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Simpson v. Nicklas

September 3, 2010

JOHN "TED" F. SIMPSON, PLAINTIFF
v.
SERGEANT THOMAS J. NICKLAS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

J. RAMBO

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is Defendant Pennsylvania State Trooper William L. Wagner's motion to dismiss, (Doc. 13) and Defendant Sergeant Thomas J. Nicklas' motion to dismiss (Doc. 15). For the reasons that follow, the motions will be granted.

I. Background

A. Facts*fn1

On December 6, 2006, an investigation was initiated by Officer Thomas Nicklas of the St. Mary's Police Department. (Compl., Ex. B, at 1 of 13.) Officer Nicklas had received information that a sixteen year-old girl may have been the subject of a sexual assault. (Id. at 2 of 13.) Officer Nicklas went to the girl's house to interview her. During the investigation it was determined that a man named Ted Simpson, the manager of the radio station where the girl worked, had bought and supplied alcohol to the girl and then had improper sexual contact with her. (Id. at 12 of 13.) The alleged victim also claimed that on various occasions, Ted Simpson had told her he was a cop and had showed her a badge and guns. (Id.)

An investigation was conducted where it was determined that the individual known as "Ted Simpson" was in fact John Frederick Simpson, the Plaintiff here. (Id. at 10, 11 of 13.) Officer Nicklas also discovered that Simpson had previously been charged with Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, Impersonating a Public Servant and Prohibited Offensive Weapons and that his "rap sheet" had the alias Ted Simpson. (Id. at 9 of 13.) In addition, Officer Nicklas learned that an individual who worked at another radio station who had known Simpson for many years knew he had impersonated a police officer in the past. (Id.)

In an attempt to find out more information regarding these past charges, Officer Nicklas contacted the Pennsylvania State Police's Huntington barracks. Officer Nicklas spoke to an unidentified state trooper who said he was not the arresting officer on the previous charges, but that he had known Simpson since high school and knew him to be a "skinhead," "gun fanatic," and armed and that all calls to the Simpson residence required two officers to be present. (Id.) This trooper also informed Nicklas that Trooper William L. Wagner had been the arresting officer on the past charges.

When Officer Nicklas talked to Trooper Wagner, Wagner told him that he did not know why the previous charges had been withdrawn, but that it was for political reasons. (Id.) Wagner said he had followed up with the law enforcement agency Simpson had claimed to be a member of and the best he could deduce was that Simpson had no actual law enforcement authority, but maybe had been bestowed with the honorary title of volunteer officer. (Id.) Trooper Wagner also expressed his opinion that Simpson was a "sly, sick individual who was definitely bad news." (Id.) Officer Nicklas followed up with the police departments where Simpson claimed to be employed, and confirmed that no "John Simpson" was on any payroll. (Id.)

Although there was an extensive case report regarding the rape allegations and statements from the victim that Simpson had told her he was a cop, provided her with alcohol, and proceeded to engage in unwanted sexual contact with her, the only charges that were actually brought against Simpson were for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor and Corruption of Minors. (Compl. Ex. A, at 2 of 7.)

On November 10, 2009, a non-jury trial was held before the Honorable Richard A. Masson in the Elks County Court of Common Pleas. (Compl. ¶ 16.) Simpson was found not guilty of Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, and the accompanying Corruption of Minors charge was dismissed by the prosecutor. (Id. ¶ 18.)

B. Procedural History

On May 24, 2010, Plaintiff filed this complaint against Sergeant Thomas J. Nicklas, Trooper William L. Wagner, and an unknown Pennsylvania State Trooper. (Doc. 1.) On July 09, 2010, Defendant Wagner filed a motion to dismiss and brief in support. (Docs. 13, 14.) Defendant Nicklas followed with his own motion to dismiss and brief in support on July 15, 2010. (Doc. 15, 16.) On August 6, 2010, and August 13, 2010, Plaintiff filed briefs in opposition to the respective motions. (Docs. 24, 29.) On August 13, 2010, Defendant Wagner filed his reply brief. (Doc. 30.) Although the time for Defendant Nicklas to file a reply brief has ...


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