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Angelo v. Campus Crest at Orono, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maine

April 30, 2018

JUSTIN ANGELO, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMPUS CREST AT ORONO, LLC, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF ORONO POLICE DEPT. Third-Party Defendant.

          ORDER ON THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          NANCY TORRESEN UNITED STATES CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before me is the Town of Orono Police Department's (“OPD”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 82.) Campus Crest at Orono, LLC (“Campus Crest”) sued the OPD for breach of contract and implied contractual indemnification. Third-Party Complaint (ECF No. 30.) The OPD argues that it cannot be liable for either count because it had no contract with Campus Crest. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The following account is taken from the parties' statements of material facts, credited only to the extent that the facts are either admitted or supported by the record in accordance with Local Rule 56. I take the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant.

         Campus Crest owns and operates an apartment complex called The Grove in Orono, Maine. SMF ¶¶ 2-3 (ECF No. 87). After The Grove opened in 2012, there were a number of large gatherings that required a police response. SMF ¶ 4. The OPD warned Campus Crest of an Orono ordinance under which the OPD could seek reimbursement as a penalty for large gatherings that required multiple police agencies to respond. SMF ¶ 5; see generally Ordinances, Town of Orono, Ch. 20 art. II §§ 20:26-20:32 (2017). OPD Chief Joshua Ewing stated that the warning to Campus Crest was:

Because you are creating an environment where these large gatherings seem to take place, we're telling you now if one takes place and we have to come up here and we have to get other agencies to help us respond to deal with that issue, we're gonna bill you for all of those officers who come up here. . . . It wasn't like we were saying, hey, let's make an agreement. We are saying, we're going to enforce our ordinance against you if we're required to come up here and deal with a large event.

Ewing Dep. Tr. 23:8-19 (ECF No. 80-1). The OPD billed Campus Crest for multiple instances when the OPD and police agencies from surrounding towns had to respond to large gatherings. SMF ¶¶ 5-6. The OPD would ask each area agency that sent officers to provide it with an invoice, and the OPD billed Campus Crest the total amounts. Ewing Dep. Tr. 34:4-25.

         In 2013, before the start of the 2013-2014 school year, the OPD suggested to Campus Crest as an alternative approach that the OPD could provide special details to The Grove. The assigned officers would be on site for shifts on specified weekends at the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. SMF ¶ 7. They would enforce alcohol- related laws and deter future large gatherings. SMF ¶ 7. In return, Campus Crest would pay for those officers' time according to their hourly rate. Ewing Dep. Tr. 22:1-22. Campus Crest agreed, and the special details were implemented. SMF ¶ 8. In the fall of 2013, there were no significant problems at The Grove requiring a large police response. SMF ¶ 9.

         On August 7, 2014, Chief Ewing emailed Campus Crest about arranging special details again for the first few weekends of the 2014-2015 academic year. SMF ¶ 10. Chief Ewing's email provided an estimate for the cost of special detail shifts on August 31, September 4-6 (Thursday-Saturday), and September 11-13 (Thursday-Saturday), 2014. Ewing Dep. Ex. 7 (ECF No. 80-4). Each special detail would include a four-officer patrol from 6:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m., with the officers compensated at an average hourly rate of $45, for a total of approximately $1, 440. Ewing Dep. Ex. 7. Chief Ewing asked Campus Crest to “[p]lease let me know as soon as possible, so that we can request assistance from other agencies in a timely fashion.” Ewing Dep. Ex. 7.

         Chief Ewing did not receive a response to this email. SMF ¶ 10. Chief Ewing believed, based on conversations with Campus Crest, that Campus Crest did not think it was necessary to have additional alcohol details during the fall of 2014 because the fall of 2013 had gone smoothly. SMF ¶ 11.

         Chief Ewing nevertheless assigned two officers to foot patrol at The Grove on the evening of Saturday, September 6, 2014. SMF ¶ 12. These officers observed a crowd form at The Grove between two apartment buildings. SMF ¶ 13. Sometime after midnight on September 7, 2014, the onsite manager at The Grove approached the officers and asked them to disperse the crowd. SMF ¶ 15. The officers called for assistance from additional officers, including from the police agencies of neighboring towns. SMF ¶ 16. Officers from at least six police agencies responded. SMF ¶ 17.

         On Monday, September 8, 2014, Chief Ewing forwarded his August 7, 2014 email to Kevin Sealey, the Campus Crest Vice President of Operations, and Mr. Sealey responded the same afternoon, approving the special details as Ewing had proposed. SMF ¶ 21. Chief Ewing then additionally recommended, via email, a patrol for the evenings of September 18-20, 2014, and Mr. Sealey responded on September 9, 2014, “I do approve the additional patrols for next weekend as well as this coming weekend.” Ewing Dep. Ex. 7.

         The Town of Orono billed Campus Crest for the overtime hours of six OPD officers who responded to the request to disperse the crowd in the early hours of September 7, 2014. SMF ¶ 35.[1] Chief Ewing stated the intent of the OPD in making this invoice was to penalize Campus Crest, pursuant to the Orono ordinance. Ewing Dep. Tr. 34:19-25. Mr. Sealey characterized the bill as the “invoice for the special service detail through the Town of Orono for September 6th.” Sealey Dep. Tr. 121:25-122:1. It is not disputed that Campus Crest paid this bill. SMF ¶ 38.

         Campus Crest raises the same denial to several of the Town of Orono's facts, asserting that from 2012-2014, it met with the OPD and identified specific dates where additional security would be provided for a fee. See SMF ¶¶ 5-6, 8, 11-13, 16, 21, 23; see also SMF ΒΆ 30 (repeating the same assertion as its first additional fact). Campus Crest supports its assertion with citation to Mr. Sealey's deposition transcript, in which he merely says that Campus Crest and the OPD had agreed on specific dates to have police on the property. This testimony never identifies those specific dates nor the fee or payment structure by which Campus Crest agreed to compensate the OPD. ...


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