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.

David Kipp v. Allegheny County

April 27, 2012

DAVID KIPP,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY, ALLEGHENY COUNTY BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS,
ALLEGHENY CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., CORRECTIONS OFFICER ARII L. METZ INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER,
CORRECTIONS OFFICER TIMOTHY MILLER INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER, CORRECTIONS OFFICER MARCIA L. WILLIAMS INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER,
RAMON C. RUSTIN INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS WARDEN OF THE ALLEGHENY COUNTY JAIL AND DANA PHILLIPS INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF ALLEGHENY CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC.
DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

Now pending before the Court is the MOTION TO DISMISS (Document No. 22) filed by Allegheny County (the "County"), Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections and Warden Ramon C. Rustin ("Rustin"), with brief in support. Plaintiff David Kipp ("Kipp") filed a brief in opposition and the motion is ripe for disposition.

Factual and Procedural Background

This case involves alleged mistreatment by corrections officers at the Allegheny County Jail after Kipp was arrested and held as a pretrial detainee*fn1 on October 12-13, 2010. As set forth in the Amended Complaint, after being taken to a jail cell Kipp repeatedly asked for his prescription medication by using the call button and intercom in his cell. A corrections officer responded by stating that Kipp would not get his medication and would be hit in the face for every time he hit the call button. The officer then proceeded to repeatedly strike Kipp in his cell. Other officers allegedly observed or joined in the assault and derogatory comments were made about Kipp's sexual preference. Despite the recommendation of Dr. Lucille Aiken, Kipp was not sent for outside medical assistance until October 15, 2010. An examination revealed broken bones, a perforated ear drum, facial swelling and numerous other injuries which should have been treated immediately.

As to Warden Rustin, the Amended Complaint conclusorily alleges that he knew of prior attacks by corrections officers against other inmates. ¶ 35. No facts are pled regarding Warden Rustin's knowledge of these incidents. Kipp alleges that Rustin chose to justify or cover-up these incidents instead of enforcing the policy against the excessive use of force or disciplining officers for violations of the policy. ¶ 35-42. Kipp reasons that his injuries resulted from Rustin's alleged failure to enforce the policy for earlier attacks against other inmates. No facts are pled regarding such cover-up. Similarly, Kipp alleges that Rustin failed to enforce, or to discipline officers for prior violations of, the policy regarding compliance with a doctor's decision to hospitalize an inmate. Again, no facts are pled in support of this conclusory allegation.

As to Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections, the Amended Complaint acknowledges that they had policies prohibiting the use of excessive force and mandating proper medical treatment of inmates. ¶¶ 34, 43. Indeed, the Amended Complaint alleges that the corrections officers' conduct violated those policies. ¶ 36, 47. The only specific allegation of wrongdoing as to Allegheny County and the Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections is that they attempted to limit the number of inmates sent to outside medical facilities in an effort to cut costs at the expense of inmate health. ¶ 29, 50. No facts are pled in support of this allegation.

Kipp filed the original Complaint in December 2011. The County, Bureau of Corrections and Rustin promptly filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them, which the Court deemed moot when Kipp filed an Amended Complaint. The Amended Complaint asserts six claims against eight named Defendants: (1) Fourteenth Amendment excessive force, against the County, Bureau of Corrections, Rustin, and corrections officers Metz and Miller; (2) Fourteenth Amendment failure to intervene against the County, Bureau of Corrections, Rustin and corrections officer Williams; (3) Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference to excessive force, against the County, Bureau of Corrections and Rustin; (4) Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference to medical needs against the County, Bureau of Corrections and Rustin; (5) assault and battery against corrections officers Metz and Miller; and (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") against all Defendants. Kipp also seeks punitive damages against the individual Defendants.

The County, Bureau of Corrections and Rustin have renewed their motion to dismiss. Because the allegations against them in the Amended Complaint are essentially unchanged and do not overcome the alleged flaws identified in their original motion to dismiss, they ask the Court to dismiss all claims against them with prejudice and to terminate them from the case.

Standard of Review

Counsel for Kipp has mis-stated the applicable standard of review. The "any set of facts" standard described initially in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957), and incorporated into the cases cited by Kipp, has "earned its retirement" and "is best forgotten." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 563 (2007).

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) challenges the legal sufficiently of the complaint filed by Plaintiff. The United States Supreme Court has held that "[a] plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)) (alterations in original).

The Court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations, and must draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in favor of the plaintiff. However, as the Supreme Court made clear in Twombly, the "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. The Supreme Court has subsequently broadened the scope of this requirement, stating that only a complaint that states a plausibleclaim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, -- U.S. --, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009) (emphasis added).

Thus, after Iqbal, a district court must conduct a two-part analysis when presented with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). First, the Court must separate the factual and legal elements of the claim. Id. Although the Court "must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, [it] may disregard any legal conclusions." Id. at 210-211. Second, the Court "must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for relief.' In other words, a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to 'show' such an entitlement with its facts." Id. at 211 (citing Iqbal 129 S. Ct. at 1949). The determination for "plausibility" will be "'a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.'" Id. at 211 (quoting Iqbal 129 S. Ct. at 1950).

As a result, "pleading standards have seemingly shifted from simple notice pleading to a more heightened form of pleading, requiring a plaintiff to plead more than the possibility of relief to survive a motion to dismiss." Id. at 211. That is, "all civil complaints must now set out 'sufficient factual matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible. This then 'allows the court to draw the reasonable inference ...


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.