United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM E. SMITH, Chief Judge.
this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 11.) Plaintiff has filed a Response (ECF No. 17) and
Defendants have filed a Reply (ECF No. 18). For the reasons
set forth below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED in part
and DENIED in part.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). This includes situations where a party
“fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). In determining whether there exists a
genuine issue of material fact, this Court must review the
facts “in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party.” Zambrana-Marrero v. Suarez-Cruz, 172
F.3d 122, 125 (1st Cir. 1999). However, neither party may
rely solely on allegations made in the complaint or their
briefs, and must instead supply specific facts “citing
to particular parts of materials in the record . . . .”
October 24, 2011, a young girl was riding her bike to school
through the public parking lot adjacent to the Hank Soures
Complex. (Defs.' Statement of Undisputed Facts ¶ 1,
ECF No. 12.) The girl reported that, while riding
through the parking lot, a man “drove up to her in his
van, got out and asked her to come over to him.”
(Id. ¶ 2.) Specifically, the man said
“hey, come here.” (Detective Rosciti Statement,
ECF No. 11-3.) Frightened by the encounter, the girl went
home and told her mother what had happened. (Id.)
The mother called the police, and several officers, including
Detective Donti Rosciti (“Detective Rosciti”),
responded to the parking lot.
arriving in the parking lot, the officers found David Sirois
(“Sirois”). (Defs.' Statement of Undisputed
Facts ¶ 3, ECF No. 12.) Both the girl and her mother
came to the parking lot, where the girl identified Sirois as
the individual who had approached her. (Id. ¶
4.) The officers then took Sirois to the police station for
questioning and later charged him with child enticement.
(Id. ¶¶ 6-11; Police Record, ECF No.
17-2.) While the charges against Sirois were eventually
dropped (Police Record, ECF No. 17-2), the fact of
Sirois' arrest was made public by The Times
newspaper. (ECF No. 17-7.)
has brought suit against the City of Pawtucket and various
Pawtucket Police officers for unlawful arrest (Claim (I),
false imprisonment (Claim II), malicious prosecution (Claim
III), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Claim
IV), negligent infliction of emotional distress (Claim V),
defamation (Claim VI), and a violation of the Fourth
Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Claim VII).
(Complaint, ECF No. 1-2.) Defendants have brought a motion
for summary judgment for all of Sirois' claims. Each
claim is addressed below.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (Claim IV)
and Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (Claim V)
intentional infliction of emotional distress
(“IIED”) and negligent infliction of emotional
distress (“NIED”) claims require Sirois to
“prove physical symptomatology resulting from the
alleged improper conduct.” Vallinoto v.
DiSandro, 688 A.2d 830, 838 (R.I. 1997) (discussing an
IIED claim); Clift v. Narragansett Television L.P.,
688 A.2d 805, 813 (R.I. 1996) (“[I]n Rhode Island no
difference exists between negligent and intentional
infliction of emotional distress claims in respect to the
need for physical symptomatology.”). This requires
“evidence of the requisite physical manifestations of
[his] alleged emotional distress.” DiBattista v.
State, 808 A.2d 1081, 1089 (R.I. 2002). In addition,
Sirois must provide some evidence that establishes causation.
Vallinoto, 688 A.2d at 838.
prove causation under Rhode Island law, expert testimony is
required. In the past, the First Circuit has held that the
expert testimony requirement was an open question in Rhode
Rhode Island case law is silent on the question of the
necessity of expert testimony to prove the causation element
of IIED. Section 46 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts, on
which Rhode Island's IIED claim is patterned, also fails
to provide any clues; nowhere in § 46 is the
introduction of expert medical testimony required or even
mentioned. Despite this silence, however, we find that under
the particular facts of this case expert medical testimony
was indispensable to the proof of causation.
Andrade v. Jamestown Hous. Auth., 82 F.3d 1179, 1187
(1st Cir. 1996).
the Rhode Island Supreme Court has subsequently made clear
that claims of “intentional infliction of emotional
distress . . . require . . . competent expert medical opinion
regarding origin, existence, and causation.”
Vallinoto, 688 A.2d at 839. In the
Vallinoto case, the Rhode Island Supreme Court held
that a directed verdict was appropriate where plaintiff
failed “to produce at trial any admissible competent
medical evidence showing objective physical manifestation of
her alleged psychic injuries that ...