United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Josephine Amatucci, Plaintiff, Pro Se.
of Wolfeboro, NH, Defendant, represented by Garry R. Lane,
Ransmeier & Spellman.
Owen, Defendant, represented by Garry R. Lane, Ransmeier &
Houseman, Defendant, represented by Garry R. Lane, Ransmeier
Chase, Defendant, represented by Garry R. Lane, Ransmeier &
Emerson, Defendant, represented by Garry R. Lane, Ransmeier &
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
K. JOHNSTONE, Magistrate Judge.
civil rights action, filed, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983, by
plaintiff Josephine Amatucci, is before the court for
preliminary review, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Â§ 1915(e)(2) and LR
4.3(d)(2). Several cases filed by Amatucci have been
consolidated into this case. See Order (doc. no. 27);
Amatucci v. Dube, No. 16-cv-207-JD (D.N.H. July 25, 2016),
ECF No. 5. All of the pleadings filed in the consolidated
cases have been redocketed in this matter, as either motions
or complaint addenda. Accordingly, before this court for
preliminary review, in this case, are: the original complaint
(doc. no. 1); the complaint addenda (doc. nos. 3-9, 12-16,
18-23, 25, 28-32, 34-41, 44, 45, 48, and 51); the factual
assertions in Amatucci's motions (doc. nos. 17, 26, 33,
43, 49, and 50); and all of the attachments filed with any of
the documents listed here, including a CD (doc. no. 6) and
two DVDs (doc. nos. 31 and 36). Also before the court is
Amatucci's motion for summary judgment (doc. no. 17).
7, 2014, Incident
Wolfeboro Police Department
7, 2014, Amatucci went to the Wolfeboro Police Department
("WPD"), in the Wolfeboro Public Safety Building
("PSB"). There, Amatucci complained to WPD Chief
Stuart Chase about a "bogus" traffic violation
filed against her in August 2013 by WPD Officer Dean Rondeau.
Amatucci alleges that WPD policy mandates that, in response
to her complaint, Chase initiate an investigation of her
allegations. Instead, Amatucci alleges, Chase pointed his
finger in her face and told her that he would "get"
her and arrest her "on the spot" if she ever again
accused any WPD officer of misconduct. Doc. No. 1, at 6.
Amatucci asserts that Chase then physically pushed her out of
Wolfeboro Town Hall
states that she was frightened by Chase, and so left the WPD
and went directly to the Town Hall for the Town of Wolfeboro
("Town") to report Chase's threat to the Town
Board of Selectmen ("Board"), as she believed that
the Board had disciplinary authority over Town employees,
including WPD officers. At Town Hall, Amatucci spoke to Town
employee Anne Marble, who told Amatucci that the Board had no
jurisdiction to address issues of police misconduct, and that
Amatucci should contact the Town Police Commission. Marble
also told Amatucci that the members of the Board were not
then at Town Hall, as they were in court in Concord, along
with Town Manager Dave Owen, and could not be reached.
started to leave Town Hall. As she did so, the acting Town
Manager, Town Planner Rob Houseman, approached Amatucci,
"grabbed" her arm, and ordered her to go with him
to an unused courtroom located away from Marble's office.
Prior to grabbing Amatucci's arm, Houseman had directed a
Town employee to call the police to report that Amatucci was
creating a disturbance, which one of them did. Amatucci
states that Houseman attempted to confine her to the
courtroom until the police arrived.
asserts that she "was able to free herself from his hold
and headed straight to Ms. Marble's office to tell her
what Houseman had just done to her." Doc. No. 28, at 9.
Houseman jumped in front of the door to Marble's office,
stopping Amatucci from reporting her grievance. Amatucci
states that any disturbance that occurred at Town Hall on May
7, 2014, was caused, not by her, but by Houseman's
actions in trying to prevent Amatucci from lodging her
complaints against Chase and Houseman. Amatucci then stated
that she was leaving Town Hall and going to the Carroll
County Sheriff's Department ("CCSD") to report
the actions of Chase and Houseman that day.
Motor Vehicle Pursuit and Arrest on May 7, 2014
response to the disturbance call to the police, WPD Officer
James O'Brien went to Town Hall, but did not arrive until
after Amatucci had left. After being advised that Amatucci
was on her way to the CCSD, O'Brien called the CCSD and
the WPD to ask for assistance in a pursuit of Amatucci. WPD
Officer Shane Emerson responded and located Amatucci, who was
in her car on her way to the CCSD. Emerson put on his lights
and siren to attempt to pull Amatucci over for speeding.
Amatucci did not pull over. Amatucci asserts that she was not
speeding, and that she did not stop her car in response to
Emerson's lights and siren because she believed the
police had no probable cause to stop her. Amatucci further
states that she could see Chase's cruiser following her,
with lights and siren activated, and believed Chase was
pursuing her to carry out his earlier threat to "get
[her] and arrest [her] on the spot, " which frightened
her, and she continued driving to try to reach the CCSD for
her own protection.
she arrived at the CCSD, Amatucci was signaled by hand, by
CCSD employees Sgt. Timothy Thompson and Deputy Brian King to
pull over, which she did. Amatucci got out of her car and
immediately told Thompson and King that she was on her way to
the CCSD because she needed help, and that she was in fear
for her safety. Amatucci was arrested by Thompson, Emerson,
and Chase, and placed into a WPD cruiser to be transported to
jail for booking and processing. While in the WPD cruiser,
Amatucci spoke to Thompson and told him of what had occurred
that day, that she had done nothing wrong, and that she
needed protection. Amatucci was then transported to the jail
to be processed.
Amatucci's arrest, Chase had her car towed. Amatucci
states that it took her three days to gather the money to get
her car out of impound. Amatucci states that, without a car,
she was unable to leave her home, and was thus
"imprisoned" for three days.
public Board meeting was held on May 21, 2014. At that time,
Amatucci asked Owen to investigate the May 7, 2014, incident.
Owen and the Board declined to investigate the May 7, 2014,
incident, and instead, issued a "No Trespassing
Order" ("NTO") to Amatucci. The NTO, which was
approved and signed by Owen and the Board, largely prohibited
her from entering the Town Hall, and entirely prevented her
from entering the PSB. The NTO, issued May 21, 2014, stated
In light of the unfortunate incidents at the Public Safety
Building and Town Hall on Wednesday, May 7, 2014, and in
light of several other incidents during the past several
years, I am hereby ordering you, on behalf of the Town and
until further written notice, not to enter the Public Safety
Building, at 251 South Main Street in Wolfeboro or the Town
Hall at 84 South Main Street in Wolfeboro. Your course of
conduct has caused great disturbance to the Town's
employees and have caused some of them to fear for their
No. 28, at 19. The order concludes:
This order is issued pursuant to the Town Manager's and
the Board of Selectmen's authority to regulate the use of
Town property under RSA 37:5, RSA 41:11-a and any other
applicable statute. It is also issued pursuant to the
authority of the Town Manger and the Board of Selectmen to
manage and supervise the affairs of the Town to ensure the
safety and well-being of its employees.
Again, we regret having to take these steps with respect to
any citizen, but believe that they are well justified in the
interest of the efficiency of public employees and their
safety and well-being.
No. 28-1, at 21.
letter dated May 23, 2014, advising Amatucci of the NTO, Owen
Relative to the request you made to me at the Board of
Selectmen's meeting on May 21, 2014, where you asked that
I undertake an investigation of the incidents that occurred
on May 7th which resulted in your arrest, I decline to
undertake any such investigation.
Furthermore, the Board of Selectmen has approved and signed a
"No Trespass" order which I am enclosing for your
information. As you will see, you are now prohibited from
entering either the Town Hall or Public Safety Building for
any purpose except for attending public meetings. Any
violation of this "No Trespass" order by you may
result in your arrest and prosecution for criminal trespass.
I regret having to take this action against you, but your
verbal abuse, intimidation, and harassment of Town employees
has got to stop.
No. 28-1, at 9.
alleges that by virtue of the NTO, the employees of both
buildings were improperly advised that Amatucci had done
something wrong that was serious enough to warrant denying
her access to those buildings. Amatucci alleges that her
reputation was thus damaged by the NTO, and was further
damaged by a local newspaper story about the issuance of the
states that she was not afforded a hearing or any other
opportunity to oppose the NTO prior to its issuance. On
November 7, 2014, almost five months after the NTO was
issued, Owen sent Amatucci a letter stating that the Board
would afford her an opportunity to be heard in opposition to
the NTO. That letter stated:
Relative to the "No Trespass" order that the Board
of Selectmen approved at their May 21, 2014 meeting, and
which was issued to you on May 23, 2014, they would like to
provide you with the opportunity to state any reason that you
may have for opposing the order. Once the Board of Selectmen
receives your written reasons for opposing the "No
Trespass" order, the Board of Selectmen will carefully
consider your reasons for opposing the order in deciding
whether it should continue to be in force. The Board of
Selectmen can then either: (1) continue the "No
Trespass" order as is; (2) revoke the "No
Trespass" order; or (3) amend the order in some fashion,
such as allowing you to set forth your reasons in advance for
needing to visit the Public Safety Building or the Interim
Town Offices location on a case-by-case basis, which could
then be reviewed based on your need to conduct business with
As we have seen since the issuance of the "No
Trespass" order to you, it already allows you to attend
public meetings, and you have made liberal use of that
ability. And in the case in which you needed to register a
vehicle at the Town Clerk's office, we made an
appointment for you with the Town Clerk, and waived the
"No Trespass" order for the duration of your visit
to her office. Further, you have been involved in no further
disturbances at the Town Offices requiring the calls to the
Police Department for assistance. So, from the Town's
perspective, the "No Trespass" order has been
effective and has served its purpose. However, if you have
reasons for opposing the "No Trespass" order or
believe that it could be improved, the Board of Selectmen is
soliciting your input with this request.
No. 28-1, at 23. Amatucci's filings are silent as to
whether or how she responded to the November 7, 2014, letter,
although the record indicates that the NTO remains in effect.
October 2014 Harassment Complaint
October 1, 2014, Amatucci submitted a harassment complaint
against Houseman, based on the events of May 7, 2014. On
October 9, 2014, Owen and Board Chairperson Linda Murray
wrote a letter to Amatucci stating as follows:
Relative to your demand for an investigation to be performed
on the role of Rob Houseman during the disturbance that you
created at Town Hall on May 7, 2014, I have previously
communicated to you that I decline to undertake any such
investigation. In fact, I support and applaud Mr.
Houseman's actions during the incident to protect
frightened employees from your abusive behavior.
Your recent attempts to portray yourself as the person that
was harassed, rather than the Town employees that you were
abusing with your out-of-control behavior, is bizarre to say
the least, but given your long history of unfounded
accusations and litigation with the town, not totally
unexpected. We will not be party to your attempts to rewrite
history and make other persons responsible for the results of
your own behaviors.
No. 28-1, at 7.
October 1, 2015, and July 11, 2016, Incidents
September 2014, Owen advised Amatucci that the prohibitions
of the NTO would be waived for the duration of an appointment
at Town Hall, on September 8, 2014, at 8:00 a.m., to allow
Amatucci to register her car. The following year, Amatucci
states that she received permission from a Town Clerk's
office employee to go to Town Hall to register her car on
October 1, 2015. Amatucci states that when she arrived at
Town Hall to register her car, however, Owen called the
police and then started to scream at Amatucci in front of
members of the public. Amatucci claims that Owen called the
police and yelled at her in retaliation for her previous
accusations of misconduct against the Town and WPD employees.
Amatucci does not allege that she was arrested or had any
further interaction with any of the defendants on that date.
11, 2016, Amatucci went to Town Hall to pay her property
taxes pursuant to an appointment she had made with the Town
Clerk. Amatucci asserts that when she arrived at Town Hall
Houseman was "standing over" her in an effort to