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HILL v. BOROUGH OR SWARTHMORE

April 21, 1998

JAMAL HILL, Plaintiff,
v.
BOROUGH OR SWARTHMORE, T/A/Dì and/or A/K/A SWARTHMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT, and OFFICER SHUFFLETTE, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: REED

MEMORANDUM

 Reed, J.

 April 21, 1998

 Plaintiff Jamal Hill ("Hill") filed a complaint in this Court against defendants Borough of Swarthmore, t/a/d/b and/or a/k/a Swarthmore Police Department ("the police department"), and Officer Shufflette under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 alleging that the defendants took him into custody on September 27, 1996 while he was working and detained him for four hours without allowing him to contact counsel in violation of his rights to privacy, equal protection, and due process and his right against cruel and unusual punishment under the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Hill also alleges various claims under state law.

 Before the Court is the defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and alternatively for a more definite statement under Rule 12(e) (Document No. 5). The defendants claim that Counts II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X should be dismissed, as well as Hill's claim for punitive damages against the Borough of Swarthmore, the police department, and Officer Shufflette in his official capacity, Hill's claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, and Hill's claim under the Eighth Amendment. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The following facts are taken from the complaint. On September 27, 1996, Hill was working for Septa on the R-3 train line in the Borough of Swarthmore. He was approached by unspecified employees of the defendants and told they were looking for a dark skinned African-American with dred locks. Even though Hill claims he did not fit this description, he was handcuffed and arrested by the defendants. Hill was fingerprinted and photographed, and his work uniform was confiscated. Hill claims he never got a receipt for the uniform. Hill was held for questioning for approximately four hours before being released, but he was never charged with a crime.

 On October 2, 1996, Hill alleges that the defendants drove by his work site and waved and laughed at him in front of his co-workers and supervisor. This happened again on several subsequent occasions. Hill claims that the defendants did not return any part of his work uniform, which he had to pay to replace himself, and that he was docked a day's pay for the time spent in detainment by the defendants. In addition, Hill claims that during his detainment he was not granted his requests to contact counsel or his family.

 In his complaint, Hill alleges that the defendants were negligent in their failure to train their agents, personnel, and employees and their failure to take reasonable precautions for the protection of Hill against tortious conduct of its agents. Hill alleges that the defendants deprived him of his right to privacy, equal protection, due process and his right against cruel and unusual punishment. Hill alleges that the defendants were coconspirators engaged in a scheme designed to deprive him of his rights because of his race.

 Hill also alleged the following state law claims: violation of custodial relationship (Count II), false imprisonment or assault (Count III), loss of consortium (Count IV), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count V), negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count VI), malicious prosecution (Count VII), defamation (Count VIII), interference with contractual relationship (Count IX) and conversion (Count X). Hill does not specify which actions are attributable to which employee or agent of the defendants, as all of his allegations are directed against "the defendants." Hill did not specify whether the claims against Officer Shufflette are in his official or personal capacity, or both.

 II. STANDARD FOR A MOTION TO DISMISS UNDER FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(B)(6) OR A MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT UNDER 12(E)

 Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "the following defenses may at the option of the pleader be made by motion: (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must take all well pleaded facts in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 421, 23 L. Ed. 2d 404, 89 S. Ct. 1843 (1969). A complaint should be dismissed if "it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 81 L. Ed. 2d 59, 104 S. Ct. 2229 (1984).

 More stringent pleading requirements are imposed on a plaintiff bringing a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Darr v. Wolfe, 767 F.2d 79, 80 (3d Cir. 1985); Ross v. Meagan, 638 F.2d 646, 650 (3d Cir. 1981); Rotolo v. Borough of Charleroi, 532 F.2d 920, 922 (3d Cir. 1976). Under the requirements established by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the plaintiff in such a case must make "specific allegations ...


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