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Segreti v. Borough of Wilkinsburg

May 13, 2010

EMELIA M. SEGRETI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BOROUGH OF WILKINSBURG, LT. MICHELE KREMPATSKY, MAYOR JOHN THOMPSON AND MICHELE KENNY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert C. Mitchell United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff, Emelia M. Segreti, proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants, the Borough of Wilkinsburg, Lt. Michele Krempatsky, Mayor John Thompson and Michele Kenny. Plaintiff alleges that she has been subjected to a series of violations of her constitutional rights, commencing with the failure of the police to investigate a vicious attack upon her and her daughter and including the filing of false charges, malicious prosecution and interference with her right to vote.

Currently pending for resolution is a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First and Second Amended Complaints, brought on behalf of the Borough and Michele Kenny ("the moving Defendants"). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

Facts On February 29, 2004, Plaintiff and her daughter were viciously attacked by a violent mob of 12 to 15 individuals. These individuals beat Plaintiff and her daughter and kicked them repeatedly, causing them to suffer severe physical and emotional trauma and injuries. Officers from the Borough of Wilkinsburg came to the scene and the mob mostly scattered. Officer Brian Sadlowe, the officer in charge, was given statements along with names and phone numbers of several witnesses of the crime and he stopped a school bus with 8 to 10 of the assailants on it, but only took the name of the bus driver and one female. (Am. Comp. ¶¶ 4-7.)*fn1 Plaintiff picked up a copy of the police report the following morning and was "horrified" to see that only two names were cited by Officer Sadlowe, but when she asked to speak to him, she was told he was on paternity leave. (Am. Compl. ¶ 8.)

Plaintiff received many terroristic threats in the following weeks. At one point a threat was left on her voicemail threatening to "blow up" the bus she was on and "rape" her family. Plaintiff alleges that she took the tape to the police, but Defendants did nothing to help, stating it was her problem. She also tried for almost nine months to get the mayor of Wilkinsburg to meet with her, but to no avail. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9-10.)

Defendant Thompson was vice president of council and also a neighbor of Plaintiff's. One day, she spoke to him about her plight, and he suggested that she attend a council meeting to inform council of what her problem was. On April 6, 2005, Plaintiff and her daughter told council about the situation. All members seemed concerned and promised to investigate. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 11-12.)

Plaintiff alleges that, since that time, she has been continually "lied on" [sic] by individuals (mainly Defendant Krempatsky) who wanted her to just "go away." She alleges that Krempatsky accused her of using profane language at a council meeting and that she was found guilty. Plaintiff maintains that she never used profanity at any council meetings and that she has copies of tapes which prove this. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-16.) She alleges that Defendant Thompson is aware of and knows that Krempatsky testified falsely, but is negligent in his job as head of the police department, although he did testify for Plaintiff at trial. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 17-18.)

Plaintiff was cited for disorderly conduct in the Borough building on October 30, 2007. She was found guilty because of false testimony by Krempatsky and former Wilkinsburg officer Todd Roggerio.*fn2 She requested a court order of the video tape in the Borough building that day which would prove the dishonesty involved in Wilkinsburg Borough. (Am. Compl. ¶ 19.)

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Kenny filed a false complaint against her in June of 2008, that it took a year to come to court and when it did Kenny was a "no show." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 20-21.)

Finally, she alleges that she was not able to vote in November 2007 because Officer Roggerio forbade her from entering the Borough building where she votes. (Am. Compl. ¶ 23.)

Plaintiff states that, for the past four years, she has had to live in fear of dishonesty police officers in her own community who are supposed to protect her; that she, her daughter and her whole family have suffered as a result of the actions she cites; that she has severe emotional problems due to the horrific unlawful actions of these individuals; that she suffers from severe post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and many physical injuries due to the direct actions or negligence of these individuals; and that she feels afraid to walk in her own community and feels the need to relocate to be safe from the individuals who are supposed to keep her safe. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 22, 24-26, 28-29.)

In the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff adds the following facts: 1) on May 29, 2008, she was at an Exxon Station on Penn Avenue, discussing her experiences with some of the officers on the Wilkinsburg police department, when Defendant Kenny came up to her and started yelling at her, using profanity at her and was told to leave the gas station by the sales clerk; 2) she called Chief Coleman of the Wilkinsburg police department and left a message about how Defendant Kenny (the chief's secretary) had threatened her, but the chief never received the message because it was intercepted by Todd Roggerio; 3) Roggerio called Officer Chris Minto and directed him to go to Kenny's home to take a report on the incident at the gas station; 4) Defendant Kenny falsified a report against Plaintiff, charging her with three counts of felony harassment; 5) at the preliminary hearing, Judge Kim Hoots suggested to hold the case for 60 days and if nothing happened the case would be dismissed; 6) Plaintiff wanted the case to "go downtown" to court because she has no confidence in law enforcement in her community and she had to travel downtown to Pittsburgh every three months for a year, but she was told each time that the Commonwealth did not have enough evidence to proceed yet; 7) a trial date was finally set for June 9, 2009, but neither Defendant Kenny nor the officer who filed the report showed up for trial; 8) the Commonwealth requested a postponement but the request was denied and the case was dismissed; and 9) on October 22, 2007, Plaintiff won in arbitration when Defendant Krempatsky gave a whole new story than the one she testified to at trial.*fn3 (Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, 6-7, 10-11, 13-22, 25.)*fn4

Procedural History

Plaintiff initiated this action by filing a motion to proceed in forma pauperis on November 12, 2009 (Docket No. 1). On November 16, 2009, the Court granted this motion and the complaint was docketed on November 17, 2009 (Docket No. 2). Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on December 8, 2009 (Docket No. 4), and on February 22, 2010, she submitted a Second Amended Complaint, which, pursuant to an order of Court dated March 4, 2010 (Docket No. 13), was treated as a motion to file a Second Amended Complaint and granted. The Clerk's Office docketed the Second Amended Complaint on March 5, 2010 (Docket No. 14).

"A document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed' and a 'pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards that formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). "Nevertheless, the plausibility standard of [Bell Atlantic Corp. v.] Twombly, [550 U.S. 544 (2007)] applies even to pro se litigants." Yunik v. McVey, 2009 WL 3854096, at *3 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 17, 2009). Liberally construed, Plaintiff appears to be invoking § 1983 to vindicate alleged violations of her rights to due process, freedom to vote and to be free from malicious prosecution pursuant to the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

On March 9, 2010, the moving Defendants filed a motion to dismiss both the Amended Complaint and the Second Amended Complaint. The moving Defendants contend that: 1) nearly all of the claims are barred by the running of the applicable two-year statute of limitations, in that the claims arise from an incident that occurred on February 29, 2004 (the alleged attack on Plaintiff and her daughter) and her related complaint to Borough Council (April 6, 2005); 2) Plaintiff cannot state a claim arising out of Defendants' alleged handling of her complaint of an alleged crime against her or failure to prosecute certain individuals; 3) Plaintiff cannot sustain a ยง 1983 claim for the purpose of challenging a criminal conviction entered in state court because she has not succeeded in having the conviction reversed, expunged or invalidated in state court; and 4) Plaintiff's averments relating to the alleged incident of May 29, 2008 resulting in the ...


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