PATRICK SKRABEC; NEIL SKRABEC; AND MARY ANN SKRABEC, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
TOWN OF NORTH ATTLEBORO; DANIEL ARRIGHI; JOSHUA MCMAHON; KEVIN MCKEON; JOHN DOES 1 THROUGH 20, Defendants, Appellees.
FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS Hon. Nathaniel M. Gorton, U.S. District Judge.
Jeffrey B. Pine, Maria F. Deaton, and Lynch & Pine LLC on
brief for appellants.
W. Crotty and Pierce Davis & Perritano LLP on brief for
Lynch and Selya, Circuit Judges, and Levy, District Judge.
appeal arises from the grant of the Defendants' summary
judgment motion following the Plaintiffs' failure to
oppose the motion within the timeframe set by the district
court. The Plaintiffs, citing excusable neglect, sought
relief from the judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 60(b)(1), which the court denied. Finding no error,
we affirm the judgment.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
December 2012, during the week following the shooting at
Sandy Hook Elementary School, Patrick Skrabec - then a
student at North Attleboro High School - was arrested after
telling high school classmates that "he would like to
shoot up the school." Skrabec v. Town of North
Attleboro, 321 F.R.D. 46, 47 (D. Mass. 2017). Patrick
was charged with the misdemeanor offenses of threatening to
commit a crime, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 2, and
disturbing a school assembly, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, §
40. Id. Following a jury trial, Patrick was
acquitted of both charges. Id.
wake of his acquittal, Patrick and his parents, Neil and Mary
Ann Skrabec, (collectively, the "Skrabecs"), filed
suit, alleging that by arresting and prosecuting Patrick, the
Town of North Attleboro, along with the Town's Detective
Daniel Arrighi, and Police Officers Joshua McMahon and Kevin
McKeon, (collectively, the "Town"), (1) conspired
to violate and violated Patrick's constitutional rights
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (2) acted negligently, (3)
negligently inflicted emotional distress, (4) committed
malicious prosecution, and (5) deprived Neil and Mary Ann
Skrabec of consortium with their son, Patrick. Id.
The Town answered and raised affirmative defenses. Following
a scheduling conference, the district court ordered the
parties to file dispositive motions by October 31, 2016, and
their opposition to any motions by November 30, 2016.
Thereafter, the Skrabecs sent the Town a settlement demand
letter on October 3, 2016. Sadly, on October 20, Patrick
passed away at the age of 21.
Town filed its motion for summary judgment on October 28. The
motion asserted that probable cause did in fact exist to
arrest Patrick; the individual defendants were entitled to
qualified immunity; the defendants' conduct was not
sufficiently outrageous to impose liability for intentional
infliction of emotional distress; and the Skrabecs'
parental loss of consortium claim was not recognized under
November 21, the Skrabecs' attorney e-mailed the
following message to the Town's attorney:
If you have a few minutes either today or tomorrow I'd
like to touch base with you on this. As you know Patrick
passed away and just want ...