Adrianne Fouts and Edward Benjamin successfully defended the Falmouth Police Department in an appeal before the First Circuit Court of Appeals brought by a former resident of the Town of Falmouth who challenged the lawfulness of her arrest. Before the District Court, the plaintiff claimed the arresting officer lacked probable cause to arrest her, used excessive force by handcuffing her and discriminated against her on the basis of disability by misinterpreting her disability as criminal activity. The plaintiff was issued a summons for abuse of the 9-1-1 system resulting from many non-emergency calls to 9-1-1, including after receiving a warning. She was arrested for refusal to sign the summons, which is a misdemeanor offense, and which occurred in the presence of the arresting officer. She also refused to submit to arrest, requiring the use of handcuffs. The District Court agreed with the Falmouth Police Department’s arguments on summary judgment that the arresting officer had probable cause to arrest the plaintiff, that no excessive force was used and that there was no discrimination against the plaintiff in her arrest because the plaintiff admitted that the reason she refused to sign the summons was because she believed she had done nothing wrong. The Court agreed there was no evidence that the arresting officer misunderstood plaintiff’s refusal to sign the summons or misinterpreted any disability as criminal activity. The District Court entered judgment in favor of the Police Department and the plaintiff appealed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of the Police Department, agreeing that the arrest was lawful, that there was no excessive force and that the Department did not discriminate against the plaintiff on the basis of any disability.