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JOHNSON v. ANHORN

Dwayne Richard Johnson et al., Plaintiffs
v.
Guy A. Anhorn et al., Defendants. Daniel A. Antonelli, Plaintiff v. Guy A. Anhorn et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ANITA BRODY, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

On April 22, 2003, plaintiffs Dwayne Richard Johnson ("Johnson"), Damian A. Graham ("Graham"), Charles Henry Covington ("Covington") and Phenix Crumpton ("Crumpton"), collectively the "Johnson plaintiffs," filed this civil rights action against defendants Whitemarsh Township Police Sergeant Guy A. Anhorn ("Anhorn"), Whitemarsh Township Police Lieutenant Jessie Stemple ("Stemple"), Whitemarsh Township Police Department, and Whitemarsh Township. On March 5, 2004, the Johnson plaintiffs amended their complaint, which now brings claims against defendants Anhorn; Stemple; Whitemarsh Township; Whitemarsh Township Police Officers, Supervisors and Policymakers John Doe I through X; Whitemarsh Township Supervisors Ronald J. Derosa ("Derosa"), Ann Younglove ("Younglove"), William P. Rimell, III ("Rimell"), Peter B. Cornog ("Cornog"), and Michael A. Zeock ("Zeock"); and Whitemarsh Township Manager Lawrence Gregan ("Gregan").

On January 14, 2004, plaintiff Daniel Antonelli ("Antonelli") filed a separate civil rights action alleging the same facts as in the Johnson amended complaint and bringing the same claims against the same defendants. These cases have been consolidated for discovery purposes.

  Defendant Anhorn has individually filed nearly identical motions to dismiss portions of both the Johnson plaintiffs' amended complaint and the Antonelli complaint. I will address these two motions together.

  In addition to the two motions to dismiss filed by Anhorn, defendants Stemple, Whitemarsh Township, DeRosa, Younglove, Cornog, Zeock, Rimell and Gregan have filed a third, separate motion to dismiss in the Antonelli case. These defendants argue that: (1) Count Fourteen, the claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1986 against Stemple, Derosa, Younglove, Cornog, Zeock, Rimell and Gregan should be dismissed; (2) Count Fifteen, the claim under § 1988 against all defendants should be dismissed; and (3) all remaining claims against defendant Stemple should be dismissed. Plaintiff has not responded to this third motion to dismiss and I will grant it.

  Relevant Facts Alleged in the Complaints*fn1

  The Johnson plaintiffs' amended complaint and Antonelli's complaint each include the allegations of all five plaintiffs. For ease of reference, I will cite to the Johnson plaintiffs' amended complaint in this opinion, although all facts are alleged in both complaints.

  Plaintiffs are African-American and residents of Pennsylvania. (Johnson Am. Compl. ¶¶ 6-9.) All plaintiffs allege that, on September 20, 2002 at 12:10 p.m., while plaintiff Johnson was a customer at the Amoco Service Station in Whitemarsh Township, a Caucasian employee of the gas station threatened Johnson with bodily harm and directed racial epitaphs at him. (Id. at ¶ 34.) Greatly alarmed, Johnson left the Amoco and immediately reported the incident to the Whitemarsh Township Police Department. Thereafter, defendant Anhorn phoned Johnson and told Johnson not to return to the Amoco, and that if Johnson were to return to the Amoco he would be in "serious trouble" with the Whitemarsh Township Police Department. (Id. at ¶ 34.) Anhorn also called Johnson at a later time to tell Johnson that Anhorn had heard that Johnson had again gone to the Amoco and that Johnson is not permitted to go to the Amoco "as long as [he] lives." (Id.) Johnson's brother, C. Reginald Johnson, Esquire, twice reported these incidents to the Whitemarsh Township Police Department. (Id. at ¶ 35.) However, no one responded to these reports or did anything to redress Anhorn's actions. (Id.)

  All plaintiffs further allege that Anhorn made nearly identical illegal stops of Graham, Covington and Antonelli. All three men were driving cars lawfully when Anhorn stopped them*fn2 and interrogated each man about what he was doing in the area before directing each out of his car. (Id. at ¶¶ 25, 37, 41.) Anhorn then searched each plaintiff's car and person. Anhorn prepared affidavits of probable cause containing false allegations against plaintiffs. (Id. at ¶¶ 27, 39, 43.) These affidavits were the bases of criminal charges brought against the men. (Id. at ¶¶ 28, 40, 44.)*fn3

  Finally, all plaintiffs allege that civil rights violations, in particular violations by Anhorn, have been occurring for years at the Whitemarsh Township Police Department and that defendants have conspired to cover up these violations. (Id. at ¶¶ 50-65.)

  The Johnson plaintiffs and Antonelli each bring the following fifteen claims: (1) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by Anhorn; (2) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 by Anhorn; (3) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985 by Stemple, Anhorn, and Police Officers John Doe I through X; (4) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Whitemarsh Township; (5) civil conspiracy against Stemple, Anhorn, and Police Officers John Doe I through X; (6) false imprisonment against Anhorn; (7) malicious prosecution against Anhorn; (8) abuse of process against Anhorn; (9) invasion of privacy against Anhorn; (10) intentional infliction of emotional distress against Anhorn; (11) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Stemple; (12) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Stemple; (13) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Stemple and John Doe Police Officers VII through X; (14) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1986 against Stemple, DeRosa, Younglove, Rimell, Cornog, Zeock, Gregan, and Police Officers John Doe I through X; (15) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1988 against all defendants. Standard of Review

  In considering motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court takes all well pleaded allegations as true, construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determines whether, under any reasonable reading of the pleadings, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief. Colburn v. Upper Darby Twp., 838 F.2d 663, 665 (3d. Cir. 1988).

  Discussion

  Defendant Anhorn contends that plaintiffs have failed to allege violations of (1) the Thirteenth Amendment; and (2) the Fourteenth Amendment sufficient to sustain their Count One § 1983 claims against him.*fn4 Anhorn also contends that: (3) plaintiffs' state law claims for invasion of privacy are time-barred; and (4) portions of plaintiffs' complaints should ...


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