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IMBERGAMO v. CASTALDI

October 4, 2005.

JAMES IMBERGAMO, Plaintiff
v.
WILLIAM CASTALDI, SANDRA VANLUVENDER, JAMES HENNIGAN, MICHAEL MULVEY, KEVIN VARCOE, TAFTON FIRE COMPANY, INC., and DOUGLAS CARRICK, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MALACHY MANNION, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Pending before the court is a motion for summary judgment on Count II of the plaintiff's amended complaint filed on behalf of defendants Castaldi, Hennigan, Mulvey, VanLuvender, and Varcoe, (collectively referred to as "State Police Defendants"), (Doc. No. 48). Based upon the court's review of the record in this action, the motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of the State Police Defendants will be granted.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  The plaintiff initiated the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on February 9, 2004, in which he named only the State Police Defendants. (Doc. No. 1). By order dated October 6, 2004, the plaintiff was permitted to file an amended complaint adding defendants Tafton Fire Company, Inc. and Carrick.*fn1 (Doc. Nos. 16 & 17). On October 21, 2004, the State Police Defendants filed an answer to the plaintiff's amended complaint. (Doc. No. 18).

  On May 16, 2005, the State Police Defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment on Count II of the plaintiff's amended complaint. (Doc. No. 48). A statement of material facts, (Doc. No. 55), a supporting brief, (Doc. No. 56), and supporting exhibits, (Doc. No. 57), were filed by the State Police Defendants on May 27, 2005. The plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to the State Police Defendants' motion for summary judgment on June 14, 2005. (Doc. No. 59). In addition, the plaintiff filed a counter statement of facts, (Doc. No. 60), and supporting exhibits, (Doc. No. 61). On June 27, 2005, the State Police Defendants filed a reply brief. (Doc. No. 62).

  II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

  Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56©).

  The Supreme Court has stated that:
". . . [T]he plain language of Rule 56©) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be `no genuine issue as to any material fact,' since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial. The moving party is `entitled to judgment as a matter of law' because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

  The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. The moving party can discharge that burden by "showing . . . that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325.

  Issues of fact are genuine "only if a reasonably jury, considering the evidence presented, could find for the nonmoving party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-94 (3d Cir. 1988) (citations omitted). Material facts are those which will effect the outcome of the trial under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The court may not weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations. Boyle v. County of Allegheny, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998). In determining whether an issue of material fact exists, the court must consider all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 393.

  If the moving party meets his initial burden, the opposing party must do more than raise some metaphysical doubt as to material facts, but must show sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in its favor. Id.

  III. DISCUSSION

  In support of their motion for summary judgment on Count II of the plaintiff's amended complaint, the State Police Defendants have submitted a statement of material facts*fn2 supported by various exhibits, which establish that on August 25, 2003, defendants VanLuvender and Castaldi were dispatched to investigate an incident at the Tanglewood Development. (Doc. No. 55, ¶ 5; Doc. No. 57, Ex. C, pp. 8-9, Ex. D, pp. 9-10). This incident involved fellow State Police Defendants Hennigan, Mulvey, and Varcoe. (Doc. No. 55, ¶ 6; Doc. No. 57, Ex. C, p. 10, Ex. D, p. 10).

  Defendant VanLuvender testified at her deposition that she was told "that a man had become combative, they [State Police Defendants Hennigan, Mulvey, and Varcoe] ended up taking him to the ground at some point during the situation and he sustained several broken bones." (Doc. No. 55, ¶ 7; Doc. No. 57, Ex. D, pp. 10-11). Defendant Castaldi similarly testified at his deposition that he was told that "Troopers Hennigan, Mulvey, and Varcoe were involved in an incident at Tanglewood with Tafton ambulance ...


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