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Martinez v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

December 15, 2009

BERNADETTE MARTINEZ
v.
SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY



The opinion of the court was delivered by: M. Faith Angell United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM

I. Background

Plaintiff originally filed this action against Defendant Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority [SEPTA] and John Doe in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County. In her initial complaint Plaintiff alleged liability under state law for injuries sustained on October 26, 2006 at the SEPTA train station at Mascher Street and Tabor Road in Philadelphia, where she was sexually assaulted and robbed by John Doe.

On October 15, 2009, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint in state court, adding two counts - a claim against SEPTA for violation of federally-protected civil rights under a state-created danger theory, and claims for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress against John Doe.

After the amended complaint was filed, SEPTA removed the action to this federal forum, where it as assigned to the Honorable Norma L. Shapiro.

By Order dated April 14, 2009, Judge Shapiro severed and stayed the state negligence count against SEPTA, and dismissed all claims against John Doe.

On May 6, 2009, the parties consented, with the approval of Judge Shapiro, to have this case referred to me for all further proceedings.

Presently before this Court are two motions of summary judgment filed by SEPTA seeking to dismiss both remaining claims - the federal civil rights count and the state law negligence count.

II. Standard of Review

A motion for summary judgment must be granted when the admissible evidence before the Court shows 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).

"A fact is material when its resolution 'might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law,' and a dispute about a material fact is genuine 'if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.' Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)." Justofin v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 372 F.3d 517, 521 (3d Cir. 2004).

All facts and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Id.

"'When the non-moving party bears the burden of persuasion at trial, the moving party may meet its burden on summary judgment by showing that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to carry its burden of persuasion at trial.' See Brewer v. Quaker State Oil Refining Corp., 72 F.3d 326, 329 (3d Cir. 1995); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552-53, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)." Lawrence v. National Westminster Bank New Jersey, 98 F.3d 61, 65 (3d Cir. 1996).

The role of the Court, at the summary judgment stage, is not 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., 47 ...


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