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Mecca v. Davis

July 1, 2008

CONSTANCE MECCA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHRISTOPHER DAVIS, CITY OF SCRANTON, DAVID ELLIOTT, CHIEF OF POLICE SCRANTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND SCRANTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendants the City of Scranton, the Scranton Police Department, and Chief of Police David Elliott's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 7.) Defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part. Defendants motion will be granted as to the Scranton Police Department, which will be dismissed from the case because it is not a separate entity from the City of Scranton. Defendants' motion to dismiss will be denied as to Count One, because Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a cause of action for failure to train and failure to supervise pursuant to Monell.

Jurisdiction exists under section 1331 of Title 28 of the United States Code ("federal question"). The Court has supplemental jurisdiction to hear the related state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

BACKGROUND

The facts as alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint are as follows.

Plaintiff Constance Mecca is a resident of Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 2, Doc. 1.) Defendant Christopher Davis was, at the relevant times, a police officer employed by the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 3.) Defendant David Elliott was, at the relevant times, Chief of Police of the Scranton City Police Department. (Id. ¶ 5.) The municipal Defendants are the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and the Scranton Police Department. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 6.)

Early on the morning of April 21, 2006, at approximately 2:00 a.m., Plaintiff Constance ("Connie") Mecca was driving home along North Main Street in Scranton, Pennsylvania. (Id. ¶ 9.) She noticed a marked police car with its emergency lights activated behind her and immediately pulled over. (Id. ¶ 10.) A single police officer, Defendant Christopher Davis, armed and in uniform, approached Plaintiff Mecca's car, requested her driver's license, and asked her if she had been drinking. (Id. ¶ 11.) She responded affirmatively. (Id.) Defendant Davis then asked her to exit her car, but performed no field tests. (Id. ¶ 12.) He then ordered Plaintiff Mecca to return to her car and move it to a nearby side street. (Id. ¶ 13.) Defendant Davis ordered Plaintiff Mecca into the back of his patrol car, and told her that he was not going to issue a citation, but would drive her home, which he did. (Id. ¶ 14.)

Ms. Mecca entered her home and walked into her bedroom, where she sat down on her bed. (Id. ¶ 16.) When she looked up, she found Defendant Davis standing in front of her. (Id.) When she asked what he was doing there, he replied, "I gave you a break on the DUI." (Id. ¶ 17.) Defendant Davis then ordered, "Now you have to suck my d**k." (Id.) He unbuckled his duty belt and forced himself on her. (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff Mecca was too afraid to scream. (Id.) Plaintiff Mecca is approximately five (5) feet tall and thin. (Id. ¶ 15.) Defendant Davis is much taller and heavier than Plaintiff Mecca. (Id.) During the attack, Defendant Davis received a radio call, which he answered through the microphone attached to his lapel, and left her house. (Id. ¶ 19.)

Two (2) nights later, Plaintiff Mecca's bedroom was illuminated by a bright spotlight. (Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff Mecca feared, and continued to fear, that Defendant Davis would return to harm her. (Id. ¶ 21.) Plaintiff Mecca subsequently discussed the incident in an informal conversation with a Pennsylvania State Trooper, and she was contacted shortly thereafter by the state police as part of an investigation into Defendant Davis' activities. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff Mecca was not the only victim of Defendant Davis. (Id. ¶ 23.) During 2005 and 2006, Defendant Davis made unwanted sexual advances on at least three (3) other women in the course of his employment as a police officer, and sexually assaulted at least one (1) of them. (Id. ¶ 24.)

Defendant Davis was subsequently charged by the District Attorney of Lackawanna County with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault with the consent of another, indecent assault, and forcible oppression. (Id. ¶ 25.) On April 27, 2007, Defendant Davis plead no contest to charges of official oppression and indecent assault. (Id. ¶ 26.) At sentencing it was disclosed that Defendant Davis suffered from substance abuse during the period of his employment with the police department. (Id. ¶ 27.) The police knew or should have known of the substance abuse and failed to address it. (Id.) In March of 2007, another Scranton Police Officer, Mark Conway, was arrested and subsequently plead guilty to selling illegal drugs during the course of his employment. (Id. ¶ 29.)

Plaintiff Constance Mecca filed her Complaint on April 16, 2008. (Doc. 1.) Defendants the City of Scranton, the Scranton Police Department, and Chief of Police David Elliott filed the present motion to dismiss on May 15, 2008. (Doc. 7.) The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff has not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1960, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), meaning, enough factual allegations "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, --- U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1042 (1994). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 ...


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