United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Anthony Miceli (“Plaintiff”) has sued the Town of
Rocky Hill (“Rocky Hill”), Town Manager John
Mehr, former Town Manager Guy Scaife, the Chief of Police of
the Rocky Hill Police Department, Michael D. Custer, and
Lieutenant Robert Catania, also of the Rocky Hill Police
Department, in their individual and official capacities, and
Robert Lombardo, a resident of Rocky Hill. Compl., ECF No. 1
(Jan. 6, 2017).
Miceli alleges that Rocky Hill and the named public officials
(collectively “Town Defendants”) (1) violated the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101
et seq. (“ADA”); (2) retaliated against
him in violation of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12203; (3)
retaliated against him in violation of the First Amendment;
(4) violated Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, Conn.
Gen. Stat. § 46a-60(a) (“CFEPA”); and (5)
intentionally inflicted emotional distress. Id.
¶¶ 37-57. The ADA and CFEPA claims, Counts One and
Four, are brought against the Town only. Mem. in Opp. to Town
Defs. Mot. (“Pl.'s Opp. to Town Defs.”), ECF
No. 139 at 8 (May 22, 2019). As to Mr. Lombardo, a private
citizen, Mr. Miceli claims (5) intentional infliction of
emotional distress, as well as (6) defamation and (7)
tortious interference. Compl. ¶¶ 53-66.
Lombardo has moved for summary judgment as to all claims
against him, as have the Town Defendants, excluding Robert
Catania, who was dismissed from the case. Mot. for Summary
Judgment (“Lombardo Mot.”), ECF No. 134 (Apr. 16,
2019); Mot. for Summary Judgment (“Town Defs.
Mot.”), ECF No. 135 (Apr. 19, 2019); see also
Stipulation of Dismissal, ECF No. 133 (Apr. 15, 2019).
following reasons, the Town Defendants' motion for
summary judgment is GRANTED with respect to
the ADA discrimination claim, the ADA retaliation claim, and
the First Amendment retaliation claim.
Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
remaining state law claims against the Town Defendants, and
similarly declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
the claims against Mr. Lombardo.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Miceli's claims arise out of his employment as a police
officer with the Town of Rocky Hill, a position he held for
twelve years until his termination on November 29,
2016. Plaintiff's Local Rule 56(a)(2) Statement of Facts
in Opp. to Town Defs. Mot. (“Pl.'s SMF - Town
Defs.”), ECF No. 139-1 ¶¶ 1-2 (May 22, 2019).
Mehr is the current Town Manager of the Town of Rocky Hill.
Compl. ¶ 6. From October 2014 until August 30, 2016, Guy
Scaife served as Rocky Hill's Town Manager. Id.
¶ 5; see also Ex. 1: Affidavit of Italo Miceli
(“Miceli Affidavit”), ECF No. 139-3 ¶ 12
(May 22, 2019). Michael D. Custer is the Chief of Police of
Rocky Hill. Compl. ¶ 7. Robert Catania is a
police lieutenant of Rocky Hill. Id. ¶ 8.
Robert Lombardo is a neighbor of Mr. Miceli, and a resident
of Rocky Hill. Id. ¶ 9; Plaintiff's Local
Rule 56(a)(2) Statement of Facts in Opp. to Lombardo Mot.
(“Pl.'s SMF - Lombardo”), ECF No. 138-1
¶ 1(May 8, 2019).
Miceli alleges that in his eleven years of employment before
Mr. Scaife's tenure as Town Manager, “he never
received any complaints of misconduct towards the
public.” Miceli Affidavit ¶ 15. The claims in this
lawsuit are organized around several incidents, as detailed
more specifically below.
August 2011, after the Town Council authorized an auction for
various surplus equipment, Mr. Miceli purchased a
military-style Humvee and tractor truck for $100. Pl.'s
SMF - Town Defs. ¶¶ 11-12.
March 2015, the U.S. Attorney's Office received a
complaint from the Town of Rocky Hill about Mr. Miceli's
purchase, and forwarded it to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (“FBI”). Pl.'s SMF - Town Defs.
¶ 15. The FBI then investigated whether there was an
unauthorized sale of the Humvee and tractor. Id.
about May 12, 2015, two FBI agents interviewed Mr. Miceli
regarding his purchase of the Humvee. Id. ¶ 17.
Special Agent Ron Offutt took notes during this interview,
and the notes were used in his report. Id. ¶
18-19. After learning of the auction allegedly by a newspaper
advertisement, Mr. Miceli claims to have delivered his bid to
the relevant town employee, Glenn Parent. Ex. I: Deposition
of Ron W. Offutt (“Offutt Depo.”), ECF No. 135-11
at 17:23-20:13 (Nov. 26, 2018); see also Miceli
Affidavit ¶ 10. Mr. Miceli “stated [to Agent
Offutt] that a friend of his put up half the money and paid
$50 toward the total $100” for the Humvee and tractor.
Offutt Depo. at 21:4-19.
Miceli further alleges that when Chief Custer spoke with him
about the Humvee, he stated “Listen . . . Scaife is
after you. . . . He's after both of us, but right now
he's got his sights set on you.” Ex. 2: Deposition
of Italo Miceli (“Miceli Depo.”), ECF No. 138-4
at 157:2-16 (Sept. 22, 2017). He alleges that this
conversation occurred in the Chief's office, before he
sent a letter to the Office of the Chief State's
Attorney. Id. at 157:17-19.
to Chief State's Attorney
19, 2015, Mr. Miceli sent a letter to the Office of the Chief
State's Attorney, in which he claimed, inter
alia, that he purchased the Humvee from Rocky Hill
through Rocky Hill's silent auction. Pl.'s SMF - Town
Defs. ¶ 25; see also Ex. J: Miceli's Letter
to State Wide Prosecution (the “OCSA Letter”),
ECF No. 135-12 (June 19, 2015).
letter, Mr. Miceli began by describing his issues with Mr.
Lombardo, and alleges Mr. Lombardo filed numerous complaints
with Rocky Hill's Police Department and Planning and
Zoning - all of which were allegedly unfounded. OCSA Letter
at 1. Mr. Miceli also details other wrongs allegedly
committed by Rocky Hill officials, specifically the then-Town
Manager Scaife, who he alleges collaborated with Mr. Lombardo
to harass him in looking for “any type of violations
with [his] house and property.” Id.; see
also Id. at 4 (“I was happily living here [in
Rocky Hill] until this new Town Manager Guy Scaife and Robert
Lombardo started harassing and bullying me.”).
with many of the claims raised in this case, Mr. Miceli's
letter relates the following complaints: issues with Rocky
Hill planning and zoning, stating he did not have a
certificate of occupancy for part of his house; fines for
municipal recreational vehicles and blight; numerous house
and property inspections and threats of fines; the Town
forcing him to break down his compost; forcing him to move
his military Humvee; Mr. Lombardo's property not getting
immediately fined, despite allegedly intruding more into
State property; and Mr. Lombardo's allegedly unlicensed
plumbing business. See OCSA Letter 1-4. Mr. Miceli
emphasizes that the “quality of [his] life is suffering
greatly due to the harassment and bullying and receiving from
. . . Guy Scaife . . . and Robert Lombardo.”
Id. at 3.
Miceli alleges that Chief Custer, Mr. Scaife, and Lt. Catania
were on notice about this letter before Chief Custer assigned
Lt. Catania to investigate claims of misconduct regarding Mr.
Miceli. See Ex. 6: Deposition of Robert Catania
(“Catania Depo.”), ECF No. 134-2 at 136:6-138:11
(Nov. 5, 2018) (noting that he notified Interim Town Manager
Scaife about the OCSA Letter, per Chief Custer's
instructions, when he became aware the letter existed, but
not recalling when that date was).
relationship between Mr. Miceli and Mr. Lombardo allegedly
deteriorated more than a decade ago due to an incident
involving their then-minor daughters. Pl.'s SMF -
Lombardo ¶¶ 2-3; see also Miceli Depo. at
Miceli alleges that from October 2014 through the filing of
the Complaint, Mr. Lombardo “allegedly initiated and
pursued a complaint of slander and false complaints and
investigations against” Mr. Miceli, Pl.'s SMF -
Lombardo ¶ 20 (citing Compl. ¶ 20), and that these
ongoing disputes were used by the Defendants “to harass
and intimidate the Plaintiff based upon the Defendants'
perception that the Plaintiff suffered from mental
disability.” Id. ¶ 21 (citing Compl.
¶ 21). Additionally, Mr. Miceli alleges Mr. Lombardo
complained about part of his property, which led to numerous
visits in 2014-2015 from zoning officer Frank Kelly, who
declared his property as “blight.” Id.
¶¶ 5-6. Furthermore, Mr. Miceli alleges that
“[w]hen Kelly investigated he told me that he told
[then-Interim Town Manager] Scaife that Lombardo's
complaint was not valid and that it was not blight, but
[then-Interim Town Manager] Scaife ordered him to cite me for
a violation.” Miceli Affidavit ¶ 16.
Miceli also alleges that Lt. Catania was related to Mr.
Lombardo's wife, Diane, which Mr. Lombardo denies.
Pl.'s SMF - Lombardo ¶¶ 16-17; see
also Catania Depo. at 143:8-22 (noting there is no
familial relation between him and the Lombardos, but
explaining that he is friends with Pete Mirabelli, who is the
husband of Diane's sister Lisa). Further, Mr. Miceli
alleges that Mr. Lombardo and Lt. Catania “conspired to
defame and attempt[ed] to terminate” his employment.
Pl.'s SMF - Lombardo ¶ 22.
spring of 2015, Mr. Miceli alleges that Mr. Lombardo
“falsely reported” to the police and Lt. Catania
that Mr. Miceli slashed his pool liner. Miceli Affidavit
¶ 17. He claims that on numerous occasions from 2015 to
now, Mr. Lombardo “has yelled at persons visiting [Mr.
Miceli] ‘why are you friends with a liar and a
thief” Id. ¶ 31.
2015, Mr. Miceli further alleges that Mr. Lombardo and
then-Town Manager Scaife wrongfully notified the State
Department of Transportation because his vehicle and a rock
were in the state's right of way. Pl.'s SMF -
Lombardo ¶ 7. Mr. Miceli claims the rock and other items
in question were allegedly placed years earlier in 1996, with
Mr. Lombardo's help. Miceli Affidavit ¶ 25.
According to Mr. Miceli, Mr. Lombardo discussed this
complaint with Lt. Catania, who allegedly encouraged him to
complain to then-Town Manager Scaife. Id. ¶ 26.
Miceli makes various other allegations about Mr. Lombardo:
that Mr. Lombardo allegedly said derogatory things about him
to his children, id. ¶ 8, and that Mr. Lombardo
allegedly had claimed to Chief Custer or then-Town Manager
Scaife that Mr. Miceli “had chased [him] with his
service weapon and had threatened to kill the Lombardo
family, ” id. ¶ 11. Mr. Miceli alleges
that all of Mr. Lombardo's complaints were fabricated.
See Deposition of Italo Miceli, ECF No. 134-2 at
177:12-179:14 (Sept. 22, 2017) (describing the allegation
that Mr. Miceli had chased Mr. Lombardo with his service
weapon, and admitting there was no investigation into the
matter); see also Miceli Affidavit ¶¶
18-19 (describing how Sergeant Fontaine told Mr. Miceli
around February 2015 that “Lombardo had falsely
reported” about the service weapon incident, and
“that the department looked into [his] weapons claim
and found it to be unfounded . . . absurd.”).
in June 2016, Mr. Lombardo allegedly told Mr. Miceli that he
would be fired by the end of that summer, and that he was
“a mental case.” Pl's SMF - Lombardo ¶
4; see also Miceli Affidavit ¶ 20.
of 2016, there also was a physical altercation between Mr.
Miceli and Mr. Lombardo's nephew, Robert. Pl.'s SMF -
Lombardo ¶¶ 13-15; see also Ex. T: Rocky
Hill Police Dept. Report of Internal Investigation of Anthony
Miceli (“Daigle Report - Lombardo”), ECF No.
135-22 at 11 (Oct. 27, 2016) (“Officer Miceli clearly
understood, and readily admitted, that his decision to cross
the street and challenge the Lombardos was a poor
August 2016, Mr. Miceli alleges that Mr. Lombardo
“falsely reported” to Lt. Catania, Chief Custer,
and then-Interim Town Manager Scaife that he slashed Mr.
Lombardo's pool liner. See Miceli Affidavit
¶ 21. Mr. Miceli alleges Mr. Lombardo told him he made
his complaints in order to get him (Mr. Miceli) fired.
Id. ¶ 23.
Miceli “alleges that false complaints by Defendant
Lombardo led Defendant Town Manager Guy Scaife to begin a
pattern of harassment and discrimination against him, ”
which led to the “repeated and unwarranted internal
investigations” into him, “zoning enforcement
investigations and inspections, ” “false
accusations, ” “fines, ” “[f]alse
complaints” to various state agencies about him,
“[m]aking a devious complaint, ” and a FBI
investigation into Mr. Miceli's alleged purchase of the
Humvee. Pl's SMF - Lombardo ¶ 19 (citing Compl.
¶ 19). In support of these allegations, Mr. Miceli notes
that when the previous Town Manager Barbara Gilbert
investigated some of Mr. Lombardo's earlier claims, no
action was taken. Id. at Additional Material Facts
¶ 6. Mr. Miceli alleges that only when Mr. Scaife became
Town Manager did Mr. Lombardo's complaints gain traction.
Miceli Affidavit ¶¶ 11-14.
Mr. Miceli alleges that Mr. Lombardo's complaints
“induced” Rocky Hill to terminate his employment
in November 2016. Pl's SMF - Lombardo ¶ 26 (citing
Compl. ¶ 65).
about Mr. Miceli
2015, Mr. Parent allegedly “went to the Whole Donut
Shop and told a group of his friends . . . that I had PTSD
and was on the rubber gun squad.” Miceli Affidavit
¶ 38. Mr. Miceli claims that Officers Keith Baker, Tom
Carpenter, and Bryan Kelly informed him they heard a rumor
that Mr. Miceli had PTSD and was on the rubber gun squad.
Id. ¶ 42. At or around the same time, Mr.
Miceli also claims he overhead Lt. Catania telling Officers
Cherie Dairy, Vanessa Billotto, Sarah Raymond, and Rob Cieri
that he had PTSD. Id. ¶ 43.
the end of June 2015, Mr. Miceli claims that Officer Lefebre
told him that he had PTSD and that he would “‘be
getting a red gun soon' (meaning red rubber gun).”
Id. ¶ 43.
about July 29, 2015, when Mr. Miceli was assigned to complete
rifle training, his vehicle became stuck in mud. Pl.'s
SMF - Town Defs. ¶ 4. Officer Sara Raymond, the lead
range instructor that day, reported that Mr. Miceli allegedly
“yelled” at her and was “clearly
upset” after she asked him whether he wanted her to
call a tow truck. Ex. F: Rocky Hill Police Dept. Internal
Investigation Summary Report CCN 15-03 (“Klett
Report”), ECF No. 135-8 at 14 (Sept. 24, 2015)
(describing an interview with Officer Raymond). Officer
Raymond decided to cancel Mr. Miceli's firearm training
for the day because “he had exhibited anger which could
have led [to] range safety issues.” Id.
Chief Custer authorized Lieutenant Brian Klett to initiate an
internal investigation into the range incident. Custer
Affidavit at ¶ 4. After interviewing Officer Raymond and
other officers present at the range, Lt. Klett concluded that
Mr. Miceli “failed to exercise patience [or] control
his temper, and engaged in argumentative discussions with
[Officer] Raymond which included the use of profanity.”
Klett Report at 14-16, 18; see also Ex. 3:
Deposition of Lieutenant Brian Klett, ECF No. 139-3 at
122:23-124:2 (May 22, 2019) (“Klett
Depo.”)(“[Mr. Miceli] was acting in an
aggravated, intense manner, engaged in arguments with the
range masters, and on that information, the range masters all
concurred that he was not in a state of readiness to be on
the range to learn.”).
August 3, 2015, Chief Custer assigned Lt. Catania to
investigate Mr. Miceli with respect to whether Mr. Miceli
“purposely parked a privately owned vehicle upon the
State of Connecticut right of way, for the purpose of
creating a risk to his immediate neighbor, ” “did
not pay a required fee and appropriately obtain a certificate
of occupancy for his private home, ” and “was in
purposeful violation of the Town of Rocky Hill's
ordinance on blighted property, and . . . failed to cooperate
or acted inappropriately with town staff.” Ex. M:
Deposition of Michael D. Custer (“Custer Depo.”),
ECF No. 135-15 at 114:5-115:2 (Sept. 25, 2018); see
also Pl.'s SMF - Town Defs. ¶ 8 (disputing the
reason behind the investigation).
October 8, 2015, Mr. Miceli was issued a written reprimand
for behavior that was “improper, ”
“aggressive[, ] and disrespectful” in regards to
the incident with Officer Raymond. Ex. O: Rocky Hill Police
Dept. Reprimand Letter (“Reprimand Letter”), ECF
No. 135-17 (Oct. 8, 2015).
October 9, 2015, Mr. Miceli was placed on indefinite
administrative leave. Miceli Affidavit ¶ 18.
November 2015, Chief Custer ordered Mr. Miceli to attend a
fitness for duty examination “because he had displayed
confrontational and argumentative behavior.” Custer
Affidavit ¶ 7. He allegedly would do so if an individual
exhibits “behavior in the workplace that would be
characterized as abnormal, ” and if that behavior
“inhibits the individual from doing their job.”
Ex. 1: Deposition of Michael D. Custer, ECF No. 139-7 at
92:2-11 (Sept. 25, 2018); see also Id. at 98:18-99:5
(stating that he would order a fitness for duty exam if he
“believe[d] an officer might be a danger to the
January 4, 2016, Mr. Miceli allegedly was informed he had
passed the fitness for duty examination, but was not
immediately reinstated. Miceli Affidavit ¶¶ 20-21.
January 20, 2016, after Lt. Catania's investigation,
Chief Custer concluded that Mr. Miceli's “behavior
was improper and in violation of Departmental Rules of
Conduct, Connecticut General Statutes, DOT regulations and
Town ordinances.” Ex. W: CCN-2015-04, Four-Day
Suspension (Unpaid) and Counseling (“Suspension
Letter”), ECF No. 135-25 at 2 (Jan. 20, 2016). Chief
Custer also noted that Mr. Miceli had declined to move his
vehicle off of the State's right of way, after receiving
a certified notice from the State Department of
Transportation and specific direction from Lt. Catania.
See Id. at 1-2. But Mr. Miceli notes that when Chief
Custer ordered him to move his vehicle, he did so
immediately. Miceli Affidavit ¶¶ 31-32. Following
mediation and Mr. Miceli's agreement to attend
counseling, Chief Custer reduced his suspension from four to
two days. Custer Depo. at 174:20-175:10.
Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities Complaint
about December 23, 2015, Mr. Miceli filed a complaint with
the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities
(“CHRO”) alleging many of the same claims he is
raising in ...