl. Mot.