United States District Court, W.D. New York
CHARLES E. CAMPANELLA, II, DEBORAH S. CAMPANELLA, Plaintiffs,
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, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
P. GERACI, JR. Chief Judge United States District Court
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
(“Chief Scott”), and Lucio Tomassetti
(“Lieutenant Tomassetti”) (collectively
“Defendants”). ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs alleged that
Defendants retaliated against Deputy Campanella in violation
of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights. Id.
Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants investigated,
threatened, reprimanded, reassigned, and refused to promote
Deputy Campanella in retaliation for Ms. Campanella's
association with a political rival and Deputy
Campanella's statements about the investigation into a
local matter. Id.
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
dismissed all but two of Plaintiffs' First Amendment
claims. ECF No. 24. Additionally, Judge Larimer dismissed all
of Plaintiffs' claims against Monroe County and MCSO.
Id. The case was then transferred to this Court. ECF
No. 33. Plaintiffs' surviving claims allege that Sheriff
O'Flynn, Undersheriff Caiola, Chief 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.
19, 2016, Defendants moved for summary judgment. ECF No. 60.
Plaintiffs' Response was due by August 16, 2016.
See L.R. Civ. Pro. 7(b)(2)(A). But Plaintiffs did
not respond to Defendants' motion or request an
extension. Accordingly, on February 6, 2017, the Court issued
a decision granting the Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. See ECF No. 61. On March 3, 2017,
Plaintiffs moved to set aside that decision. See ECF
No. 65. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1),
Plaintiffs argued that their failure to respond to the
summary judgment motion was the result of a reasonable
mistake. See Id. The Court agreed that the mistake
was reasonable, granted Plaintiffs' motion, and allowed
Plaintiffs to respond to Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. See ECF No. 68. On May 26, 2017,
Plaintiffs filed their response to Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. See ECF No. 69. Defendants filed
their reply on June 2, 2017. See ECF No. 70.
reviewed the parties' submissions, the Court finds that
genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether
Defendants conducted an investigation into Deputy
Campenalla's gossiping and issued a Memorandum of Record
in connection with that investigation in retaliation for Ms.
Campanella's association with Sheriff O'Flynn's
political opponent. With respect to Plaintiffs' other
alleged adverse employment actions and protected activity,
Defendants are entitled to summary judgment. Accordingly,
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in
part and denied in part.
Campanella worked for MCSO from 1988 to 2012. ECF Nos. 60-2,
¶ 2; 69-1, ¶ 2. During the relevant periods of
Deputy Campanella's employment with 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 ¶
Campanella works in the real estate and insurance businesses
and is active in local government. ECF No. 60-6, 6-7, 18. 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. That same
year, 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 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 Sheriff O'Flynn. Id. at
¶ 15. In that same general election, Ms. Campanella ran
for town counsel on the Republican ticket alongside Sheriff
O'Flynn. ECF No. 60-6, 50:7-9. Ms. Campanella worked for
Leader until December 2012. ECF No. 60-6, 21:10-12.
Deputy Campanella's Employment at MCSO Prior to Ms.
Campanella's Employment at Leader Securities
his 24 years at MCSO, Deputy Campanella's duties and
assignments varied. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶¶ 3-7; 69-1,
¶¶ 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. 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 Nos.
60-2, ¶¶ 34, 41; 69-1, ¶¶ 34, 41.
carrying out his road patrol and special assignment duties,
Deputy Campanella also took on some side assignments for
MCSO. ECF No. 60-3 at 20-21. 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. 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 Nos. 60-2, ¶ 7; 69-1, ¶ 7.
Lastly, Deputy Campanella's duties as a member of the
Community Services Unit involved leading a range of community
programs. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶¶ 91-93; 69-1,
¶¶ 91-93. Those programs included Senior Citizens
Academy, Fatal Crash Simulations, firearms and alcohol safety
talks, Neighborhood Watch meetings, and Operation Safe
Child. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 93; 69-1, ¶ 93.
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
Deputy Campanella's Employment at MCSO following Ms.
Campanella's Employment at Leader
in 2008, some aspects of Deputy Campanella's employment
with MCSO changed. That year, MCSO began to limit the amount
of time a deputy could remain assigned to a specialized unit.
ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 37; 69-1, ¶ 37. To that end, MCSO
reassigned deputies in at least some specialized units. ECF
Nos. 60-2, ¶ 42; 69-1, ¶ 42. That included Deputy
Campanella. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶¶ 34-35; 69-1,
¶¶ 34-35. On September 23, 2008, Chief Scott
announced that MCSO would be reposting the CPO positions and
reassigning Deputy Campanella and the two other CPOs. ECF
Nos. 60-2, ¶¶ 31, 38; 69-1, ¶¶ 31, 38.
Deputy Campanella remained in the CPO position until
September of 2009, ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 41; 69-1, ¶ 41;
60-3, at which time he was assigned to work temporarily as a
full-time Firearm Instructor. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 42; 69-1,
¶ 42. On January 25, 2010, Deputy Campanella was
reassigned to Road Patrol. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 44; 69-1,
¶ 44. At that time, the two other CPOs were either also
reassigned to Road Patrol or retired. ECF Nos. 60-2,
¶¶ 45-46; 69-1, ¶¶ 45-46.
claim that, around the time that Chief Scott announced the
CPO reassignments, Chief Scott and Sheriff O'Flynn
commented on Ms. Campanella's association with Dan
Greene. First, Plaintiffs claim that, in reference to Ms.
Campanella, Chief Scott asked Deputy Campanella, “[H]ow
is that going to work, with her working for a
Democrat?” and “Isn't she afraid that will be
a problem?” ECF No. 69-5 at 4. Second, on October 20,
2008, Sheriff O'Flynn commented on Ms. Campanella's
association with Dan Greene while meeting with Deputy
Campanella at a Starbucks. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 55; 69-1,
¶ 55. Either before or during this meeting, Sheriff
O'Flynn learned that Ms. Campanella was working for Dan
Greene at Leader Security. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 56; 69-1,
¶¶ 22, 56. In the context of a conversation about
Greene's potential campaign for sheriff, Sheriff
O'Flynn said to Mr. Campanella, “that would put you
in a box if [Greene] runs.” ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 95;
69-1, ¶ 59.
spring of 2009, MCSO officers investigated allegations that
Deputy Campanella was inappropriately gossiping. ECF Nos.
60-2, ¶¶ 61-67; 69-1, ¶¶ 61-67. In April
2009, MCSO Major Crimes Investigators Patrick Crough and
Kevin Garvey told Undersheriff Caiola that they heard Deputy
Campanella spreading a rumor that MCSO officers might face
criminal charges for conducting an improper investigation of
the Robutrad matter. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 61; 69-1, ¶
61. Robutrad is a now-defunct local company that once did
construction work for Monroe County. ECF No. 60-3, 138-39.
Robutrad employees allegedly repaired the homes of local
Republican officials while still on the county clock.
Id. Crough and Garvey requested that MCSO
investigate Deputy Campanella's gossiping in connection
with those statements. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 61; 69-1, ¶
61. But Undersheriff Caiola did not believe Deputy
Campanella's statements “were serious enough”
to warrant further inquiry. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 62; 69-1,
¶ 62; 60-5, 126:11-15.
weeks later, Undersheriff Caiola heard that Deputy Campanella
had been telling other MCSO officers that MCSO charged Deputy
Anthony DiPonzio with abuse of sick time for visiting his son
in the hospital. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 63; 69-1, ¶ 63.
Deputy DiPonzio's son, a Rochester Police Officer, was
shot in the head while on duty in January of 2009. ECF No.
60-5, 122-23. Based on that report, Undersheriff Caiola asked
Chief Scott to conduct an investigation into both instances
of Deputy Campanella's gossiping. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶
64; 69-1, ¶ 64; 60-5, 131:11-15. On May 1, 2009, Chief
Scott, Lieutenant Tomassetti, and Sergeant Lawrence
interviewed Deputy Campanella. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 67;
69-1, ¶ 67. During that interview, Deputy Campanella
claims to have requested warnings under Garrity v. New
Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), and union representation.
ECF No. 69-2, ¶ 22. But according to Deputy Campanella,
he was told he was not entitled to Garrity warnings
or union representation. Id. Deputy Campanella also
claims that the officers also interviewed at least four other
MCSO deputies in connection with this investigation. See
14, 2009, Lieutenant Tomassetti issued Deputy Campanella a
Memorandum of Record (“MOR”) regarding these
gossiping allegations. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 76; 69-1, ¶
76; 60-12. The MOR described the instances of gossiping,
noted Deputy Campanella's responses to the allegations,
and summarized Deputy Campanella's violations of
MCSO's code of conduct. ECF No. 60-12. The MOR focused on
Deputy Campanella's gossiping about Deputy DiPonzio, but
it also mentioned the Robutrad matter. Id. Sheriff
O'Flynn, Undersheriff Caiola, Chief Scott, Internal
Affairs, and Deputy Campanella's personnel file were
copied on the MOR. ECF No. 27-15. In closing, the MOR warned
Deputy Campanella that “[a]ny further action of this
type may result in disciplinary action . . . .”
12, 2009, MCSO created a full-time and permanent Firearms
Deputy position in an attempt to reduce the amount of
overtime that temporary and part-time instructors generated.
ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 98; 69-1, ¶ 98. Deputy Campanella
and six other officers applied for that position. ECF Nos.
60-2, ¶¶ 101, 104; 69-1, ¶¶ 101, 104.
Seven officers sat on the selection committee. ECF Nos. 60-2,
¶¶ 111-12, 120; 69-1, ¶¶ 111-12, 120.
Four of the seven officers on the selection committee
recommended Deputy Brian Moore for the position. ECF Nos.
60-2, ¶ 120; 69-1, ¶ 120. On June 30, 2009, MCSO
awarded the position to Deputy Moore. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶
113; 69-1, ¶ 113. Finally, about one month later, Deputy
Campanella was removed from the Operation Safe Child
assignment. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 93; 69-1, ¶ 93.
attribute these events to Ms. Campanella's association
with Dan Greene and Leader Security. See generally
ECF No. 69-5. Plaintiffs claim that, on September 24, 2008,
Sergeant Jeff Wagner told Deputy Campanella that Defendants
reassigned him to Road Patrol because of Ms. Campanella's
association with Dan Greene and Leader Security. See
ECF No. 69-2, ¶ 13. Plaintiffs also claim that Sergeant
Scott Walsh told Deputy Campanella that, in August of 2008,
Sheriff O'Flynn and Undersheriff Caiola “were
watching everyone at Leader [Security], ” intended to
“take down” everyone affiliated with Leader
Security, and began monitoring the Leader Security
website. See ECF No. 69-5; see
also ECF No. 60-3, Deposition of Deputy
Campanella, at 79: 13-15. Conversely, Defendants claim
that the changes in Deputy Campanella's employment were
unrelated to Ms. Campanella's association with Dan Greene
and Leader Security. See generally ECF No. 60-20.
Defendants contend that the changes either occurred before
MCSO learned of Ms. Campanella's employment or were taken
for a legitimate reason. See Id. at 1.
24 years with MCSO, Deputy Campanella retired on June 23,
2012. ECF Nos. 60-2, ¶ 8; 69-1, ¶ 8.
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.
moving party bears the burden of showing that there are no
genuine disputes of material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. 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.
Id. at 158. That is to say, “on summary
judgment the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts
contained in the moving party's materials must be viewed