inappropriate to apply the wrongful death statute to a claim for a violation of the mother's constitutional rights. Similarly, in Robertson, the Court noted that a state survival statute would not affect the claim of a survivor for injury to his own constitutional rights.
Here, plaintiffs seek compensation for their personal injuries, for their loss of society and companionship, losses that are for emotional damages they have suffered. Doty v. Carey, 626 F. Supp. 359 (N.D. Ill. 1986); see also Wilson v. Garcia, 105 S. Ct. at 1948 (section 1983 claims are generally characterized as personal injury claims). The Pennsylvania Wrongful Death Statute is designed to compensate survivors for their pecuniary losses, Slaseman v. Myers, supra, those that are akin to property losses. Thus, this statute should not be applied, as a matter of law, to preclude recovery for the deprivation of the parents' constitutional right to companionship with their adult, married child.
Plaintiffs also alleged that defendants conspired to cover-up the circumstances of their son's death which deprived them of their right of access to the courts. See Ryland v. Shapiro, 708 F.2d 967 (5th Cir. 1983). Access must be "adequate, effective, and meaningful" and more than mere entry to the courts is required. Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822, 52 L. Ed. 2d 72, 97 S. Ct. 1491 (1977); Bell, supra. This cause of action requires plaintiffs to have an underlying claim which they could not bring because their access to the courts was denied. Because I conclude that plaintiffs have stated a claim based on a deprivation of their right to companionship and parental association, they may maintain their claim based on a denial of their right of access to the courts.
Plaintiffs have also brought a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law. Because the threshold for surviving a motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is "very low" I will not grant defendants' motion to dismiss the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. I note, however, that the standard of outrageous conduct necessary for this claim is extremely high and in all likelihood subject to disposition on a motion for summary judgment. Wisniewski v. Johns-Manville Corp., 812 F.2d 81 (3d Cir. 1987).
In conclusion, I hold that parents of an adult, married child may bring an action for the complete deprivation of their right to companionship. This decision is based on the reasoning of the Seventh Circuit in Bell v. City of Milwaukee, the alleged close relationship between plaintiffs and decedent, the constitutional protections afforded the parent-child relationship, and the complete extinguishment of this relationship by the alleged unconstitutional actions of the defendants. This opinion should not be read to suggest a cause of action beyond these limits exists.
AND NOW, this 28th day of January, 1988, upon consideration of defendants' motion to dismiss the amended complaint and for the reasons stated in the accompanying memorandum, it is hereby ordered as follows:
1. Defendants' motion to dismiss counts I-V is denied.
2. Defendants' motion to dismiss count VI is denied.
3. The Police Department of the City of Philadelphia is dismissed as a defendant.
4. The stay on discovery imposed by my order dated March 20, 1987, is lifted and the parties are permitted to resume discovery.