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Scott v. Marshall

March 3, 2010

AUSTIN T. SCOTT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARSHALL, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

BACKGROUND

On October 13, 2009, plaintiff, Austin T. Scott (hereinafter "Scott"), commenced a civil action by filing a complaint against defendants Lance Marshall (hereinafter "Marshall"), Michael Madiera (hereinafter "Madiera"), Matthew Cover, Ryan Rodgers, Dustin Miller, Stephanie L. Brooks, Christine D. Vile, Thomas Sowerby, Stephen Shelow, John/Jane Does 1-10, Desiree Minder (hereinafter "Minder"), Centre County, Pennsylvania (hereinafter "Centre County"), and The Pennsylvania State University (hereinafter "Penn State"). In his complaint, Scott alleges the following violations of federal law: Unlawful Seizure (Arrest) (Count I); Malicious Prosecution (Count II); False Imprisonment (Count III); Supervisory Liability (Count IV); Failure to Intervene Non-Supervisory (Count V); Civil Conspiracy (Count VI); Governmental Liability (Count VII*fn1 ); and the following violations of state law: Violation of Article I, § VIII of the Pennsylvania Constitution (Count VIII*fn2 ); False Arrest and Illegal Imprisonment (Count IX*fn3 ); Malicious Prosecution (Count X*fn4 ); and Civil Conspiracy (Count XI*fn5 ).

On December 3, 2009, Madiera filed a motion to dismiss. (Rec. Doc. No. 15). On December 9, 2009, Centre County filed a motion to dismiss. (Rec. Doc. No. 17). On December 11, 2009, Marshall filed a motion to dismiss. (Rec. Doc. No. 18). All motions have been fully briefed*fn6, and thus the matters are ripe for disposition.

Now, therefore, for the following reasons we will grant Madiera's motion to dismiss, Marshall's motion to dismiss and Centre County's motion to dismiss.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Dismiss Standard

When considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must view all allegations stated in the complaint as true and construe all inferences in the light most favorable to plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spaulding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). "The tenet that a court must accept as true all of the [factual] allegations contained in the complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 2009 U.S. Lexis 3472, *29 (internal citations omitted). In ruling on such a motion, the court primarily considers the allegations of the pleading, but is not required to consider legal conclusions alleged in the complaint. Kost, 1 F.3d at 183. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Iqbal, __ U.S. at *29. At the motion to dismiss stage, the court considers whether plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence to support the allegations in the complaint. Maio v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 482 (3d Cir. 2000).

A complaint should only be dismissed if, accepting as true all of the allegations in the complaint, plaintiff has not pled enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1960 (2007). "Determining wether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, __ U.S. at *30. In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, we must be mindful that federal courts require notice pleading, as opposed to the heightened standard of fact pleading. Hellmann v. Kercher, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54882, 4 (W.D. Pa. 2008). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 "'requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the.claim is and the grounds on which it rests,'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, (2007) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, (1957)). However, even under this lower notice pleading standard, a plaintiff must do more than recite the elements of a cause of action, and then make a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief under it. Hellmann, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS at 4-5. Instead, a plaintiff must make a factual showing of his entitlement to relief by alleging sufficient facts that, when taken as true, suggest the required elements of a particular legal theory. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - - but it has not "shown" - - "that the pleader is entitled to relief." Iqbal, __ U.S. at *29, citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). The failure-to-state-a-claim standard of Rule 12(b)(6) "streamlines litigation by dispensing with needless discovery and factfinding." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 326-27 (1989). A court may dismiss a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) where there is a "dispositive issue of law." Id. at 326. If it is beyond a doubt that the non-moving party can prove no set of facts in support of its allegations, then a claim must be dismissed "without regard to whether it is based on an outlandish legal theory or on a close but ultimately unavailing one." Id. at 327

II. Allegations in the Complaint

When considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must view all allegations stated in the complaint as true and construe all inferences in the light most favorable to plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spaulding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). Accepting as true all of the allegations in the complaint, the facts (as they pertain to Madeira, Marshall and Centre County) are as follows.

In October 2007, Scott was a senior at Penn State and a "star" running back on the Penn State football team. Scott was slated to be a third or fourth round draft pick for the NFL in the draft scheduled for April 28 and 29, 2008.

Scott had been casual friends with Desiree Minder for a short time. The two arranged to meet at a local bar on October 4, 2007. The two met at the bar that night, and left the bar around 2:00 a.m. on October 5, 2007. Scott and Minder went to Scott's apartment. When they arrived at Scott's apartment, Minder went to Scott's bedroom and undressed. Minder initiated sex with Scott. According to the complaint, the sex was, at all times, consensual. Later that night, Minder left Scott's apartment.

At 4:17 a.m. Minder called the Penn State Police Department and alleged that she was raped by Scott. She indicated to the police at that ...


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