United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO
DISMISS AND DEFENDANT JUDGE SEGAL'S MOTION TO
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Elliott (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against
Judge Honor Segal (“Judge Segal”), Karen Andreas
(“Ms. Andreas”), and Rosalin Acosta
(“Secretary Acosta”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) seeking $800, 000 in damages for
violation of her civil rights and of several criminal
statutes. [ECF No. 1 (“Complaint” or
“Compl.”) at 2-3, 19]. Currently pending before
the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss. [ECF Nos.
17, 19, 21]. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants'
motions to dismiss [ECF Nos. 17, 19, 21] are
following facts are drawn from the Complaint, the
well-pleaded allegations of which are taken as true for the
purposes of evaluating the motions to dismiss. See Ruivo
v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 766 F.3d 87, 90 (1st Cir.
2014). The Court also draws facts from documents attached to
and incorporated by reference into the Complaint. A.G. ex
rel. Maddox v. Elsevier, Inc., 732 F.3d 77, 80 (1st Cir.
Judge Honor Segal
Honor Segal is Plaintiff's former neighbor and currently
serves as a judge for the Office of the Department of
Industrial Accidents (“DIA”). [Compl.
¶¶ 12-13]. In April 2013, Judge Segal purchased
Unit 2 of the K. Ward Handy Condominiums, which is a
three-unit condo building in Salem, Massachusetts.
[Id. ¶ 13]. At the time, Plaintiff owned Unit
and Judge Segal first met at a condo association meeting in
July 2013. [Id.]. Also present at the meeting was
Attorney Terrence Kennedy, who attended the meeting at Judge
Segal's request in order to help facilitate the meeting,
and Doug Hein, then-owner of Unit 1. [Id. ¶ 14;
ECF No. 1-2 at 7]. At the meeting, Plaintiff and Judge Segal
clashed regarding changes Judge Segal proposed that the condo
association make around the building. [Compl. ¶¶
14-15]. This conflict escalated over the next eighteen
months. See [id. ¶¶ 16-20].
Plaintiff repeatedly involved the Salem Police Department in
her dispute with Judge Segal and Christopher Patzke, who
moved into Unit 1 during this time period. See,
e.g., [ECF No. 1-2 at 22, 41, 53, 74]. Judge Segal moved
out of her unit in December 2014. See [id.
height of the conflict between Plaintiff and Judge Segal
appears to have occurred in October 2014. See [ECF
id. at 60-61]. On October 10, 2014, an attorney
representing Judge Segal sent a cease and desist notice to
Plaintiff and the co-owner of Unit 3 demanding that she
“cease and desist from all physical intimidation and
physical contact” with Judge Segal. [ECF No. 1-2 at
26]. On October 20, 2014, a “painting of what appears
to be Hitler holding his hand up with a swastika on his
chest” was found on the common basement door, and
Plaintiff was implicated in the incident. [ECF No. 1-2 at 61,
67, 69]. That same day, Plaintiff's daughter reported the
door incident to the family's attorney, expressed
discomfort with being “implicated . . . as the
culprits, ” and stated that she and Plaintiff
“[were] clearly targets of a set up of a serious
crime.” [ECF No. 1-2 at 69]. On October 21, 2014, Judge
Segal met with a Detective at the Salem Police Department
“to report ongoing harassment and a civil right[s]
violation” and stated that she believed the door
incident was retaliation for the cease and desist letter.
[Id. at 60-61]. Judge Segal spoke with the Salem
Police Department again on December 8, 2014. [Id.].
Following this report, on December 26, 2014, a criminal
complaint was issued against Plaintiff for violation of civil
rights and criminal harassment. [Compl. ¶ 44; ECF No.
1-2 at 59]. The criminal charges were eventually dismissed.
[Compl. ¶ 55].
Andreas is the publisher of the Salem News.
[Id. ¶ 52]. On May 6, 2015, The Salem
News published an “expose” on Plaintiff that
was written by Julie Manganis. [Id.]. Plaintiff
maintains that the article contains falsehoods. [Id.
¶ 53]. After Plaintiff's criminal charges were
dismissed, she contacted an editor at The Salem News
regarding removing or correcting the article and thereafter
filed a suit against the newspaper, which was dismissed.
[Id. ¶ 55]. The article has not been changed.
[Id. ¶ 58].
Secretary Rosalin Acosta
Rosalin Acosta is the Secretary of Labor and Workforce
Development. See [Id. ¶ 59]. On August
6, 2018, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce
Development (“EOLWD”) notified Plaintiff that she
was a “security risk” and prohibited her from
entering the DIA building in Boston, where Judge Segal works.
[Compl. ¶ 8; ECF No. 1-2 at 4]. Receipt of this letter
caused an increase in Plaintiff's anxiety and panic
attacks. [Compl. ¶ 59].
History of Prior Litigation
instant action is at least the sixth action in which
Plaintiff has brought claims against Defendants or other
individuals and entities associated with the events alleged
in the Complaint. Each of these former actions was dismissed
with prejudice. The Court recaps below the prior actions and
Elliott v. Segal, No. 1677CV00552 (Mass. Super. Ct.)
April 15, 2016, Plaintiff brought suit against Judge Segal,
Patzke, Al Leone, The Salem News, Editor-in-Chief of
The Salem News David Olsen, and reporter Julie
Manganis alleging defamation, libel, slander, and harassment.
[ECF No. 18-2 at 3, 8, 10]. The claims against Olsen and
Manganis were dismissed. [Id. at 5; ECF No. 19-1 at
2]. Following a hearing on pending Rule 12 motions on
September 20, 2016, the court dismissed claims against Judge
Segal and Patzke because their provision of information to
the police was statutorily protected unless it was knowingly
false, which Plaintiff could not demonstrate. [ECF No. 18-2
at 6]. The court also dismissed the claims against Leone
because the facts alleged failed to state a claim.
Elliott v. Baker, No. ...