Gamache v. Mozzer, 22-AP-067

Case DateJuly 14, 2022
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont

Justin Ames Gamache*

Thomas Mozzer

No. 22-AP-067

Supreme Court of Vermont

July 14, 2022

In the case title, an asterisk (*) indicates an appellant and a double asterisk (**) indicates a cross-appellant. Decisions of a three-justice panel are not to be considered as precedent before any tribunal.

APPEALED FROM: Superior Court, Bennington Unit, Civil Division CASE NO. 22-ST-00127 Trial Judge: John W.Valente


In the above-entitled cause, the Clerk will enter:

Plaintiff appeals the dismissal of his complaint for an order against stalking. We affirm.

In February 2022, plaintiff Justin Gamache filed a complaint for an order against stalking against defendant Thomas Mozzer of the Vermont State Police. He alleged that he was falsely convicted of impersonating a police officer and disorderly conduct in 2013 and 2014 and that the police sat outside his home and eavesdropped on him, and refused to help when he was being harassed by neighbors. Plaintiff alleged further that when he moved to Florida defendant harassed him by asking Florida law enforcement to monitor him. Plaintiff also asserted that defendant was a liar.

The court denied plaintiff's request for an emergency no-stalking order. The court concluded that it could not enter an anti-stalking order against the Vermont State Police because the entity is not a person. See 12 V.S.A. § 5131(1)(A) (defining course of conduct as list of actions made by "a person"). The court further concluded that plaintiff's allegations against defendant, mainly that defendant was a liar, did not qualify as stalking. The court further held that in any event defendant's acts were performed in his capacity as a Vermont State Trooper and therefore qualified immunity applied. Plaintiff indicated that he wanted to pursue a final order and requested a hearing. On March 3, 2022, after a hearing, the court issued on order denying plaintiff's request for a no-stalking order based on findings made orally on the record. See Id. § 5133(i) (allowing findings to be made in writing or orally on record). Plaintiff appealed.

An order against stalking must be supported by a preponderance of the evidence showing that the defendant has stalked the plaintiff. Id. § 5133(d). Stalking means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that that the stalker knows or should know would cause reasonable persons to fear for their safety or cause substantial emotional distress. Id. §...

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