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Campanella v. O'Flynn

United States District Court, W.D. New York

February 6, 2017

CHARLES E. CAMPANELLA, II, DEBORAH S. CAMPANELLA, Plaintiffs,
v.
MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF PATRICK M. O'FLYNN, MONROE COUNTY UNDERSHERIFF GARY CAIOLA, CHIEF DEPUTY STEVEN SCOTT, LIEUTENANT LOU TOMASSETTI, and other known or unknown members of the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, individually and in their official capacities, [1] Defendants.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          HON. FRANK P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         On April 29, 2010, Plaintiffs Charles (“Deputy Campanella”) and Deborah Campanella (“Ms. Campanella”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Monroe County, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office (“MCSO”), and MCSO employees Patrick M. O'Flynn (“Sheriff O'Flynn”), Gary Caiola (“Undersheriff Caiola”), Steven Scott (“Deputy Scott”), and Lucio Tomassetti (“Lieutenant Tomassetti”) (collectively “Defendants”). ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants took adverse employment actions against Deputy Campanella in violation of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Id. In broad strokes, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants investigated, threatened, reprimanded, reassigned, and refused to promote Deputy Campanella in response to Deputy Campanella's statements about a local scandal and Ms. Campanella's association with a political rival. Id.

         Initially, Plaintiffs' Complaint alleged multiple First Amendment and Due Process violations as well as libel, slander, defamation, and negligent failure to train and supervise. Id. However, in resolving Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings, ECF No. 11, Judge Larimer, presiding over this case at that time, dismissed all but two of Plaintiffs' First Amendment claims. ECF No. 24. Additionally, Judge Larimer dismissed all of Plaintiffs' claims against Monroe County and the MCSO. Id. The case was then transferred to this Court. ECF No. 33. Plaintiffs' surviving claims allege that Sheriff O'Flynn, Undersheriff Caiola, Deputy Scott, and Lieutenant Tomassetti took seven adverse employment actions against Deputy Campanella in retaliation for two things: Deputy Campanella's statement about the investigation of a local construction firm and Ms. Campanella's affiliation with a man who ran as the Democratic candidate for Monroe County Sheriff in 2009. Id.

         On July 19, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment. ECF No. 60. Although Plaintiffs' Response was due by August 16, 2016, see L.R. Civ. Pro. 7(b)(2)(A), Plaintiffs have not responded to that motion or requested an extension. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED and this case is DISMISSED.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         A motion for summary judgment should be granted where the moving party shows that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact” and that the moving party “is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law . . . .” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute regarding such a fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. Thus, when presented with a motion for summary judgment, the Court must determine “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Id. at 251-52.

         The burden of establishing that no genuine and material factual dispute exists is on the moving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). To that end, the Court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. See Giannullo v. City of N.Y., 322 F.3d 139, 140 (2d Cir. 2003). That said, if the non-moving party fails to respond to their opponent's motion for summary judgment, “the court may consider as undisputed the facts set forth in the moving party's affidavits.” Gittens v. Garlocks Sealing Technologies, 19 F.Supp.2d 104, 109 (W.D.N.Y. 1998). Once the Court is satisfied that the moving party's assertions are supported by citations to evidence in the record, and those assertions show that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, summary judgment is appropriate. Vermont Teddy Bear Co. v. 1-800 Beargram Co., 373 F.3d 241, 244 (2d Cir. 2004).

         II. Material Facts

         In compliance with Rule 56(b) of the Local Rules of Civil Procedure for the Western District of New York, Defendants filed a Statement of Material Undisputed Facts with their Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 60-2. Plaintiffs have not filed an opposing statement. For that reason, the Court considers Defendants' Rule 56 Statement undisputed. See L. R. Civ. P. 56(a)(2) (“Each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement of material facts may be deemed admitted for purposes of the motion unless it is specifically controverted by a correspondingly numbered paragraph in the opposing statement.”). That undisputed statement and the exhibits attached in support establish the following.

         a. The Parties

         Charles Campanella worked for the MCSO from 1988 to 2012. ECF No. 60-2, ¶2, 8. During the relevant periods of Deputy Campanella's employment with the MCSO, Patrick O'Flynn was the Monroe County Sheriff. Id. at ¶9. Sheriff O'Flynn was first elected in 2001, ECF No. 60-4, 11:2-4, and was reelected in 2005, 2009, and 2013. Id. at 11:18-20. In each election, Sheriff O'Flynn ran as the Republican Party's candidate. Id. 72:23-25. Under Sheriff O'Flynn, and at all times relevant to the issues in this case, Gary Caiola was the Undersheriff. ECF No. 60-2, ¶10. Steven Scott was the Chief Deputy. Id. at ¶11. Lucio Tomassetti was the Special Operations Commander. Id. at ¶27.

         Ms. Campanella is a real estate broker and insurance producer. ECF No. 60-6, 6-7. She is also active in local government. ECF No. 60-6, 18:3. In 2008, Ms. Campanella won the Republican Party's endorsement for a town council seat for the Town of Riga. Id. at 50:7-9; ECF No. 60-2, ¶16. In 2009, she won in the general election. Id. She ran in the 2009 general election on the same ticket as Sheriff O'Flynn. ECF No. 60-6, 50:7-9.

         In 2008, Ms. Campanella began working as a part-time business manager for Leader Security Services (“Leader”). ECF No. 60-2, ¶17. Leader was founded by Daniel Greene. Id. at ¶14. Before founding Leader, Greene worked for the MCSO as an undersheriff under Sheriff O'Flynn. Id. at ¶9, 13. On May 9, 2009, Greene announced that he was running for Sheriff, as the Democratic Candidate, against O'Flynn. Id. at ¶15. Ms. Campanella worked for Leader until December 2012. ECF No. 60-6, 21:10-12.

         b. Deputy Campanella's Employment at the MCSO

         Deputy Campanella began working as a deputy sheriff for the MCSO in 1988. ECF No. 60-2, ¶1. He retired from that position on June 23, 2012. Id. at ¶8. During his 24 years at the MCSO, Deputy Campanella's duties and assignments varied. Id. at ¶3-7. From 1988 until 1990, Deputy Campanella worked as a part-time Deputy Sheriff. ECF No. 60-3. In 1990, Deputy Campanella became a full-time, Road Patrol Deputy. Id. Approximately two or three years later, Deputy Campanella was assigned to his first special assignment, the DARE program. Id. After three or four years in the DARE Program, Deputy Campanella was assigned to the Warrant Unit. Id. After spending three or four years in the Warrant Unit, Deputy Campanella was assigned to the Narcotics Unit. Id. In 2005, Deputy Campanella was assigned to the Community Services Unit as a Crime Prevention Officer (“CPO”). Id.; see also ECF No. 60-2, ¶34, 41. He served as a CPO until 2009. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶41; 60-3. On January 25, 2010, Deputy Campanella was reassigned to Road Patrol. ECF No. 60-2, ¶44.

         While carrying out his road patrol and special assignment duties, Deputy Campanella also performed other duties for the MCSO. ECF No. 60-3. Deputy Campanella was a member of the SWAT team for 14 years, between 1994 and 2008, and a SWAT Team Leader for four years, from 2008 until his retirement. Id.; see also ECF No. 60-2, ¶3-6. Deputy Campanella took on additional road patrol duties. ECF No. 60-3, 99:4-8. Deputy Campanella was a firearms instructor during Police Academy classes. ECF No. 60-2, ¶7. Lastly, Deputy Campanella's duties as a member of the Community Services Unit involved leading a range of community programs. Id. at ¶91-93. Those programs included Senior Citizens Academy, Fatal Crash Simulations, firearms and alcohol safety talks, Neighborhood Watch meetings, and Operation Safe Child. Id. at ¶93; see also ECF No. 60-3. The Operation Safe Child program involves operating a machine that creates identification cards for children. ECF No. 60-2, ¶91.

         As a CPO, Deputy Campanella's standard hours were Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ECF No. 60-3, 41:10. But taking on additional duties and participating in community programs often required him to work evenings and weekends. Id. at 35:12-20 (Deputy Campanella led firearms safety talks in the evenings); id. at 41:16-22 (same for Neighborhood Watch); id. at 45:5-8 (SWAT operations often required Deputy Campanella to work evenings and weekends); id. at 99:4-8 (same for road patrol shifts); id. at 123:20-23 (Deputy Campanella operated the Operation Safe Child machine on the weekends). When Deputy Campanella worked in the evening or over the weekend, he received overtime pay. Id. at 41:19-22.

         c. Deputy Campanella's Employment at the MCSO ...


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