United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
K. Johnstone, United States Magistrate Judge.
Torro brought suit alleging federal claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and state law claims against Mark Goldberg,
Marilyn Gordon, and the Town of Bradford. The claims arise
from decisions not to grant Torro a certificate of occupancy
for the Bradford Village Inn and not to grant him a tax
abatement for the property. The defendants each move for
judgment on the pleadings, asserting that the claims are
barred by the statute of limitations and that Torro fails to
allege actionable claims. In response, Torro objects to
dismissal of only his equal protection claim and his state
law claim against Gordon for violation of RSA 91-A and
against Gordon and Goldberg for intentional infliction of
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(c) is addressed under the standard for a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Shay v.
Walters, 702 F.3d 76, 82 (1st Cir. 2012). The court
takes the plaintiff's factual allegations as true and
draws reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Kando v. R.I. State Bd. Of Elections, 880 F.3d 53,
58 (1st Cir. 2018). Legal conclusions are not credited.
Najas Realty, LLC v. Seekonk Water Dist., 821 F.3d
134, 140 (1st Cir. 2016). Taken in that light, the complaint
must provide facts to support a claim that “is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
alleges in the complaint that Marilyn Gordon owned and
operated the Candlelite Inn as a “Bed and
Breakfast” in Bradford, New Hampshire. Torro alleges
that Gordon was romantically involved with Mark Goldberg, the
Chief of the Bradford Fire Department, and that Goldberg
lived at the Inn with Gordon.
began to list the property for sale beginning in 2010, with
listing prices of $500, 000 and $600, 000. In August of 2014,
Torro made an offer on the property of $175, 000, which was
rejected, and then an offer of $195, 000, which was also
rejected. The Inn was then listed for sale at auction.
asked two of the Bradford selectmen if they knew any reason
why the Inn could not be operated as a Bed and Breakfast.
They denied knowing of any issues and said that he could
continue to run the Inn as a Bed and Breakfast. Torro was the
highest bidder at the auction, held in August of 2014, and
paid $258, 000 for the Inn.
Torro took possession of the Inn, Gordon told him he could
not continue to use the name “Candlelite Inn”
without paying for the trade name. Torro declined to buy the
name and renamed the Inn, “Bradford Village Inn.”
Torro invested in improvements in the building, including new
electrical wiring, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and
new chimney liners and caps. The chimneys were tested for
Bradford Code Enforcement Officer, Walter Royal, visited the
building while the improvements were underway. While Torro
was talking with Royal outside the Inn, Goldberg drove up and
appeared to be angry as he approached Torro and Royal.
Goldberg said that Torro could not open the Inn because of
“all the deficiencies.” Torro asked why the
deficiencies did not prevent Gordon from running the Inn, and
October 6, 2014, Torro attended a board of selectmen meeting
to explain the improvements he was making to the Inn.
Goldberg also attended the meeting and said that because he
knew Gordon he would not be able to do the fire safety
inspection. Because Goldberg recused himself from the
inspection, it was done by the state fire marshal, who did
not issue a certificate of occupancy.
December of 2014, the Bradford Business Association planned
to hold a luncheon at the Inn to welcome Torro to the
Bradford Business Community. Gordon objected to holding the
meeting at the Inn, and it was held elsewhere.
March 10, 2015, Goldberg sent an email to the state fire
marshal's office to report a listing for the Inn on a
rental website. Goldberg asked if renting the Inn was
legal. Gordon sent Goldberg an email about the rental listing
the day before. The fire marshal had the matter investigated,
and the investigator determined that because Torro was
renting the entire building, not individual rooms within the
building, that rental activity did not come under the Fire
Code's restriction on a lodging or rooming house and was
not prohibited by the fire codes.
and his wife petitioned Bradford for a tax abatement, which
was being considered by the town in April or May of 2015.
Torro alleges that the selectmen were prepared to grant him a
fifty percent tax abatement on the Inn property. Torro
further alleges that Gordon, who is the treasurer of the Town
of Bradford, objected to the tax abatement and ...