United States District Court, D. Maine
KATHLEEN A. KRISTIANSEN, Plaintiff
TOWN OF KITTERY, et al., Defendants
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON MOTION TO DISMISS
H. Rich III, United States Magistrate Judge
that the plaintiff's claims pursuant to Sections 1983 and
1985 of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983,
1985, are barred by the relevant statute of limitations or,
in the alternative, fail to state a claim, defendants Town of
Kittery and Kittery Police Department (together, the
“Kittery defendants”) move to dismiss the
plaintiff's complaint. See Defendants Town of
Kittery and Kittery Police Department's Motion To Dismiss
(“Motion”) (ECF No. 8). On the showing made, I
conclude that the Kittery defendants have demonstrated
neither that the plaintiff's claims are time-barred, nor
that her allegations are insufficient. However, I conclude
that the Kittery Police Department is not a proper defendant.
Consequently, I recommend the court grant the motion as to
the Kittery Police Department and otherwise deny it.
Applicable Legal Standards
motions to dismiss the Supreme Court has stated:
While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a
plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007) (citations and internal punctuation omitted). This
standard requires the pleading of “only enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Id. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court
assumes the truth of all of the well-pleaded facts in the
complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff. Román-Oliveras v. P.R. Elec. Power
Auth., 655 F.3d 43, 45 (1st Cir. 2011). Ordinarily, in
weighing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, “a court may not
consider any documents that are outside of the complaint, or
not expressly incorporated therein, unless the motion is
converted into one for summary judgment.” Alt.
Energy, Inc. v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 267
F.3d 30, 33 (1st Cir. 2001). “There is, however, a
narrow exception for documents the authenticity of which are
not disputed by the parties; for official public records; for
documents central to plaintiffs' claim; or for documents
sufficiently referred to in the complaint.”
Id. (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
pro se plaintiff's complaint may not consist
entirely of “conclusory allegations that merely parrot
the relevant legal standard[, ]” Young v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., 717 F.3d 224, 231 (1st Cir. 2013), it
is subject to “less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). But see Ferranti
v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890 (1st Cir. 1980) (explaining
that the liberal standard applied to the pleadings of pro
se plaintiffs “is not to say that pro se
plaintiffs are not required to plead basic facts sufficient
to state a claim”).
complaint sets forth the following relevant factual
allegations. On April 25, 1977, when she was 13 years
old, the plaintiff was raped by a 31-year-old man who was a
resident of Kittery, Maine. Complaint for a Civil Suit
(“Complaint”) (ECF No. 1) at 5. Following the
rape, the assailant continued to stalk and harass the
plaintiff. Id. The defendant Ronald Avery, Youth
Services Officer, Kittery Police Department, interviewed the
assailant on March 24, 1978. Id. at 5-6. During that
interview, the assailant admitted to engaging in a sexual
relationship with the plaintiff. Id. Later that day,
defendant Gary D. Finley, Lieutenant, Kittery Police
Department, took a written confession from the assailant,
which was also witnessed by defendant Edward F. Strong, then
Sergeant and later Chief, Kittery Police Department.
Id. at 6. The assailant's confession was not
forwarded to the York County District Attorney. Id.
The defendant Kittery Police Department, along with its
employees, defendants Avery, Finley, and Strong, withheld the
assailant's confession from the plaintiff until 2011.
Id. The defendants failed to collect any testimonial
evidence from her. Id. at 7.
days after securing the assailant's confession, the
defendants orchestrated a “youth meeting, ” held
by defendant Avery, during which the plaintiff had to
confront her alleged rapist even though the defendants knew
that he had confessed to having a criminal sexual
relationship with her, and that he had a “temper,
” “behavioral problems, ” and a
“criminal record.” Id.
his release by the defendants, the alleged assailant
continued to stalk the plaintiff. Id. at 8. In 2002,
the plaintiff contacted the defendants, this time defendant
Steve Hamel, Detective, Kittery Police Department, to report
the 1977 rape again. Id. at 7. Defendant Hamel told
the plaintiff that he would “look into the matter,
” but he did not respond to any of her attempts to
contact him after that, until 2011. Id. at 7, 8. In
the intervening years, the plaintiff was able to secure a
state-court order of protection against the assailant.
Id. at 8. In 2011, the plaintiff again contacted the
Kittery Police Department, and defendant Hamel requested that
she produce a written statement and make of video recording
of her testimony. Id. Despite this additional
evidence, defendant Hamel ignored it and sent only the
previously-collected evidence from defendant Avery's 1978
investigation to the York County District Attorney.
Id. The plaintiff alleges that defendant Hamel
“put [her] through all the emotional turmoil of
reliving the rape . . . and assured [her] it was a good
case” only to withhold her testimony from the
prosecutor. Id. at 8-9.