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Naji Muhammed, Individually and As v. Former Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski

March 7, 2012

NAJI MUHAMMED, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF HAKIM JACKSON, DECEASED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FORMER PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE COMMISSIONER FRANK PAWLOWSKI, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jones, II, U.S.D.J.

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

This matter arises from the death of Plaintiff's son, Hakim Jackson ("Decedent"), after his detention by Pennsylvania State Troopers and treatment at Crozer-Chester Medical Center ("Crozer-Chester"). Plaintiff alleges that Pennsylvania State Troopers assaulted Decedent after a traffic stop of the motor vehicle in which he was a passenger. Plaintiff also alleges that after Decedent was transported to Crozer-Chester and placed in the care of its medical professionals, those personnel improperly acted in concert with law enforcement officials to reverse Decedent's medically induced sedation for the purpose of effectuating an arraignment. Plaintiff contends that the decision to reverse Decedent's sedation offered no medical benefit and ultimately led to Decedent's preventable death.

Plaintiff filed a Complaint on August 3, 2011, and filed an Amended Complaint on September 21, 2011. The Amended Complaint asserted, inter alia, civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against named and unnamed individuals, including Defendants Crozer-Chester and Kristin Varacalli, D.O. ("Varacalli"). On December 15, 2011, with the permission of the Court, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint ("S.A. Complaint"), substituting certain parties and adding Dawn Salvucci, R.N., as a Defendant ("Salvucci"). Defendants Crozer-Chester, Varacalli and Salvucci have filed a Motion to Dismiss in Part (Docket No. 73). Defendant Hussein Kiliddar ("Kiliddar") has also filed a Motion to Dismiss in Part (Docket No. 74).*fn1 In these Motions, the Moving Defendants request that the Court: (1) dismiss Defendant Salvucci from this action; (2) dismiss Defendant Kiliddar from this action; (3) dismiss Count Two of the S.A. Complaint against the Moving Defendants; and (4) dismiss the claims for punitive damages against Moving Defendants and strike related allegations of reckless or malicious conduct. Plaintiff opposes the Motions to Dismiss in all respects.*fn2 For the reasons stated herein, the Motions shall be denied.

II. Discussion

1. Rule 15 and the Relation-Back Doctrine

A plaintiff may only add a new claim or name a new party after the statute of

limitations has expired if the plaintiff demonstrates that the new claims or parties relate back to the filing date of the original complaint. Estate of Grier ex rel. Grier v. Univ. of Pa. Health Sys., No. 07-4224, 2009 WL 1652168, at *2 (E.D. Pa. June 11, 2009). Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c)(1), an amendment to a pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading when:

(A) the law that provides the applicable statute of limitations allows relation back;

(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out -- or attempted to be set out -- in the original pleading; or

(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:

(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and

(ii) knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake ...


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