Federal judge denies defendants’ motion for summary judgment

A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Boston and four named Boston police officers can now proceed to trial. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the estate of Shayne Stilphen, who died of an overdose while in the custody of the Boston Police Department in July 2019. As administrator of her son’s estate, Shayne’s mother Lynnel Cox filed suit in June 2022, represented by the ACLU of Massachusetts and Goodwin Procter LLP.  

On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, ruling that the lawsuit can proceed to trial on all three counts: alleged violation of Shayne’s due process right to adequate medical care while in pre-trial custody, alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and an allegation under state law that defendants caused Shayne’s wrongful death. 

“This decision represents an important step forward for the case,” said Alexandra Valenti, partner at Goodwin Procter LLP. “We are pleased that Ms. Cox’s claims will now move forward to trial.” 

“Our worlds remain empty without Shayne here,” said plaintiff Lynnel Cox. “This ruling is an important step forward, but it also comes with hurt. No matter what happens, I will always need my son.”  

The trial is currently set to begin on August 12, 2024. 

For the opinion and more information about the case, go to: https://www.aclum.org/sites/default/files/104_memorandum_and_order_on_msjs.pdf

For more information about the ACLU of Massachusetts, go to: https://www.aclum.org/  

For more information about Goodwin, go to: https://www.goodwinlaw.com/