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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE

15TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT IN AND FOR


PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA
CASE NO.:

C.M.,'
Plaintiff,
vs.

CITY OF BOYNTON BEACH and


STEPHEN JAMES MAIORINO,
Defendants.
COMPLAINT AND JURY TRIAL DEMAND
Plaintiff, C.M., sues Defendants, CITY OF BOYNTON BEACH (the "CITY") and
STEPHEN JAMES MAIORINO ("MAIORINO"), and states:
Introduction
1.

This case involves the intimidation, false imprisonment, and rape of a 20-year-old

woman by an on-duty Boynton Beach Police Officer. This horrific criminal act was the product
of Boynton Beach Police Department policies, procedures, customs, and practices of condoning
unlawful and improper acts by their employees and police officers, of failing to identify, train,
discipline, or otherwise properly supervise officers who have engaged in unlawful and
unjustified acts, and specifically of condoning and failing to appropriately respond, through
discipline, training, supervision, or otherwise, to the prior misconduct of MAIORINO. Simply
put, the Boynton Beach Police Department displayed deliberate indifference to the rights of C.M.
by knowingly permitting MAIORINO to remain alone with her long enough to commit his
crimes.
Plaintiff is being identified by her initials only, because, as the victim of a sexual battery, her identity is
protected from public disclosure under Florida law. Defendant is aware of C.M.'s full name.

Parties, Jurisdiction, and Venue


2.

C.M. has at all material times resided in Palm Beach County, Florida.

3.

The CITY is a political subdivision of the State of Florida located within Palm

Beach County. The Boynton Beach Police Department is a department of the CITY.
4.

At all material times, MAIORINO was employed as a police officer with the

Boynton Beach Police Department and resided in Palm Beach County.


5.

The acts at issue were committed, and the causes of action arose, in Palm Beach

6.

C.M. seeks damages in excess of Fifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00),

County.

exclusive of costs, interest, and attorney's fees.


Background Allegations
Boynton Beach Police Department: A Pattern ofImproper Conduct
7.

Boynton Beach Police Department officers have alarmingly, and increasingly,

committed violations of criminal law and engaged in other improper conduct.


8.

For example, since 2011, the Boynton Beach Police Department has had to arrest

its own officers for: driving under the influence, trafficking in drugs, using excessive force, and
falsifying reports.
9.

Included among these recent arrestees is a Boynton Beach Police Officer who

failed to comply with his bail restrictions, fled the United States, and is currently located in
Brazil.

10.

This alarmingly high number of serious criminal law violations on the part of

Boynton Beach Police Officers is symptomatic of a culture of lawlessness within the Department
that has remained uncorrected over an extended period of time.
11.

It is unknown how many other criminal violations have been committed but have

not resulted in charges filed against Boynton Beach Police Department officers.
12.

The Boynton Beach Police Department has also been involved in a scandal

involving on-the-job downloading of pornographic images.


13.

The Boynton Beach Police Department, and in particular Chief Katz, is on notice

of this pattern of criminality and improper conduct within the Department. By failing to take
appropriate proactive remedial action, including more training and better supervision, the
Department is sending the message that officer misconduct will be tolerated and, at most,
addressed after the fact.
MAIORINO 's History
14.

MAIORINO's internal affairs file contains numerous complaints, incidents, and

findings that alerted the CITY to a need for additional discipline, training, and supervision,
including:
a.

Before being hired by the CITY, MAIORINO was arrested twice, once for

providing alcohol to a minor and once for driving under the influence of alcohol.
b.

In 2010, lawyers for Dieuseul Bertrand complained that MAIORINO used

excessive force in arresting him, seized a surveillance camera that would have shown the
incident, and kept over $4,000 of the money confiscated during a search of his home. The
Boynton Beach Police Department Investigator deemed the claims of excessive force and theft of
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funds "unfounded," and determined that, in seizing the camera, MAIORINO did not
intentionally interfere with Mr. Bertrand's rights. But he did find that MAIORINO lacked legal
authority to seize the camera without a warrant and then failed to turn in the camera to the
Boynton Beach Police Department Evidence Unit, without justification, for eleven days.
Moreover, the Investigator found that MAIORINO' s written reports contained "glaring
omissions and less than accurate descriptions of the course of events." (Emphasis added).
These conclusions were approved by Chief Immler through the chain of command. While a fiveday suspension was recommended, the Boynton Beach Police Department reduced
MAIORINO's suspension to two days, sent him for training, and then increased his incentive pay
when he completed the training.

This glaringly deficient response did nothing to deter

MAIORINO but instead served only to promote further violations on his part.
c.

In 2010, Joseph Bruny complained that he approached the scene where

MAIORINO had arrested his brother during a traffic stop. MAIORONI used excessive force on
Mr. Bruny, took him into custody, and threatened to "take care of him" if Mr. Bruny appeared in
Boynton Beach again.

The Boynton Beach Police Department Investigator found that the

allegations of inappropriate use of force and abuse of authority were "not sustained." Chief
Immler expressly approved these findings.

MAIORINO was thus not subjected to any

discipline, or sent for any training, based upon this incident.


d.

In 2012, Marcus Jerry complained that he had pulled into the driveway of

his mother's house when MAIORINO came speeding up behind him. MAIORINO approached
Mr. Jerry, told him to show his hands, pulled him out of his car with a gun to his head, and
threatened to "blow [Mr. Jerry's] head off' the next time he did not show his hands.
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MAIORINO then threw Mr. Jerry to the grounds, handcuffed him for no reason, and searched his
car without proper cause. The Internal Affairs investigator never made direct contact with the
complainant and eventually determined that "there is no indication that any department policies
were violated....

[T]he allegations are deemed unfounded."

This finding was expressly

approved, in writing, by then-Lt. Katz and Chief Immler. MAIORINO was thus not subjected to
any discipline, or sent for any training, based upon this incident.
e.

In September 2012, MAIORINO was dispatched to a business location in

reference to an audible alarm. MAIORINO advised that he was en route, yet never showed up at
the location. When contacted, MAIORINO falsely reported that he had already checked the
business location. MAIORINO offered no explanation for his conduct. With Chief Immler's
approval, MAIORINO was given just a written reprimand for neglect of duty -- another glaringly
deficient response to serious misconduct.
f.

In October 2012, MAIORINO was found to have gone into an apartment

and neglected his duties for at least half an hour. He was given a written reprimand and told that
"this conduct is not tolerated." MAIORINO advised that such a problem would not happen
again.

g.

In April 2013, MAIORINO was found to have made a detour, for

unidentified "personal reasons," while transporting a prisoner. Notwithstanding his prior history,
MAIORINO was again given only a written reprimand for neglect of duty.
These repeated "red flags" demanded far greater supervision and intervention from the
CITY.

15.

As of October 16, 2014, the Boynton Beach Police Department was aware that

MAIORINO had made false reports, had been arrested for crimes involving alcohol and minors,
had been the subject of several complaints that he was violent and threatening to citizens, and
had repeatedly disappeared while on duty, without explanation, for an extended period of time.
Yet the Department still permitted MAIORINO to have unsupervised, one-on-one contact with
members of the public, including young females.
The Assault and Battery, False Imprisonment, and Rape of C.M.
16.

On Wednesday, October 15, 2014, C.M. was a passenger in her friend Eric's

Hyundai Genesis motor vehicle.

Boynton Beach Police Officers pulled the car over in

connection with a DUI checkpoint. Eric was ultimately placed in a patrol vehicle and taken to
the Boynton Beach Police Department for processing.

The officers spoke with C.M. and

determined that there was no basis to charge her with any crime. But they told C.M. that they
were going to tow Eric's car and would transport her to the police station to be picked up.
17.

MAIORINO drove C.M. in his police vehicle. Upon arriving at the Boynton

Beach Police Department station, C.M. removed her seatbelt and was getting out of the patrol
car. MAIORINO told her to stay in the car and proceeded to tell C.M. that she was sexy and that
he had been "checking her out." MAIORINO started rubbing C.M.'s leg, then forced her to
perform oral sex on him, threatening to arrest her if she did not. C.M. submitted to this demand
solely out of fear.
18.

Before he ejaculated, MAIORINO held C.M.'s head down and drove to a location

near Woolbright Road and 1-95. MAIORINO took out his gun, pointed it at C.M., and ordered
her to "get the f*ck out of the car." After C.M. stepped out, MAIORINO continued pointing his
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gun at C.M., told her to remove her clothing and a tampon she was wearing, placed her over the
hood of his patrol car, and raped her.
19.

After MAIORINO raped C.M., he yelled at her to put on her clothes and get back

in the car. Once in the car, MAIORINO pulled the clip from his automatic weapon, showed her
that it was loaded, and told her that if she said anything to anyone about the incident, "I will kill
you." C.M. was then, and remains, in fear from this threat.
20.

During the drive back to the police station, MAIORINO again forced C.M.'s head

down, so that she could not see where they were.


21.

The Boynton Beach Police Department Computer Aided Dispatch ("CAD")

system is designed to document officer status at regular intervals. The Boynton Beach Police
Department Communications Center is delegated the authority to enforce CAD procedures. Yet,
as MAIORINO abducted and then raped C.M., the Boynton Beach Police Department ignored
the fact that its officer was alone with a young female and (once again) out of regular contact for
an extended period of time.
22.

Notwithstanding MAIORINO's threat, shortly

after being released by

MAIORINO, C.M. told her sister and mother what happened. C.M. was taken to Wellington
Regional Hospital, the incident was reported, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office was notified,
and a rape kit examination was authorized. Following a subsequent investigation, the State
Attorney's Office arrested MAIORINO on charges of Armed Sexual Battery, Kidnapping, and
Unlawful Compensation or Reward for Official Behavior.

23.

C.M. has provided presuit notice pursuant to Florida Statute 768.28 and been thus

far unable to resolve the claim. C.M. has further retained the undersigned counsel and agreed to
pay reasonable fees and costs for services rendered.
COUNTI 42 U.S.C. 1983 VIOLATION OF PLAINTIFFS CIVIL RIGHTS
(MAIORINO)
24.

C.M. reallages paragraph 1 through 23.

25.

MAIORINO's actions on or about October 15, 2014, occurred within the scope of

his employment as a police officer for the CITY and under color of state law.
26.

MAIORINO knew or should have known that his conduct violated C.M.'s civil

rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments.


27.

Any reasonable officer would be aware that this conduct violated C.M.'s civil

28.

The law prohibiting such conduct as unconstitutional was clearly established at

rights.

the time.
29.

As a direct and proximate result of MAIORINO' s violation of C.M.'s civil rights,

C.M. has suffered damages, including mental anguish, bodily injury, pain and suffering,
disability, disfigurement, emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of capacity for the
enjoyment of life, expense of medical care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of ability to earn
money and aggravation of a previously existing condition. The losses are permanent and/or
continuing and C.M. will continue to suffer losses in the future.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands a judgment against MAIORINO for compensatory and
punitive damages, costs, interest, reasonable attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1988, and
such other and further relief as the court deems appropriate.
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COUNT II 42 U.S.C. 1983 DEPRIVATION OF PLAINTIFF'S CIVIL RIGHTS


(CITY)
30.

C.M. reallages paragraphs 1 through 29.

31.

At all times material hereto, the CITY was responsible for the Boynton Beach

Police Department, its agents and employees, including supervising, overseeing, training and
establishing policies, customs, and procedures to conform their conduct to law.
32.

The Chief of the Boynton Beach Police Department, which since July 2013 has

been Jeffrey S. Katz, is the final policymaker on matters relating to law enforcement within the
CITY.
33.

The CITY'S policies, procedures, customs, and practices of condoning unlawful

and improper acts by their employees and police officers, of failing to identify, train, discipline,
or otherwise properly supervise officers who have engaged in unlawful and unjustified acts, and
specifically of condoning and failing to appropriately respond, through discipline, training,
supervision, or otherwise, to the prior misconduct of MAIORINO were a moving force behind
the violations of C.M.'s civil rights.
34.

The CITY displayed deliberate indifference to the rights of C.M. by allowing

MAIORINO to possess law enforcement authority after his propensity to abuse that authority
became readily apparent, and to remain alone with C.M. long enough to commit his crimes.
35.

As a direct and proximate result of the violation of C.M.'s civil rights, C.M. has

suffered damages, including mental anguish, bodily injury, pain and suffering, disability,
disfigurement, emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of capacity for the
enjoyment of life, expense of medical care and treatment, loss of earning, loss of ability to earn

money, and aggravation of a previously existing condition. The losses are permanent and/or
continuing and C.M. will continue to suffer losses in the future.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory damages,
costs, interest, reasonable attorneys' fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1988, and such other and
further relief as the court deems appropriate.
COUNT III: BATTERY
(CITY)
36.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23.

37.

C.M. suffered a harmful and offensive contact in connection with MAIORINO's

rubbing her leg, grabbing her arm, forcing her to perform oral sex on him, and holding her head
down while driving.
38.

MAIORINO was acting in the scope of his employment.

39.

The CITY is vicariously liable for these acts constituting battery.

40.

As a direct and proximate result of MAIORINO's battery, C.M. has suffered

damages, including bodily injury, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish,
emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of capacity of the enjoyment of life,
expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of
ability to earn money, and aggravation of a previously existing condition. The losses are
permanent and/or continuing and C.M. will continue to suffer losses in the future.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory damages,
costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.

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COUNT IV: BATTERY


(MAIORINO)
41.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23, 37, and 40.

42.

MAIORINO is individually liable for these acts constituting battery.

WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against MAIORINO for compensatory


damages, costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT V: ASSAULT
(CITY)
43.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23.

44.

C.M. was placed in reasonable fear of imminent peril when MAIORINO pointed

a gun at her and ordered her out of the car, as well as when MAIORINO showed the bullets in
his ammunition clip and threatened to kill her if she reported this incident.
45.

MAIORINO was acting in the scope of his employment.

46.

The CITY is vicariously liable for MAIORINO' s assault.

47.

As a direct and proximate result of MAIORINO's assault, C.M. has suffered

damages, including bodily injury, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish,
emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of capacity of the enjoyment of life,
expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of
ability to earn money, and aggravation of a previously existing condition.

The losses are

permanent and/or continuing and C.M. will continue to suffer losses in the future.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory damages,
costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.

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COUNT VI: ASSAULT


(MAIORINO)
48.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23, 44, and 47.

49.

MAIORINO is individually liable for his acts of assault.

WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against MAIORINO for compensatory


damages, costs, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT VII: BATTERY
(CITY)
50.

Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1 through 23.

51.

C.M. suffered a harmful and offensive contact when she was pushed onto the

police car and raped by MAIORINO.


52.

MAIORINO was acting in the scope of his employment.

53.

The CITY is vicariously liable for these acts constituting battery.

54.

As a direct and proximate result of MAIORINO's battery, C.M. has suffered

damages, including bodily injury, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish,
emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of capacity of the enjoyment of life,
expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of
ability to earn money, and aggravation of a previously existing condition.

The losses are

permanent and/or continuing and C.M. will continue to suffer losses in the future.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory damages,
costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT VIII: BATTERY
(MAIORINO)
55.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23, 51, and 54.


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56.

MAIORINO is individually liable for these acts constituting battery.

WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against MAIORINO for compensatory


damages, costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT IX: FALSE IMPRISONMENT
(CITY)
57.

Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1 through 23.

58.

C.M. was unlawfully restrained and deprived of her liberty, without her consent

and against her will, by MAIORINO.


59.

MAIORINO was acting in the scope of his employment.

60.

The CITY is vicariously liable for this false imprisonment.

61.

As a direct and proximate result of MAIORINO's false imprisonment, C.M. has

suffered damages, including bodily injury, pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental
anguish, emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of capacity of the enjoyment of
life, expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of
ability to earn money, and aggravation of a previously existing condition.

The losses are

permanent and/or continuing and C.M. will continue to suffer losses in the future.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory damages,
costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT X: FALSE IMPRISONMENT
(MAIORINO)
62.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23, 58, and 61.

63.

MAIORINO is individually liable for false imprisonment.

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WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against MAIORINO for compensatory


damages, costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT XI: INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
(CITY)
64.

Plaintiff realleges paragraphs 1 through 23.

65.

MAIORINO's course of conduct, as described herein, was outrageous, going

beyond all bounds of decency, and is regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized
community.
66.

As a direct and proximate result of MAIORINO's conduct, C.M. has suffered

severe emotional distress that is permanent and/or continuing in nature.


67.

MAIORINO was acting in the scope of his employment.

68.

The CITY is vicariously liable for this intentional infliction of emotional distress.

WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory damages,
costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT XII: INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS
(MAIORINO)
69.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23, 65, and 66.

70.

MAIORINO is individually liable for his intentional infliction of emotional

distress.
WHEREFORE, C.M. demands judgment against MAIORINO for compensatory
damages, costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
COUNT XIII: NEGLIGENT HIRING, SUPERVISION, RETENTION, AND TRAINING
(CITY)
71.

C.M. realleges paragraphs 1 through 23.


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72.

The CITY owes a legal duty to hire and retain as Boynton Beach Police Officers

only those fit for service, to supervise Boynton Beach Police Officers, and to provide necessary
and appropriate discipline, training, and retraining.
73.

Before and during the course of MAIORINO's employment, the CITY became

aware or should have become aware of problems with MAIORINO that indicated his unfitness
for service and/or the need for additional discipline, training, and supervision.
74.

The CITY breached its duty by failing to take the necessary action. Instead, the

CITY continued to employ MAIORINO as a Boynton Beach Police Officer, which put him in a
position of authority over members of the public, and permitted MAIORINO to have
unsupervised, one-on-one contact with members of the public, including young females such as
C.M.
75.

C.M. fell within the zone of foreseeable risk created by MAIORINO's continued

employment.
76.

As a direct and proximate result of the CITY' s negligent hiring, supervision,

retention, and training of MAIORINO, C.M. was subjected to injury.

C.M. has suffered

grievously, suffered bodily injury and resulting pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement,
mental anguish, loss of capacity of the enjoyment of life, expensive hospitalization, and medical
care and treatment, loss of earnings, loss of ability to earn money, and aggravation of a
previously existing condition.

The losses are permanent and/or continuing and C.M. will

continue to suffer losses in the future


WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against the CITY for compensatory
damages, costs, interest, and such other and further relief as the Court deems appropriate.
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DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL


Plaintiff hereby demands trial by jury for all issues appropriately tried by a jury.
DATED this

day of November,

Jack S
Flo

la
ar No.: 169440
ey E-Mail: jsx@searcylaw.com and,
p@searcylaw.com
imary E-Mail: _ScarolaTeam@searcylaw.com
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A.
2139 Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard
West Palm Beach, Florida 33409
Phone: (561) 686-6300
Fax: (561) 383-9451
Attorney for Plaintiff

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