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Revak v. Lieberum

April 23, 2009

FRANK REVAK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NATHANIEL LIEBERUM, AND BRIAN BARNHART, AS INDIVIDUALS, DEFENDANTS.



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

OPINION and ORDER OF COURT

SYNOPSIS

Pending before the Court is a Partial Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, Pennsylvania State Police ("PSP") Trooper Nathaniel Lieberum ("Lieberum") and PSP Corporal Brian Barnhart ("Barnhart," or collectively as "Defendants"). (Docket No. 33). Plaintiff filed a Brief in Opposition thereto. (Docket No. 39). Defendants filed a Reply thereto. (Docket No. 43). After a careful review of the submissions by the parties and for the reasons discussed in this Opinion, the Partial Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 33) is granted in part and denied in part.

OPINION

I. Procedural History

This case involves a traffic stop and arrest of Plaintiff by Defendants on August 11, 2006. After two rounds of Motions to Dismiss, the claims remaining in the case are as follows: 1) An unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force claim in violation of the Fourth Amendment; 2) Conspiracy claims under §1983; and 3) State torts of intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery. Defendants filed a Partial Motion for Summary Judgment addressing the conspiracy claims and the state tort claims. (Docket No. 33). I will address each argument in turn.

II. Legal Analysis

A. Standard of Review

Summary judgment may only be granted 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 judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Rule 56 mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against the 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).

In considering a motion for summary judgment, this Court must examine the facts in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. International Raw Materials, Ltd. v. Stauffer Chemical Co., 898 F.2d 946, 949 (3d Cir. 1990). The burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the evidence creates no genuine issue of material fact. Chipollini v. Spencer Gifts, Inc., 814 F.2d 893, 896 (3d Cir. 1987). The dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material when it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id. Where the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the non-movant's burden of proof at trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.

Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, who must go beyond its pleadings, and designate specific facts by the use of affidavits, depositions, admissions, or answers to interrogatories showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324. Summary judgment must therefore be granted "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." White v. Westinghouse Electric Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988), quoting, Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.

With this standard in mind, I now turn to the issues of this case.

B. Partial Motion for Summary ...


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