Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Drake v. Town of New Boston

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

June 6, 2017

Alexandra Drake, Plaintiff
v.
Town of New Boston, et al., Defendants Opinion No. 2017 DNH 106

          ORDER

          Steven J. McAuliffe United States District Judge

         Plaintiff, Alexandra Drake, worked as a police officer for the Town of New Boston Police Department from June 1, 2013, until June 9, 2015, when she was placed on administrative leave. On December 8, 2015, the New Boston Board of Selectmen terminated her employment. Drake subsequently filed a multicount complaint against the Town of New Boston, New Hampshire (the “Town” or “New Boston”); James Brace, in his official capacity as New Boston's Chief of Police and in his individual capacity; New Boston Board of Selectmen members Dwight Lovejoy, Christine Quirk and Joseph Constance, in their individual and official capacities; New Boston Police Lieutenant Michael Masella, in his individual and official capacities; and Gary Fisher, Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department, in his individual and official capacities.

         Fisher and Masella have filed for judgment on the pleadings on several of Drake's claims against them. Masella's motion for judgment on the pleadings is limited to Drake's Section 1983 claims against him, while Fisher moves for judgment on all of Drake's claims. Masella's motion is granted, and Fisher's motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that, “[a]fter the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” “The standard of review of a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is the same as that for a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).” Marrero-Gutierrez v. Molina, 491 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007) (citations omitted). Accordingly, “[t]he court accepts the plaintiff's well-pleaded facts as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.” Holder v. Town of Newton, No. 09-CV-341-JD, 2010 WL 3211068, at *1 (D.N.H. Aug. 11, 2010) (citing Citibank Global Mkts., Inc. v. Santana, 573 F.3d 17, 23 (1st Cir. 2009)).

         To survive defendants' motion, each count of plaintiff's complaint must allege all of the essential elements of a viable cause of action and “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation and internal punctuation omitted). Judgment on the pleadings will be entered “only if the uncontested and properly considered facts conclusively establish the movant's entitlement to a favorable judgment.” Aponte-Torres v. Univ. of P.R., 445 F.3d 50, 54 (1st Cir. 2006).

         BACKGROUND

         The facts as set forth in Drake's complaint are extensively detailed in the court's contemporaneous order on the motion to dismiss filed by the Town of New Bedford, Chief Brace, Dwight Lovejoy, Christine Quirk and Joseph Constance. The parties' familiarity with the relevant facts is assumed, and the court shall not repeat them here. Where necessary, the court will refer to pertinent or additional facts.[1]

         DISCUSSION

         Count 1 - Civil Conspiracy (Brace, Masella, Fisher)

         Fisher has moved for judgment on the pleadings as to Drake's civil conspiracy claim against him.

         Under New Hampshire law, the “essential elements” of civil conspiracy are: (1) two or more persons; (2) an object to be accomplished (i.e., an unlawful object to be achieved by lawful or unlawful means, or a lawful object to be achieved by unlawful means); (3) an agreement on the object or course of action; (4) one or more unlawful overt acts; and (5) damages as the proximate result thereof. Jay Edwards, Inc. v. Baker, 130 N.H. 41, 47 (1987). Fisher argues that Drake's civil conspiracy charge against him must be dismissed because Drake fails to sufficiently allege that Fisher agreed to participate in or facilitate any unlawful purpose.

         Drake alleges that Brace, Masella, and Fisher entered into “overt or covert” agreements to “file false complaints against Drake, coerce or facilitate coverups, obfuscate, or delay the discovery of truth” in an effort to conceal Masella's illegal conduct, and engaged in acts to, inter alia, “conduct an improper, biased investigation” in an effort to force Drake out of her job. Compl. ¶ 123. In response to Fisher's motion, Drake argues that her allegations concerning Brace's purported involvement in Fisher's investigation, and the results of the investigation, support an inference that Brace, Fisher, and/or Masella entered into an overt or tacit agreement to conspire against her.

         Drake offers no precedent in support of her argument, and the court is not persuaded. As noted in the court's order on the Town Defendants' motion to dismiss, Drake's complaint lacks any factual allegation that would support a plausible inference ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.