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Raddy Noel Toribio v. Bernard Spece

December 5, 2011

RADDY NOEL TORIBIO,
PLAINTIFF
v.
BERNARD SPECE, DEFENDANT



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

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition is Defendant Bernard Spece's motion to dismiss Plaintiff Raddy Noel Toribio's amended complaint. The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

Background

The facts as alleged in the amended complaint are as follows: Defendant arrested plaintiff on August 9, 2010 for a bank robbery. (Doc. 12, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 17). The bank robbery occurred at Susquehanna Bank, Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, at a date and time for which plaintiff had an airtight alibi. (Id. ¶¶ 8, 9, 12). At the time of the arrest, defendant knew that he should investigate further and that probable cause for the arrest did not exist. (Id. ¶ 18).

Authorities incarcerated plaintiff for five (5) days. (Id. ¶ 19). The news media and the internet widely publicized plaintiff's arrest. (Id. ¶ 21). Plaintiff thus lost his employability. (Id.) He also suffered mental anxiety, distress, stress, sleeplessness and humiliation. (Id. ¶ 22).

Based upon these allegations plaintiff filed this civil rights action against Spece raising the following three counts pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983: 1) illegal arrest; 2) incarceration without probable cause; and 3) malicious prosecution.

Defendant has filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, bringing the case to its present posture.

Jurisdiction

As this case is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional violations we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.").

Standard of review

This case is before the court pursuant to defendant's motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of the allegations in the complaint is tested. Granting the motion is appropriate if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," or put another way, "nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Third Circuit interprets Twombly to require the plaintiff to describe "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element of the claims alleged in the complaint. Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Moreover, the plaintiff must allege facts that "justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the next stage of litigation." Id. at 234-35.

The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997). To decide a motion to dismiss, a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim. See In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997); Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).

Discussion

Defendant raises two issues in his motion to dismiss. First, he claims that probable cause existed for plaintiff's arrest, and therefore, his causes of action should be dismissed. Second, he argues that qualified immunity shields ...


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