FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Nathaniel M. Gorton, U.S. District Judge]
V. Siskopoulos, with whom Alexandra C. Siskopoulos and
Siskopoulos Law Firm, LLP were on brief, for appellant.
Silverfine, with whom Deidre Brennan Regan and Brody,
Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten, LLP were on brief, for
Torruella, Lipez, and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
Angiuoni, a military veteran, brought a claim against the
Town of Billerica and Daniel Rosa, Chief of the Billerica
Police Department, under the Uniform Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA"), see 38
U.S.C. § 4301-4335, claiming that his status as a
veteran was a motivating factor for defendants'
termination of his employment. A jury found in favor of
defendants. In this appeal, Angiuoni argues that the district
court made a series of errors in its evidentiary rulings that
warrant a new trial. We affirm.
recite the facts as the jury could have found them. See
Sinai v. New Eng. Tel. & Tel. Co., 3 F.3d 471, 472
(1st Cir. 1993). Angiuoni, an Army veteran, began working as
a probationary patrol officer for the Billerica Police
Department ("Department") after graduating in 2009
from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Police
Academy. The Department's probationary period lasts eight
weeks and is designed to determine if a new officer will be a
good fit for the Billerica force.
Department has a Field Training Program to help police
officer trainees build on their instruction at the academy.
One component of the program is on-the-job feedback from
Field Training Officers ("FTOs"), who accompany
individual trainees in cruisers to evaluate and comment on
FTOs observed and reported on numerous incidents and issues
with his performance. For example, early in his field
training, Angiuoni backed a cruiser into a wall while
transporting two prisoners to court. Then, on the return
trip, he shouted at a crew of prisoners cleaning up the
roadside, which his FTO, Officer McKenna, told him was
another occasion, Angiuoni, accompanied by FTO Moran, made a
traffic stop of a car containing two females and two males
who appeared to be in their late fifties or early sixties.
When Angiuoni told Moran that he planned to search the car
for drugs because he thought he had smelled something, Moran
said he did not smell anything and told Angiuoni not to
search the car. Angiuoni replied that he was taught at the
police academy to search every car he stopped because of the
potential for drugs. Moran explained that that was not
correct, and, in that instance, finding drugs was unlikely
given the ages of the individuals.
Angiuoni argued with Officer Moran when they spotted a white
van parked at a shopping mall with two people apparently
"making out" in the back. Angiuoni ran toward the
van, disregarding Moran's instructions, twice, not to do
so. When approached and questioned, the female in the vehicle
explained that the male was her boyfriend. Despite
Moran's contrary guidance, Moran insisted that he was
taught at the police academy to rush a vehicle in such
circumstances because a rape could have been happening.
other episodes that occurred while Officer Moran accompanied
Angiuoni similarly involved Angiuoni's ignoring
instructions or debating with Moran about what should be
done. During one exchange, after Moran explained how Angiuoni
should have handled a house alarm call differently, Angiuoni
complained that another officer who started training around
the same time as he did was being treated more favorably.
Moran explained that that officer had prior law enforcement
experience in Massachusetts and, hence, was already familiar
with the responsibilities of a police officer. Angiuoni then
said he had been in Iraq, and he knew what things were like
and that people were out to get him.
2009, Angiuoni took handgun and rifle tests. He passed the
handgun test, but did not qualify on the rifle test. He was
the only officer who failed the rifle test that day and the
only officer in that training cycle who did not qualify.
Angiuoni's probationary period ended, Lieutenant Opland,
who oversees operation of the Field Training Program, did not
clear Angiuoni for patrol. The FTOs who had worked with him
reported concerns about Angiuoni's progress, demeanor,
and professionalism, and stated that he did not listen to
feedback, had trouble taking instructions, and became
argumentative with them. ...