Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Noah Barber v. Stephen Sheppleman

September 26, 2011

NOAH BARBER
v.
STEPHEN SHEPPLEMAN, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLaughlin, J.

MEMORANDUM

This action arises out of a confrontation between the plaintiff, Noah Barber, and two off-duty police officers, defendants Sheppleman and Carey. The defendants move for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court grants the motion in part and denies in part.

I. Factual Background*fn1

Barber was riding in the back of his friend's car on the way to a club. Their car had stopped at a red light near Woodlyn Shopping Center when Sheppleman and Carey pulled up in a car next to them. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., Barber Dep. at 45-46, Feb. 28, 2011 (hereinafter "Barber Dep."). After he thought he heard something said from the other car, Barber rolled down his window. One of the officers said they were City of Chester cops. After a brief exchange of words, Barber's car turned and pulled into the Woodlyn Shopping Center parking lot. Id. at 49-50, 56.

The officers decided to follow Barber's vehicle into the parking lot. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., Sheppleman Dep. at 111, 113 (hereinafter "Sheppleman Dep."). Meanwhile, Carey called 911 to report that he and Sheppleman were off-duty police officers who had just been threatened to be shot. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., Carey Dep. at 74. When both cars stopped in the parking lot, the officers exited their vehicle. Sheppleman ran up to Barber's car and grabbed at the door handle. Carey held a badge while yelling "we're Chester cops." Barber Dep. at 57, 62, 65. The officers were not in uniform. After Barber stepped out of his vehicle, Sheppleman punched him in the face. Id. at 71. At some point, Carey drew a gun and pointed it at Barber. See Sheppleman Dep. at 119-20; Barber Dep. at 76, 78-79. Carey later pointed the gun at Barber's friends. Id. at 81. Sheppleman then grabbed Barber's arm and took him down to the ground in a headlock. Id. at 82-83. One of the officers then handcuffed Barber while each one had a knee on his back to hold him down. Only when Ridley Township police arrived did Sheppleman and Carey then back off. Id. at 88-90.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if 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). The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once a party files a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, who must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).

A fact is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id. at 248. A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

B. City of Chester

The plaintiff conceded in its opposition to the motion for summary judgment that "the facts indicate that there is no basis for municipal liability against the City of Chester." Mem. of Law of Pl. in Opp. to Mot. for Summ. J. (hereinafter "Opp.") at 4-5. The motion for summary judgment as to the City of Chester is therefore granted as uncontested.

C. Officers Sheppleman and Carey

1. Capacity

Defendants Sheppleman and Carey argue that Barber asserted federal claims against them only in their official capacities. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. at 20. Because Barber has conceded that there is no basis for municipal liability against the City of Chester, official-capacity claims against Sheppleman and Carey would also fail as a matter of law. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.