Lenox v. Town of North Branford
Allegations that a supervisor instructed the plaintiff to report to a police station, that the plaintiff was arrested, and that the supervisor informed the plaintiff that he had been placed on administrative leave, may be insufficient to prove intentional infliction of emotional distress by the supervisor. Allegedly, the police investigated a complaint by the defendant supervisor, Francis Merola, about a possible theft of spray lubricant from a municipal Department of Public Works facility by the plaintiff employee, John Lenox. Although the police concluded that the spray lubricant in Lenox's possession differed from the spray lubricant the municipality purchased, Merola allegedly instructed Lenox to report to the police station. A detective arrested Lenox, who was charged with larceny. Merola informed Lenox he had been placed on administrative leave, with pay. When he went to court, Lenox allegedly observed a communication from the town manager that stated, "Call from Town Manager[.] [P]rosecute this case to the fullest." After the criminal charges were dismissed, Lenox sued Merola and the municipality, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress, because Merola allegedly persisted in efforts to prosecute, although he knew, or should have known, Lenox was innocent, after the police indicated that no basis existed for a criminal complaint. Previously, the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment on Lenox's allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress. On reconsideration, the court found that allegations that Merola instructed Lenox to report to the police, Lenox was arrested, and Merola informed Lenox he had been placed on administrative leave, were insufficient to allege that Merola caused Lenox to be prosecuted for a crime that he knew Lenox did not commit. Lenox did not prove the key allegation that Merola persisted in efforts to have Lenox arrested and did everything in his power to have Lenox prosecuted. Evidence indicated that the town manager ordered Lenox's prosecution. "[O]n the basis of the evidence produced by the plaintiff," wrote the court, "a jury could not reasonably find for the plaintiff as to his intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Merola." The court granted Francis Merola's motion for summary judgment.