United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Torresen United States Chief District Judge.
Justin Angelo, an Officer of the Old Town Police Department,
brings this negligence action against Campus Crest at Orono,
LLC (“Campus Crest”), for
injuries he sustained responding to a call for assistance at
an apartment complex owned by Campus Crest. The case is
properly in federal court on diversity jurisdiction after
being removed from Maine Superior Court by the Defendant. 28
U.S.C. §§ 1332, 1441. Before me is Campus
Crest's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 69
(“Def.'s Mot.”).). The
issues are 1) whether, on this record, Campus Crest owed
Officer Angelo a duty; 2) whether Campus Crest caused Officer
Angelo's injuries; and 3) whether the Professional
Rescuer's Rule (or related public policy concerns) bars
the Plaintiff's suit. For the reasons stated below, the
motion is DENIED.
facts are mostly undisputed; this account is drawn primarily
from them.Additional facts are taken from the record
as necessary. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). Disputed facts that are
properly supported are taken in the light most favorable to
the non-movant. Where a fact has been fairly qualified and
the qualification is supported by a record citation, I use
the fact as qualified. To the extent that an objection has
been made to a fact that I rely on, I have overruled that
Parties at The Grove
Crest rents apartments to tenants including college students
at a complex known as The Grove. Answer ¶ 7 (ECF No.
28). Campus Crest has advertised that there are no rules for
its tenants at The Grove. SMF ¶ 22. When The Grove first
opened, the Defendant advertised that there were “no
hot dog police patrols.” SMF ¶ 23. New tenants at
The Grove are given red Solo cups, which are commonly used in
drinking games. SMF ¶ 25. After The Grove opened in
2012, there were large gatherings there that required a
police response to disperse. SMF ¶ 26.
Grove is fenced and gated, but the entrance gate has rarely
functioned to keep non-tenants out of the property,
facilitating the entry of large crowds SMF ¶¶
27-28. The Orono Police Department repeatedly spoke with The
Grove's management about repairing the gate in order to deal
with the crowds. SMF ¶ 29. In 2012, the Orono Police
Department warned The Grove that because it was creating an
environment in which these large gatherings were taking
place, the police would begin billing The Grove for instances
in which multiple police agencies had to respond to a
gathering. SMF ¶ 30.
2013, prior to the start of the 2013-2014 academic year at
the University of Maine, the Orono Police Department
suggested to The Grove that police be detailed to the
premises to enforce alcohol-related laws and to act as a
visible presence, in order to deter future large gatherings.
SMF ¶ 31. The Grove agreed, and police details were put
in place for the first few weekends of the school year. SMF
¶¶ 32-33. That fall, there were no problems at The
Grove requiring a large police response. SMF ¶ 35.
During the summer of 2014, Chief Ewing of the Orono Police
Department emailed The Grove about arranging police details
for the first few weekends of the 2014-2015 academic year,
but he did not receive a response. SMF ¶ 36. Chief Ewing
was told by The Grove that because fall 2013 had gone
smoothly, The Grove did not think it was necessary to have
police details in the fall of 2014. SMF ¶ 37. Chief
Ewing argued that there were no problems in 2013
because of the police details, but The Grove said it
did not see the need to continue the details. SMF ¶ 38.
The Night of September 6th and 7th,
Crest did not arrange for a police detail at The Grove for
the night of Saturday, September 6. SMF ¶ 39. The Orono
Police Department nevertheless assigned two officers to foot
patrol duty at The Grove starting around 8:00 p.m. that
night. SMF ¶¶ 3, 40. The decision to assign two
officers to The Grove was on the initiative of the Police
Department, independent of any arrangement with Campus Crest.
SMF ¶ 41. The officers were there to write summonses for
alcohol violations and to be a “visible uniformed
presence.” SMF ¶ 42. While the officers were
present, no arrests were made and Chief Ewing was not made
aware of any other issues. SMF ¶ 43.
point, the two officers returned to the police station for 20
to 30 minutes, which they would not have done if they had
been assigned to a detail. SMF ¶ 45. When the officers
returned, they found that a crowd had formed between
buildings 8 and 9 at The Grove. SMF ¶ 46. The
Grove's gates were open that night, allowing unfettered
access to the property. SMF ¶ 44. The officers watched
the crowd continue to grow for about 30 minutes. SMF
¶¶ 2, 47.
midnight, The Grove's onsite manager approached the
officers and asked them to disperse the crowd for being too
loud during “quiet time.” SMF ¶¶ 48-49.
At that point, there were between 100 and 200 people in the
area between buildings 8 and 9. SMF ¶ 50. Some of the
people in the crowd were drinking excessively and behaving in
an “out of control” manner. SMF ¶ 51.
Orono officers, then the only law enforcement present, called
for assistance from additional officers. SMF ¶¶
52-53. Officers from at least six police agencies responded,
including the Plaintiff, Officer Justin Angelo of the Old
Town Police Department. SMF ¶¶ 54-55. The Plaintiff
is and was a full time officer with the Old Town Police
Department on September 6, 2014. SMF ¶ 1.
Officer Angelo arrived at The Grove, an officer from the
Orono Police Department told him that the crowd needed to be
dispersed. SMF ¶ 56. Officer Angelo estimated the crowd
size as between 200 to 300 people and described it as
“youthful.” SMF ¶ 57-58. The crowd was
disorderly; it threw things at the police. SMF ¶¶
59, 61. In the crowd was Eric Stuckey, an engineering student
at University of Maine at Orono and a resident of building 8
at The Grove. SMF ¶¶ 7, 59, 61. Prior to his
arrest, Mr. Stuckey was not at any point observed to be
behaving in a disorderly manner.SMF ¶¶ 15-16.
the assisting police departments arrived, law enforcement
announced over a megaphone that the crowd had three minutes
to disperse. SMF ¶ 63. Mr. Stuckey heard the police
making an announcement, but he could not understand what they
were saying. SMF ¶ 64. The crowd did not disperse in
response to the announcement. SMF ¶ 65. After the
announcement, some people dumped beer from apartments
overlooking the common area onto the crowd, and some in the
crowd were yelling “show us your tits.” SMF
three minutes, officers began to disperse the crowd, which
spread out in response. SMF ¶¶ 68-69. The Plaintiff
encountered Mr. Stuckey three times in the crowd, each time
telling him and others in the area to disperse. SMF
¶¶ 9-10. The third time Officer Angelo came into
contact with Mr. Stuckey and told him to disperse, Mr.
Stuckey questioned why he had to move. SMF ¶ 71; Ex. D
to Def.'s Statement of Fact at 6 (ECF No. 70-4). Having
given Mr. Stuckey multiple warnings, Officer Angelo explained
to him that he was under arrest. SMF ¶ 72. Mr. Stuckey
did nothing to endanger himself or anyone else. SMF ¶
12, 16. Mr. Stuckey resisted being arrested and
handcuffed. Ex. A. to Def's Statement of Fact 9,
26 (ECF No. 70-1). During Mr. Stuckey's arrest, Officer
Angelo fell to the ground and broke his ankle. SMF ¶ 73.
judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is material where
it could influence the outcome of the litigation. Oahn
Nguyen Chung v. StudentCity.com, Inc., 854 F.3d 97, 101
(1st Cir. 2017). A dispute is genuine where a reasonable jury
could resolve the point in favor of the non-moving party.
Id. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the
court must construe the evidence “in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party” and draw “all
reasonable inferences” in the non-movant's favor.
Ahmed v. Johnson, 752 F.3d 490, 495 (1st Cir. 2014).
Crest moves for summary judgment on the Plaintiff's
single claim of negligence. Campus Crest argues that the
Plaintiff cannot prove duty or causation, and that in any
event the so-called Professional Rescuer's Rule (or
related public policy considerations) should bar recovery.