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David O'hara v. Jorel Hanley

March 15, 2011

DAVID O'HARA,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOREL HANLEY, AS AN INDIVIDUAL, AND CRAIG MILLER, AS AN INDIVIDUAL,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Nora Barry Fischer

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I.INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff David O'Hara ("Plaintiff") pursues this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Jorel Hanley ("Hanley") and Craig Miller ("Miller"). Plaintiff seeks redress under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for claims of unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law. (Docket No. 16). *fn1

Before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by Hanley and Miller. (Docket No. 65). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Miller motion and judgment is entered in his favor on all claims against him. The court GRANTS the Hanley motion, IN PART and DENIES the Hanley motion, IN PART.

II.FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The factual background of this case has been set forth at length in this Court's

Memorandum Opinion granting Summary Judgment to Yvonne Suppok. (Docket No. 110). Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Hanley and Miller. (Docket No. 65). Supporting Briefs and Concise Statements of Facts, responses and replies were also filed by all parties. (Docket Nos. 64, 66, 77, 78, 96 101, 107). Oral argument was held on September 30, 2010. Having considered the motions, supporting briefs, the factual record before this court and the parties' arguments, for the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Miller motion and judgment is entered in his favor on all claims against him; and the Court GRANTS the Hanley motion, IN PART and DENIES the Hanley motion, IN PART.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ. P.56(a) (2010)*fn2 . Pursuant to Rule 56, the Court must enter summary judgment 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, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). A motion for summary judgment will only be denied when there is a genuine issue of material fact, i.e., if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.

McGreevy v. Stroup, 413 F.3d 359, 363 (3d Cir. 2005). The mere existence of some disputed facts is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 247-248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). As to materiality, "only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

In determining whether the dispute is genuine, the court's function is not to weigh the evidence, to determine the truth of the matter, or to evaluate credibility. The court is only to determine whether the evidence of record is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. McGreevy, 413 F.3d at 363; Simpson v. Kay Jewelers, 142 F.3d 639, 643

n. 3 (3d Cir. 1998) (quoting Fuentes v. Perskie, 32 F.3d 759, 762 n. 1 (3d Cir. 1994)). In evaluating the evidence, the court must interpret the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in its favor. Watson v. Abington Twp., 478 F.3d 144, 147 (3d Cir. 2007).

IV. ANALYSIS

As previously noted, Plaintiff seeks redress under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for claims of unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law. Plaintiff's principal arguments are that his arrest and prosecution were precipitated without probable cause as a result of an insufficient and/or deliberately misrepresented investigation by defendants Hanley and Miller in violation of his Constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment and are thus actionable under § 1983. Plaintiff also claims that the actions of the defendants were outrageous and as such entitle him to damages under the state law tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The defendants argue there was probable cause to believe the allegations that Plaintiff had sexually assaulted SB, and so he was lawfully arrested and prosecuted. In the alternative, defendants argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity as a complete defense to Plaintiff's claims. Defendants also argue that because Plaintiff has presented no evidence of physical harm, he is not entitled to damages under the intentional infliction of emotional distress theory of liability.

The Court first addresses Plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress as to both defendants and then will address the remaining claims against each defendant separately.

1.Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim

Plaintiff claims that he is entitled to damages for the cause of action of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants assert that Plaintiff has failed to present any evidence of physical harm resulting from the emotional impact of the purportedly outrageous conduct of the defendants and that they are entitled to summary judgment on this claim for the reasons set forth at length in this Court's Memorandum Opinion granting Summary Judgment to Yvonne Suppok. (Docket No. 110).

2.42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 and Fourth ...


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