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Miller v. City of Greensburg

July 18, 2006

CARL MILLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF GREENSBURG, CITY OF GREENSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT, FRANCIS ZULITSKY, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS A PATROLMAN FOR THE CITY OF GREENSBURG, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, Chief District Judge

OPINION and ORDER OF COURT

SYNOPSIS

Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts II and III of Plaintiff's Complaint. (Docket No. 3). Plaintiff filed a Brief in Opposition. (Docket No. 8). After careful consideration of the submissions of the parties, said Motion (Docket No. 3) is granted in part and denied in part as more fully set forth below.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Carl Miller, filed a three count Complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania against Defendants, City of Greensburg, City of Greensburg Police Department, Francis Zulisky, individually and in his capacity as a patrolman for the City of Greensburg. (Docket No. 1, Ex. D). Defendants removed the case to this Court on May 2, 2006. (Docket No. 1). In Count I of the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges a violation of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures brought against all Defendants. (Docket No. 1, Ex. D, ¶¶12-16). Count II is a claim for malicious prosecution brought against all Defendants. (Docket No. 1, Ex. D, ¶¶ 17-19). Count III is a claim for abuse of process brought against all Defendants. (Docket No. 1, Ex. D, ¶¶ 20-22). Defendants assert that Counts II and III should be dismissed based on immunity and failure to state a claim. (Docket No. 8). The issues are now ripe for review.

II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

A. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all the factual allegations as true, and must view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Colburn v. Upper Darby Twp., 838 F.2d 663, 664-65 (3d Cir.1988), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 1065 (1989). I may dismiss a complaint only if it appears beyond a reasonable doubt that the plaintiff fails to offer any factual basis to support its allegations. Craftsmen Local 6 of N.J. Welfare Fund v. Wettlin Assoc., Inc., 237 F.3d 270, 272 (3d Cir. 2001). In ruling on a motion for failure to state a claim, I must look to whether the pleaded facts are sufficient to determine that the complaint is not frivolous and provides defendants with adequate notice to frame an answer. Colburn, 838 F.2d at 666.

While the Court will accept well-pleaded allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. See Miree v. Dekalb County, Ga., 433 U.S. 25, 27 n.2 (1997). In addition, the information plaintiff supplies must be sufficient to outline the elements of the claim, or to permit the inference that these elements exist. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45 (1957). With this standard in mind, I now turn to the issues in this case.

B. IMMUNITY

1. City of Greensburg, City of Greensburg Police Department

Defendants, City of Greensburg and City of Greensburg Police Department (hereinafter "City Defendants"), assert that Counts II and III of the Complaint should be dismissed against them based on immunity set forth in the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act ("PSTCA"), 42 Pa. C.S. §8541, et seq. (Docket No. 4). The PSTCA provides, in pertinent part:

Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter, no local agency*fn1 shall be liable for any damages on account of any injury to a person or property caused by any act of the local agency or an employee thereof or any other person. 42 Pa. C.S. §8541. Plaintiff does not address the immunity challenge raised by City Defendants in his brief in opposition. (Docket No. 8).

The PSTCA applies except in eight situations. See, 42 Pa. C.S. ยง8542(b) (specifying that liability may be imposed upon the local agency for damages resulting from the following acts: the operation of a motor vehicle; the care or custody of personal or real property of others in the possession of the agency; dangerous conditions resulting from trees, traffic controls or street lighting; dangerous conditions resulting from utility service facilities; dangerous condition of streets and sidewalks; and the care or custody of animals in the possession of the agency). After a review of the record, I find that none of the exceptions apply in this case. Thus, I agree ...


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