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Ruiz v. Lebanon County

March 14, 2006

SAMUEL J. RUIZ, AND CARMEN LYDIA FRET APONTE, PLAINTIFFS
v.
LEBANON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is Defendants Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Lebanon County Pennsylvania Drug Task Force, Lebanon County Prison, and Richard A. Radwnski's (hereinafter the "Lebanon County Defendants") motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' second amended complaint. (Doc. 30.) The parties have briefed the issue, and the matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the court will deny the motion in part and deem it moot in part.

I. Background

A. Procedural

Plaintiffs filed their initial complaint on December 27, 2004. In addition to the Lebanon County Defendants, Plaintiffs named the following as defendants: Lebanon City, Pennsylvania; Lebanon City Police Department; Todd Breiner; Martin Barrett; Timothy Knight; Brett Hopkins; and an unknown female police officer.

On April 15, 2005 Defendants Lebanon City, Pennsylvania, Lebanon City Police Department, Todd Breiner, and Martin Barrett filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 5.) The court granted in part and denied in part said motion, and provided Plaintiffs with leave to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 16.) Specifically the court dismissed Plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages against Lebanon City, Pennsylvania and the Lebanon City Police Department and Plaintiffs' pendant state law claims against Lebanon City, Pennsylvania and the Lebanon City Police Department. (Id.) Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on July 29, 2005. (Doc. 17.)

The Lebanon County Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on September 23, 2005. (Doc. 20.) On December 30, 2005, the court granted in part and denied in part the Lebanon County Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. 29.) Specifically, the court dismissed Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims against the Lebanon County Defendants with leave to amend and dismissed Plaintiffs' pendant state tort law claims against the Lebanon County Defendants. (Id.)

Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint on December 30, 2005. (Doc. 29.) Plaintiffs' second amended complaint asserts claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against all Defendants for alleged violations of Plaintiffs' First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution. (Id.)

On January 19, 2006, Defendants Lebanon City, Pennsylvania, Lebanon City Police Department, Todd Breiner, and Martin Barrett filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 31.) Specifically, said motion sought to dismiss Plaintiffs' second amended complaint on the basis of Plaintiffs' inclusion of a request for punitive damages against Lebanon City, Pennsylvania and the Lebanon City Police Department City Police Department. On January 31, 2006, the court denied said motion; however, the court struck from the record Plaintiffs' request for punitive damages against Lebanon City, Pennsylvania and the Lebanon City Police Department. (Doc. 36.)

The Lebanon County Defendants' instant motion to dismiss was filed on January 19, 2006. (Doc. 30.)

B. Factual

Plaintiffs' allegations arise out of the execution of an arrest warrant. On October 11, 2002, pursuant to numerous controlled drug purchases, an arrest warrant was issued for the arrest of a Samuel Ruiz, who resided at 197 Lebanon Village, Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Plaintiffs allege that the arrest warrant was intentionally and erroneously executed on Plaintiff Ruiz at 63 North 12th Street, Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Plaintiffs allege that on October 28, 2002 at 6:00 a.m., Lebanon County police officers knocked on the door of their home at 63 North 12th Street, Lebanon, Pennsylvania. According to Plaintiffs, when Plaintiff Ruiz opened the door, he was thrown to the floor and handcuffed. Plaintiffs also allege that Plaintiff Fret Aponte, who was pregnant at the time, was subjected to a strip search and body cavity probe. Nothing illegal was found at Plaintiffs' residence.

Plaintiff Ruiz was arrested and taken to the Lebanon County Prison where he was charged with delivery of cocaine and criminal use of a communication facility. He was held in the Lebanon County Prison until approximately 5:30 p.m., October 28, 2005, when he was advised that the arresting officers had made a mistake. Plaintiff Ruiz was subsequently released from custody. That same day, the Lebanon County District ...


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