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Mainguth v. Packard

April 27, 2006

STEPHEN MAINGUTH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHAWN PACKARD AND BOROUGH OF RENOVO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge McClure)

ORDER

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Stephen Mainguth initiated this civil rights action with the filing of a complaint on February 4, 2005. Named as defendants are Shawn Packard, a police officer for the Borough of Renovo, Pennsylvania, and the Borough of Renovo itself. The parties have since stipulated to the dismissal, with prejudice, of any and all claims against the Borough of Renovo. (See Rec. Doc. No. 15.)

The complaint alleges a disturbing set of facts that took place on September 16, 2003. Mainguth alleges that while he was traveling on his motorcycle, Packard struck him from behind with his police cruiser. According to the complaint, the contact caused Mainguth's motorcycle to spin out of control and flip over. Mainguth further alleges that while he was trapped underneath his motorcycle, Packard pummeled him with his fists and eventually pepper sprayed him when he attempted to escape the beating.

Mainguth has asserted a number of claims against Packard, including a section 1983 claim for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and claims for assault and malicious prosecution under Pennsylvania law.

Packard has now moved for partial summary judgment, arguing that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process claim for property damage to the motorcycle. In his motion, Packard also moves for summary judgment on the state law malicious prosecution claim and Mainguth's claim for damages arising out of his incarceration following the revocation of his parole.*fn1

The motion has been fully briefed by the parties in compliance with the Local Rules, and is now ripe for our decision. For the following reasons, we will deny defendant Packard's motion for partial summary judgment.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

A district court may properly grant a motion for summary judgment "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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

The plain language of the rule "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." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

At the summary judgment stage, "the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact is one that may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party. Id.

In determining whether there is a disputed issue of material fact, the court will draw all reasonable inferences and any ...


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