United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
KATHLEEN JOINES, Plenary Guardian of the Person and the Estate of Sean Joines
TOWNSHIP OF RIDLEY, et al.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN FULLAM, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff is the guardian for a mentally handicapped adult who
was arrested and jailed for public intoxication, and allegedly
suffered severe injuries when he attempted to commit suicide by
hanging, while in police custody. Plaintiff is attempting to sue
the police officers involved in the incident, Ridley Township and
various of its officials, and Delaware County and various of its
officials. All defendants have filed motions to dismiss
plaintiff's complaint, under Rule 12(b)(6).
Many of defendants' arguments might well have merit if they had
filed a motion for summary judgment, supported by evidence. But
by invoking Rule 12(b)(6), they challenge only the sufficiency of
plaintiff's pleading as a pleading, and it obviously contains all
On the other hand, many of the allegations of the complaint,
allegedly predicated upon "information and belief," strain
credulity, and might well raise eyebrows under Fed.R.Civ. P. 11. For example, the assertion that the "Office of the
County Solicitor" is a suable entity, and that a township "public
safety committee" is a suable entity, seem absurd; and plaintiff
may encounter some difficulty in trying to prove that Delaware
County is responsible for the alleged failure of township police
officers to prevent attempted suicides by persons in their
custody. In short, it seems likely that plaintiff's counsel,
faced with the imminent expiration of the limitations period for
filing suit, cast too wide a net, as a precautionary measure.
In these circumstances, while it is necessary to deny the
pending motions to dismiss, plaintiff will be afforded a
reasonable opportunity for discovery, following which plaintiff
will be required to file an amended complaint which passes muster
under Rule 11.
An Order follows. ORDER
AND NOW, this day of September, 2004, upon consideration of the
two motions to dismiss, filed by the defendants, and plaintiff's
responses, IT IS ORDERED:
1. The defendants' motions to dismiss are DENIED.
2. Plaintiff shall, within 90 days, file an amended complaint
which provides no basis for the invocation of Fed.R. Civ. P. 11.
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