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Hakim Ali Bryant v. City of Philadelphia

January 27, 2012

HAKIM ALI BRYANT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

Hakim Ali Bryant ("Plaintiff") brings this civil rights action ("Bryant I")*fn1 against the City of Philadelphia, Police Officer Chim, Police Officer Cullen and Police Officer Ferrero (collectively "Defendants"). Plaintiff filed this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, including false arrest, false imprisonment,*fn2 excessive force, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and failure to intervene.*fn3

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants City of Philadelphia and Chim as well as on his First, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment claims under 18 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Cullen and Ferrero have also moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's false arrest and failure to intervene claims.*fn4

For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motion on all of Plaintiff's claims against Defendant City of Philadelphia and Defendant Chim as well as on all claims pursuant to the First, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court will also grant Defendants Cullen and Ferrero's summary judgment motion on Plaintiff's claim for false arrest, but will deny summary judgment on Plaintiff's failure to intervene claim against Defendant Cullen. Therefore, the case will proceed only as against Defendants Ferrero and Cullen on Plaintiff's claims of excessive force, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and failure to intervene.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that, on January 22, 2010, he was handcuffed and arrested for a drug charge for "which he was mistakenly pointed out." Compl. 3. Plaintiff claims that during the arrest, Officer Ferrero assaulted him by punching and kicking him during the arrest. Am. Compl. 1; Bryant Dep. 44:23-24, 45:1-4, 48:1-9, 69:14-24, Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. C., ECF No. 19. Plaintiff also alleges that fellow Police Officers Chim and Cullen watched as this assault occurred. Am. Compl. 1. Plaintiff says that as a result he suffered face, neck, and back injuries. Id. at 2. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his First, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Compl. 3.

Defendants, collectively, filed a motion for summary judgment. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. In their motion for summary judgment, Defendants provided exhibits indicating that Plaintiff was formally charged with intentional possession of a controlled substance subsequent to his arrest. Court Summ. 9, Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. D. Plaintiff pled guilty to the charge and received nine months of probation. Id.; see also Bryant Dep. 79:18-20.

III. DISCUSSION

Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on April 21, 2011. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. 1. In their motion, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims against Defendant City of Philadelphia and Defendant Chim fail as a matter of law. Id. at 5-6, 9. They further argue that Plaintiff presents no cognizable First, Sixth, Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment claims. Id. at 6-7. Finally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's false arrest and failure to intervene claims also fail as a matter of law as against Defendants Cullen and Ferrero. Id. at 7-8. Plaintiff does not contest the motion for summary judgment as to Defendant City of Philadelphia or Defendant Chim nor does he contest summary judgment as to his First, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims. However, Plaintiff does argue that there are genuine issues of material fact as to his false arrest and failure to intervene claims against Defendants Cullen and Ferrero. Pl.'s Resp. 8-13, ECF No. 23.

A. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). "A motion for summary judgment will not be defeated by 'the mere existence' of some disputed facts, but will be denied when there is a genuine issue of material fact." Am. Eagle Outfitters v. Lyle & Scott Ltd., 584 F.3d 575, 581 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)). A fact is "material" if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the litigation, and a dispute is "genuine" if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

The Court will view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. "After making all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor, there is a genuine issue of material fact if a reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party." Pignataro v. Port Auth. of N.Y. & N.J., 593 F.3d 265, 268 (3d Cir. 2010). While the moving party bears the initial burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, meeting this obligation shifts the burden to the ...


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