160 F.3d 754 (1st Cir. 1998), 98-1316, Fournier v. Reardon

Docket Nº:98-1316.
Citation:160 F.3d 754
Party Name:Mark J. FOURNIER, Plaintiff, Appellee, v. Charles REARDON, Etc., et al., Defendants, Appellants.
Case Date:November 10, 1998
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 754

160 F.3d 754 (1st Cir. 1998)

Mark J. FOURNIER, Plaintiff, Appellee,

v.

Charles REARDON, Etc., et al., Defendants, Appellants.

No. 98-1316.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

November 10, 1998

Heard Sept. 11, 1998.

Page 755

William P. Breen, Jr., with whom John J. Davis and Morrison, Mahoney & Miller were on brief, for appellants.

Thomas C. Regan, with whom Pearl, McNiff, Crean, Cook & Sheehan was on brief, for appellee.

Before TORRUELLA, Chief Judge, BOUDIN and STAHL, Circuit Judges.

TORRUELLA, Chief Judge.

Defendant-appellants appeal the final order and judgment denying the defendants' motion to dismiss. Plaintiff-appellee, Mark J. Fournier ("Fournier"), claims that he is entitled to monetary damages for personal injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the defendants' alleged deprivation of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Fournier asserts that the defendants are liable under the Federal Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 12, § 11I. For the following reasons, we reverse.

BACKGROUND

Fournier was employed by the Essex County Sheriff's Department as a corrections officer for more than ten years prior to entering a basic training academy ("academy") run by the Essex County Sheriff's Department. On May 1, 1995, Fournier and twenty other corrections officers began attending a nine week basic training course which the

Page 756

Essex County Sheriff's Department required for full-time employment. The academy was staffed by other Essex County Sheriff's Department corrections officers. It offered both classroom and physical training such as standing at attention, instruction as to chain of command, and protocol in interacting with superior officers.

On the second day of the course, Fournier was ordered to report to the academy training staff's office. Protocol taught and enforced at the academy required that Fournier, an academy recruit: (1) knock outside the instructors' office door; (2) announce his presence; and (3) request permission to enter before entering the instructors' office. Fournier breached academy protocol when he failed to follow this regimented procedure and entered the office unannounced.

To punish Fournier for violating academy protocol, one of the drill instructors present in the room ordered Fournier to turn around and bend over. When Fournier complied, the drill instructor placed handcuffs on his wrists and informed Fournier that he was being placed under "house arrest" for entering the instructors' office without having requested permission. The drill instructor then allegedly put Fournier's written reports in his mouth and ordered him to return to the classroom. The other drill instructors in the room failed to intervene on Fournier's behalf.

Fournier returned, in handcuffs, to the classroom. Within five minutes of the "house arrest," the drill instructor entered the classroom. Pursuant to academy protocol, the recruits rose to attention upon the entrance of a superior officer. When the drill instructor ordered the class to be seated, Fournier attempted to seat himself. Unfortunately, Fournier missed his chair and fell to the ground, allegedly sustaining serious personal injuries, including a fractured vertebra.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

Although most denials of motions to dismiss are not "final decisions," and thus are not independently appealable, a district court's rejection of a qualified...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP