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ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. Douglas P. Woodlock, U.S. District Judge]

Gary Collins was once a used car dealer, operating a lot called The Car Place along the Revere Beach Parkway in Everett, Massachusetts. He did so by grace of a license from Everett’s Board of Aldermen. Collins fell out of grace, having repeatedly violated the terms of his license, and his relationship with the Board was marked by acrimony and litigation. The Board in 1996 denied his application for a new annual license. Collins thought the Board was retaliating for his having sued them. To make matters worse in Collins’s eyes, the new licensee who operated on Collins’s old site was given more generous license terms.

Collins responded by filing this � 1983 suit against the Board in late 1996. The complaint alleged that the Board denied Collins’s application arbitrarily and maliciously, partly in retaliation for his lawsuit, depriving him of his constitutional rights. One Board member, David Ravanesi, was singled out as having particular personal animosity against Collins and as having defamed him. In 1992 Collins heard that someone, he suspected Ravanesi, was spreading the word that Collins sold more than cars at the lot and Collins, understandably, did not like the suggestion he was selling drugs. Thus, he amended his complaint in 1997 to add a state law claim for defamation against Ravanesi.

 
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