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Judy Quales v. Borough of Honesdale; Donald Bishop; Borough of Honesdale Police Department; and Keith Columbo

July 22, 2011

JUDY QUALES
PLAINTIFF
v.
BOROUGH OF HONESDALE; DONALD BISHOP; BOROUGH OF HONESDALE POLICE DEPARTMENT; AND KEITH COLUMBO, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Munley)

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss. Having been fully briefed and argued, the matter is ripe for disposition.

Background

This case arises from police response to reports of a domestic disturbance at the home of Plaintiff Judy Quales's paramour, Anthony Taylor. (Complaint (Doc. 1) (hereinafter "Complt.") at ¶ 15). Plaintiff alleges that Anthony Taylor raped her on July 16, 2009. (Id. at ¶ 14). The plaintiff and Taylor had an abusive two-year relationship in which Taylor verbally, physically and emotionally abused Quales. (Id.).

On July 18, 2009, plaintiff went to Taylor's home. (Id. at ¶ 15). The two had an argument, and officers from Defendant Honesdale Police Department were called to Taylor's residence. (Id.). Police who arrived on the scene advised plaintiff to stay away from Taylor's home. (Id.). Plaintiff immediately left the scene. (Id.).

Shortly after Plaintiff left Taylor's residence, Taylor called her, saying he needed his keys. (Id.). The keys, Taylor said, were in plaintiff's vehicle. (Id.). Plaintiff initially refused to return to Taylor's residence and return the keys, but later agreed to drop the keys off in Taylor's mailbox. (Id.). She was too frightened to go onto the property itself. (Id.).

Plaintiff then drove towards Taylor's property, parked her vehicle, and walked down the sidewalk in front of Taylor's neighbors' home. (Id. at ¶ 16). She placed the keys in her mailbox and walked back to her car. (Id.). Plaintiff got in the car and drove towards the hospital, intending to report the alleged rape. (Id.).

Plaintiff traveled five blocks, driving at the posted speed limit. (Id.). Defendants Bishop and Columbo, Honsedale police officers, then stopped her. (Id.). Following the officers' directions, plaintiff pulled her car to the side of the road, stopped it, and remained in the vehicle. (Id.). The officers directed her to put her hands outside the window, and plaintiff complied. (Id. at ¶ 17). Plaintiff then followed the officers' order to exit the vehicle. (Id.). Officers then directed plaintiff to walk toward their vehicle, which she did. (Id.). The officers asked her "are you Judy Quales?" She replied, "Yes," and then told the officers "I was raped." (Id.).

The officers replied to this claim by saying "'we don't care, you are under arrest for trespassing.'" (Id. at ¶ 18). They ordered plaintiff to place her hands on top of the police vehicle, and plaintiff did so. (Id.). The defendants handcuffed plaintiff, and one of the two grabbed the back of her head and smashed it onto the hood of the police car. (Id.). Plaintiff suffered a concussion. (Id.). This "violent and forceful" assault caused the right handcuff to come lose, and the police officers were forced to replace the cuff after the assault. (Id.).

After they re-handcuffed her, Defendants Bishop and/or Columbo knocked plaintiff to the ground so hard that gravel became lodged in her knees. (Id. at ¶ 19). The officers then placed the hood of plaintiff's sweatshirt so that she could not see anything. (Id.). They then drove plaintiff to the police department. (Id.).

Plaintiff remained at the police department for around two hours. (Id. at ¶ 20). Officers then took her to the Pennsylvania State Police. (Id. at ¶ 20). The State Police held plaintiff for nearly thirty minutes and then had her arraigned. (Id.). A Magistrate set plaintiff's bail at twenty thousand dollars. (Id.).

After arraignment, plaintiff was taken to the Wayne County Prison. (Id. at ¶ 21). The correctional officer processing plaintiff noticed cuts and bruises on her and asked how they occurred. (Id.). Plaintiff told the officer that she had been raped two days earlier and later beaten by Honesdale police officers. (Id.). Pictures were taken of plaintiff's body and she was made to shower. (Id.). She then went to Wayne Memorial Hospital and was seen by a doctor. (Id.). The examination indicated that plaintiff suffered abrasions, cervical strain, a concussion, and contusions. (Id.). Upon release from the hospital, plaintiff returned to prison. (Id. at ¶ 22). She remained at the Wayne County Prison from July 18 to July 20, 2009.

(Id.).

On October 21, 2010, plaintiff filed a five-count complaint. Count I alleges an illegal seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment, as well as a due-process violation under the Fourteenth Amendment. Count II alleges that plaintiff's arrest was an unreasonable use of force in violation of the Eighth Amendment and a violation of her due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Count III is a state-law assault claim. Count IV is a state-law battery claim. Count V is a state-law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.

Plaintiff served the complaint on defendants, who then filed the instant motion. The parties briefed the issues and the court held argument, ...


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