United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WILLIAM E. SMITH CHIEF JUDGE
Ryan Angelo Brochu (“Brochu” or
“Plaintiff”) filed an Amended Complaint (ECF No.
7-1) alleging negligence against Defendant Sirchie
Acquisition Company (“Sirchie” or
“Defendant”). Before the Court is Sirchie's
unopposed Motion for Summary Judgment (“Motion”)
(ECF No. 19). For the reasons below, the Motion is GRANTED.
Sirchie filed a Statement of Undisputed Facts
(“SUF”) (ECF No. 20) on September 21, 2017.
See DRI LR 56 (a)(1). On a summary-judgment motion,
“any fact alleged in the movant's Statement of
Undisputed Facts shall be deemed admitted unless expressly
denied or otherwise controverted by a party objecting to the
motion.” DRI LR 56 (a)(3); see, e.g.,
Estate of Frusher v. Abt Assocs., 643 F.Supp.2d 220,
224 (D.R.I. 2009) (admitting movant's unchallenged
statement of undisputed facts). Therefore, without an
objection or response by Plaintiff, the facts alleged in
Sirchie's Statement of Undisputed Facts are
October 29, 2013, Woonsocket police officers executed a
search warrant on Plaintiff's property. (SUF ¶ 1.)
While executing the warrant, officers found seventeen blue
capsules containing white powder in the pocket of a pair of
shorts in Plaintiff's room. (Id. at ¶ 2.)
Using a NARK II test kit 15, Detective Ronald Marcos tested
the powder, which tested positive for methamphetamine.
(Id. at ¶ 3.) On November 13, 2014, the police
submitted the capsules to the Rhode Island Forensic Science
Laboratory (“Laboratory”) for additional testing,
and the powder from one capsule tested negative for a
controlled substance. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.) No.
employee or agent of Sirchie was involved in executing the
search warrant or testing the powder, nor did they analyze
the results from the police-administered drug test.
(Id. at ¶¶ 6-7.)
prevail on a negligence claim under Rhode Island law, a
plaintiff must demonstrate “a legally cognizable duty
owed by a defendant to a plaintiff, a breach of that duty,
proximate causation between the conduct and the resulting
injury, and the actual loss or damage.” Olshansky
v. Rehrig Int'l, 872 A.2d 282, 289 (R.I. 2005)
(quoting Mills v. State Sales, Inc., 824 A.2d 461,
467-68 (R.I. 2003) (quotation omitted)). Without establishing
a duty owed by Defendant, Plaintiff's negligence claim
fails as a matter of law. Selwyn v. Ward, 879 A.2d
882, 886 (R.I. 2005) (entitling plaintiff to determination of
remaining elements only after duty is established). And here,
Plaintiff alleges no specific duty of care owed by Sirchie,
whether a breach occurred, and if so, how it occurred.
(See Am. Compl., ECF No. 7-1.)
importantly, however, for purposes of this Motion, Plaintiff
supplies no evidence to support any element of
negligence. Yet “[o]n summary judgment . . . the
plaintiff can no longer rest on the pleadings . . . and the
court looks to the evidence before it (in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff) . . . .” Behrens v.
Pelletier, 516 U.S. 299, 309 (1996). Having advanced no
evidence to back up his pleadings, Plaintiff can only rely on
“conclusory allegations, improbable inferences,
acrimonious invective, or rank speculation[, ]” each of
which cannot suffice to defeat summary
judgment. Ferro v. R.I. DOT, 2 F.Supp.3d
150, 156 (D.R.I. 2014) (quoting Ahern v. Shinseki,
629 F.3d 49, 54 (1st Cir. 2010)). For that reason, no
inference this Court could draw could rescue Brochu from the
inevitable result of summary judgment entering for Sirchie.
because the basis for Plaintiff's negligence claim is
that “the testing conducted by Detective produced one
result and further analysis produced a different result,
” expert testimony would have been necessary to advance
Brochu's claim. (SUF ¶ 10); see also
Olshansky, 872 A.2d at 289 (holding expert testimony
required to establish facts not obvious to and beyond common
knowledge of jury). Here, Plaintiff disclosed neither an
expert witness nor expert opinion, and the deadline to do so
was November 30, 2017. (See Pretrial Scheduling
Order, ECF No. 14.)
above reasons, Sirchie's Motion (ECF No. 19) is GRANTED.
 Therefore, for purposes of this
Memorandum and Order, the Court incorporates the facts as
Sirchie states them.
 It is worth noting that the only
allegations in the Amended Complaint that signal potentially
negligent conduct reference the conduct of police officers.
(See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 21-29.) Without any
allegations or evidence to suggest the officers in question
were employees or agents of Sirchie, Plaintiff has not
satisfied his burden of demonstrating that Sirchie maintained
authority over the officers as ...