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.

Richard E. Myers, Jr v. Brian Shaffer In His Official and Individual Capacities

May 2, 2012

RICHARD E. MYERS, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRIAN SHAFFER IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, BRIAN WOLFE IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, DAVID NABEREZNY IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, BRADLEY SMAIL IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, FNU SNYDER IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, FNU MCKIZZOP IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, DANIEL HERR IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, JAMES DEPAOLO IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, SAMUEL VICARI IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, RANDALL KRUSE IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, ANTHONY AULICINO IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, AND THOMAS E. DUBOVI IN HIS OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

I. Introduction

Pending before the Court are DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS with brief in support (Document Nos. 6 and 7) and Plaintiff's BRIEF IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (Document No. 10). The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

II. Background

On August 30, 2011, Plaintiff Richard E. Myers, Jr., filed the instant one-count Complaint against Defendants, all of whom are officers with the Pennsylvania State Police ("PSP") based in Butler County, PA, and all of whom are alleged, individually and in conspiracy with one another, to have violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.

The following background is drawn from the Complaint and, as the law requires, all disputed facts and inferences are resolved in favor of Plaintiff, the non-moving party. The instant case arises from a series of events, the majority of which allegedly occurred over a thirteenth month period from November 29, 2008, to December 9, 2009. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants each committed acts which were designed to harass and deprive him of his constitutional rights.

The alleged conspiracy by Defendants to harass Plaintiff commenced on November 29, 2008,*fn1 a short while after Plaintiff had confronted Defendant Brian Shaffer about an extramarital relationship Defendant Shaffer was having with Plaintiff's wife, Jacqueline Myers. On that day, at the request of Defendant Shaffer and Jacqueline Myers, "one or more of the Defendants" ordered a "man hunt" for Plaintiff allegedly in "retribution" for an argument that had transpired between Plaintiff and Jacqueline Myers. (Compl. at ¶ 26(a)). Unnamed Defendants located Plaintiff sitting in his car in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart store and he was thereafter taken into custody without probable cause for allegedly possessing a gun in his car. Defendants transported him to Armstrong County Memorial Hospital, where they "attempted to involuntary commit him on the fabricated reason that he was a threat to himself and others." Id. Several of Plaintiff's family members went to the PSP barracks to inform the police that Plaintiff did not possess a gun and was not a threat to himself or others. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants willfully ignored this information and continued to harass him.

Next, on December 16, 2008, Plaintiff allegedly called the PSP for assistance because his estranged wife was intentionally damaging his motorcycle. (Compl. at ¶ 26(b)). However, the PSP did not report to the scene nor did they provide Plaintiff with any assistance. Plaintiff speculates that the lack of assistance from the PSP was due to the ongoing relationship between Ms. Myers and Defendant Shaffer. Id. In a cursory fashion, Plaintiff alleges that the failure to assist him violated his "rights to equal protection under the law." (Compl. at ¶ 26(b)).

Approximately two weeks later, on January 4, 2009, Plaintiff alleges that he was "viciously attacked and assaulted" by Defendant Shaffer. (Compl. at ¶ 26(c)). Thereafter, Plaintiff alleges that "Defendants" created a false police report to cover up the incident which portrayed Plaintiff in a false light. Id. Again, Plaintiff alleges that "this was done in furtherance of Defendants' conspiracy to harass and deprive Plaintiff of his civil rights in retribution for his relationship with Jacqueline Myers and to assist and support Defendant Shaffer in his relationship with Jacqueline Myers." Id.

The next day, on or about January 5, 2009, at the direction of Defendant Shaffer, Jacqueline Myers filed a Protection from Abuse ("PFA") order against Plaintiff. (Compl. at ¶ 26(d)). Plaintiff contends that the purpose of the order was to "have Jacqueline Myers granted possession of the marital residence and to enable Defendant Shaffer to occupy the marital residence." Id. Further, Plaintiff contends that "Defendant Shaffer used his position of power and authority to obtain the aforementioned restraint on Plaintiff's liberty, thereby further depriving Plaintiff of his constitutional rights as aforementioned, and to further enact retribution against Plaintiff for his relationship with Jacqueline Myers." Id.

The PFA hearing was scheduled on February 20, 2009. On that day, Plaintiff went to the district magistrate's office, as did Defendant Shaffer and Jacqueline Myers. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, the proceeding had been rescheduled for another day. (Compl. at ¶ 26(e)). Upon learning of the rescheduling, Plaintiff left the magistrate judge's office and returned to work without incident. However, on his way home from work that day, Plaintiff received a telephone call in which Defendant Vicardi demanded that Plaintiff come to the PSP barracks for questioning. When Plaintiff arrived at the barracks, he was immediately arrested and charged with violating the temporary PFA order because he had been in the vicinity of Ms. Myers while at the district magistrate's office. The Complaint states that "Defendants attempted to schedule a video arraignment so as to place Plaintiff in custody. However that proved unsuccessful." Id. Plaintiff contends that the "entire event was done in furtherance of the Defendants' conspiracy to harass Plaintiff and deprive him of his constitutional rights, since the Defendants were aware that Plaintiff's attendance at the PFA hearing was mandatory." Id.

The next month, on March 25, 2009, a Butler County police officer appeared at Plaintiff's work, handcuffed him, and drove him to the county line where Plaintiff was then placed in a PSP vehicle and driven to the Kittanning barracks. (Compl. at ¶ 26(g)). Plaintiff contends that at no time while he was in custody was he informed of the charges against him; however, subsequently, he learned that he had been charged by "one or more of the defendants" with receiving stolen property. Id. The Complaint states that "the bringing of these charges by the Defendants was a direct and proximate result of Jacqueline Myers and Defendant Shaffer informing Butler County police that Plaintiff had tools in his garage that were affixed with his employer's identification stamp." Id. Plaintiff contends that Ms. Myers and Defendant Shaffer knew or should have known that the tools were rightfully in Plaintiff's possession and were being stored by him on behalf of his employer until "another job started." Id.

Two days later, on March 27, 2009, Plaintiff was informed (although he does not state by who) that there was an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest because he had missed an "unspecified hearing" that was scheduled on March 20, 2009. (Compl. at ¶ 26(f)). Plaintiff later learned that the notice of the hearing had not been sent to the proper address. The Complaint alleges that "Defendants once again attempted to bring Plaintiff into custody on a Friday evening so as to hold him over the entire weekend." Id.

In June, 2009, Plaintiff was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for vandalizing Defendant Shaffer's automobile while it was parked in the garage of the marital residence of Plaintiff and his estranged wife. (Compl. at ¶ 26(i)). In the Complaint, Plaintiff denies that he caused any damage to the automobile. Id.

However, the record reflects that on December 9, 2009, Plaintiff admitted to vandalizing the automobile. On that date, Plaintiff appeared for court and entered into an agreement for his case to be entered into the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ("ARD") program. Plaintiff asserts that he was approached by Defendant Vicari who pressured him into signing a paper in which he admitted that he had vandalized Defendant Shaffer's automobile. *fn2 Defendant Vicari allegedly threatened that Plaintiff would not be able to enter into the ARD program unless he admitted in writing that he had vandalized the automobile. Id. Plaintiff signed the paper and thereafter was admitted into a ninety-day ARD program. Plaintiff did not challenge his conviction or ARD sentence.

Finally, throughout "the time period detailed herein," the Complaint states that Defendant Shaffer has harassed and intimidated Plaintiff by using his PSP vehicle and personal automobile to travel to Plaintiff's residence, sit outside Plaintiff's home, travel onto Plaintiff's land, and slowly drive by Plaintiff's property. (Compl. at ¶ 26(k)). No facts are pled in support of this allegation.

III. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the legal sufficiency of the complaint. 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." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (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 ...


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.