United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
J. MCCONNELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Vose sued the City of Pawtucket, three of its police
officers, the Chief of Police, and the City Clerk. He also
sued Peter Graham, an investigator in the Protective Services
and Elder Justice Division of the Rhode Island Division of
Elderly Affairs. Mr. Graham moves to dismiss the Amended
Complaint. ECF No. 21.
Vose brings nine claims in his Amended Complaint, only four
of which apply to Defendant Graham: False Arrest and False
Imprisonment in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Count
One); False Arrest and False Imprisonment in Violation of the
Rhode Island Constitution (Count Two); Malicious Prosecution
in Violation of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
(Count Three); Malicious Prosecution (Count Five); and Civil
Conspiracy (Count Six). ECF No. 8 at 15-18, ¶¶
81-89. FACTS This action arises from interactions
between the City of Pawtucket Police Department and Mr, Vose
and his elderly mother, Pauline Vose ("Ms. Vose").
ECF No. 8. Because of Ms. Vose's declining health, Mr.
Vose returned to his hometown of Pawtucket to care for his
mother. Seejd. at 5, ¶ 23-25. Ms. Vose, unable
to drive, often walked around town. Id. at ¶
25. Starting in 2014, neighbors began contacting the police,
reporting Ms. Vose's conduct of asking "strange
questions of the neighbors" while walking around town.
Id. at ¶ 26. Ms. Vose was in the initial stages
of dementia. Id. Mr. Vose spoke to the police about
his mother's issues and her fervent desire to remain
independent. Id. at ¶ 27. The police officers
requested that Mr. Vose keep his mother on the property where
they both lived. Id. Ms. Vose did not comply with
the request and continued to wander around town. Id.
at 5"6, ¶ 27-28.
pattern continued over time with the police having contact
with Mr. Vose about his mother's safety and well-being.
Ms. Vose was admitted to Roger Williams Geriatric Psychiatric
Ward for memory testing. Id. at 7, ¶ 35. After
some time there, the hospital released Ms. Vose, but the
pattern with the local police continued. Id. at
police then took Ms. Vose to a psychiatric hospital where she
was involuntarily committed. Id. at 8, ¶ 37.
The hospital determined that after the Rhode Island Division
of Elderly Affairs ("RIDEA") performed an
evaluation, she could return home. Id. The RIDEA
conducted the assessment and determined that Ms. Vose could
return to her home. Id. at ¶ 38. Ms. Vose's
doctor suggested that Ms. Vose's habit of walking around
the neighborhood could be beneficial for her dementia if she
had a GPS device placed on her keys for her safety.
Id. at ¶¶ 39-40. Despite their knowledge
of the decisions reached by the hospital and RIDEA, the
police continued their habit of picking up Ms. Vose and
taking her to a hospital. Id. at ¶ 41.
Vose filed a complaint with the Pawtucket Police, alleging
that the police were harassing his mother and requested that
the police leave her alone in the future. Id. at 9,
¶ 45. It is at this point that Defendant Peter Graham
appears on the scene. Several days after Mr. Vose filed his
complaint with the police, Mr. Graham, an employee with
RIDEA, contacted Mr. Vose and informed him that the Pawtucket
Police Chief Paul King had "'begged' [Mr.
Graham] to do something about [his] mother" because the
police were "getting calls about her every day."
Id. at ¶ 46. Mr. Graham and Mr. Vose then set a
meeting to discuss a "plan of care" for Ms. Vose.
Id. at 10, ¶ 48. On the day of the meeting, Mr.
Vose was unable to get out of work, so he requested that they
meet by telephone rather than in person. Id. Mr.
Graham told Mr. Vose that the meeting needed to be in person.
Id. Despite assurances that he would call Mr. Vose
back, Mr. Graham did not do so. Id.
days after his conversation with Mr. Graham, the Pawtucket
Police arrested Mr. Vose for abuse/neglect of an impaired
person, specifically for "refusing to allow necessary
agencies to implement a Case Management Plan to provide for
health and physical safety of a person." Id. at
11, ¶ 58 and at 13, ¶ 66. Mr. Vose insists that it
was Mr. Graham who "refused." Id. at
13, ¶ 67.
Graham makes three arguments in favor of his Motion to
Dismiss: first, the facts alleged are insufficient) second,
if found sufficient, qualified immunity protects Mr.
Graham,' and third, Younger abstention applies.
ECF No. 21 at 3. Because the Court finds the facts alleged
are insufficient, it does not reach the questions of
qualified immunity or Younger abstention.
survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a
plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). And the
court must review the facts as true and in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Gargano v. Liberty Int'l
Underwriters, 572 F.3d 45, 48 (1st Cir. 2009) (citing
Fitzgerald v. Harris, 549 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir,
2008)). That said, conclusory statements of the law are
"not entitled the assumption of truth."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
Finally, to grant the motion to dismiss, the pleadings must
"showQ no set of facts which could entitle plaintiff to
relief." Gooley v, Mobil OilCorp, , 851 F.2d
513, 514 (1st Cir. 1988) (citing Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-48 (1957)).
allegations against Mr. Graham appear under the heading
"Civil Conspiracy" in the complaint. ECF No. 8 at
17, ¶ 86. The only facts in support of this civil
conspiracy by Mr. Graham involve two telephone calls. See
Id. at 9-10, ¶¶ 48-49. In Rhode Island,
"[t]o prove a civil conspiracy, plaintiffs [must] show
evidence of an unlawful enterprise." Read &
Lundy, Inc. v. Washington Trust Co. of Westerly, 840
A.2d 1099, 1102 (R.I. 2004) (citing ER1Max Entertainment,
Inc. v. Streisand, 690 A.2d 1351, 1354 (R.I. 1997)).
Civil conspiracy also requires the presence of "the
specific intent to do something illegal or tortious."
Guilbeault v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 84
F.Supp.2d 263, 268 (D.R.L 2000). Finally, because civil
conspiracy is not itself an independent basis for liability,
but is a way to establish joint liability, it "requires
a valid underlying intentional tort theory." Read
& Lundy, 840 A.2d at 1102 (citing
Guilbeault, 84 F.Supp.2d at 268).
Vose has only pleaded threadbare facts to support his
allegations against Mr. Graham. Several phone calls do not a
conspiracy make. There simply are not enough facts alleged to
support a "specific intent to do something illegal or
tortious" as required. See Guilbeault, 84
F.Supp.2d at 268.
the Court were to find enough facts to support the civil
conspiracy claim, the facts alleged fall short of the
necessary plausibility standard. The logical jump required to
connect the phone calls between Mr. Vose and Mr. Graham and
the conclusion that Mr. Graham was part of a conspiracy with
police officers is far too large. No. facts point to any
motivation for Mr. Graham and his connection to the case is
tenuous at best. There are not enough facts, nor are there
any plausible facts to allow this matter to continue against
him based on the Amended Complaint.
Court GRANTS Defendant Peter Graham's Motion to Dismiss
the Amended ...