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Ashford v. Bartz

January 26, 2006

TIARRA ASHFORD C/O ELOISE ASHFORD PLAINTIFF
v.
OFFICERS BRUCE BARTZ, SCOTT DOELLINGER, BRIAN ALU DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Yvette Kane United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Before the Court are Defendant Brian Alu's "Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint" (Doc. No. 41) and Defendants Scott Doellinger's and Bruce Bartz's "Motion to Partially Dismiss the Amended Complaint" (Doc. No. 44), each seeking dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons discussed below, the motions (Doc. Nos. 41 and 44) will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background*fn1

Plaintiff is a minor. At the close of an unrelated state criminal hearing involving one of Plaintiff's family members, a witness for the Commonwealth approached Plaintiff. Defendant Officer Bartz observed the conversation, exclaimed "don't be tampering with my witness," and ordered Defendant Officer Doellinger to arrest Plaintiff. As Plaintiff placed her hands behind her back, Defendant Doellinger twisted Plaintiff's right arm. Upon complaint by Plaintiff's mother, Defendant Doellinger twisted Plaintiff's arm harder.

Plaintiff alleges that she was arrested again by Defendant Officer Alu and transported around the parking lot, where she was "verbally assaulted" by Defendant Alu. (Doc. No. 40, ¶ 11.) Defendant Officer Alu cited Plaintiff for disorderly conduct. Plaintiff was subsequently convicted of this offense in the Court of Common Pleas of York County. (Doc. No. 41, Ex. C.)

On March 25, 2004, Plaintiff, acting pro se through her mother, Eloise Ashford, filed a Complaint (Doc. No. 1) asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for various violations of her Constitutional rights. Plaintiff later retained counsel and pursuant to two orders by this Court (Doc. Nos. 35, 37), amended her Complaint on March 9, 2005 (Doc. No. 40).

II. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). When considering a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint and views them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. U.S. Express Lines Ltd. v. Higgins, 281 F.3d 383, 388 (3d Cir. 2002). The plaintiff is required to "set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his claim or to permit inferences to be drawn that those elements exist." Kost, 1 F.3d at 183 (citations omitted). A court should grant a motion to dismiss only if it appears the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Wisniewski v. Johns-Manville Corp., 759 F.2d 271, 273 (3d Cir. 1985) (citations omitted).

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is properly granted when, taking all factual allegations and inferences as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990). The burden is on the moving party to show that no claim has been stated. Johnsrud v. Carter, 620 F.2d 29, 33 (3d Cir. 1980). "A court may dismiss a complaint only 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 (1984). However, "a court need not credit a complaint's 'bald assertions' or 'legal conclusions' when deciding a motion to dismiss." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974).

III. Discussion

In her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges multiple causes of action pursuant to both federal and state law. Defendants Alu and Bartz seek to have all claims against them dismissed, whereas Defendant Doellinger seeks dismissal of all claims except the excessive force and assault and battery claims.

A. Federal Claims

In Count I of her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that all three Defendants violated her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by performing such actions as to constitute unlawful arrest, excessive use of force, and false ...


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