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.

Peter Momot, Individually and As Administrator of the Estate of Mark v. City of Philadelphia

May 16, 2012

PETER MOMOT, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF MARK MOMOT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, POLICE COMMISSIONER CHARLES RAMSEY, THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND PHILADELPHIA POLICE OFFICERS JOHN/JANE DOE 1-5,
DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

This is a civil rights case arising out of the suicide of Mark Momot during a period of detention at the Philadelphia Police Department's Fifteenth District. Plaintiff Peter Momot filed suit individually and as Administrator of the Estate of his brother Mark against the City of Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, the Philadelphia Police Department, and five police officers whose identities are unknown, referred to in the Complaint as John/Jane Doe 1--5. In the Complaint, plaintiff asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff also asserts a claim under Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and state-law negligence claims.

Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts III, IV and V and All Claims Against Commissioner Ramsey.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, the Court grants in part and denies in part defendants' motion.

II. BACKGROUND*fn2

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on February 12, 2010, Philadelphia police officers took Mark Momot ("Decedent") into custody for violating a protective order at Decedent's parents' home. (Compl. ¶ 18.) Decedent was taken by the police to the Fifteenth District police station and placed him in a holding cell. (Id. ¶ 23.) At the time of Decedent's arrest, the officers were made aware of Decedent's fragile mental state-including depression and suicidal tendencies- and intoxication due to drinking and/or drug use. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 22, 37, 43.)

At approximately 3:15 a.m. on February 13, 2012, unidentified police officers found Decedent inside his cell "hanging from the top bar from his shirt tied around his neck." (Id.

¶ 26.) The officers did not attempt to rescue Decedent; they left him hanging in the cell until paramedics arrived approximately fifteen minutes later. (Id. ¶¶ 27--31.) Decedent died as a result of this incident; his death was ruled a suicide by hanging. (Id. ¶ 32.)

Plaintiff alleges that, prior to this incident, defendants knew that there had been suicides and suicide attempts by pretrial detainees in police station holding cells. (Id. ¶ 55.) Despite this, plaintiff alleges, defendants "failed and continue to fail to take necessary steps to correct or remedy the deficiencies in the operation of the Philadelphia Police District holding cells that facilitate suicides and suicide attempts." (Id. ¶ 57.) Further, plaintiff contends that the Philadelphia Police Department has not adequately trained its officers to "identify, monitor, or safeguard suicidal, medication or drug dependent or emotionally disturbed pre-trial detainees." (Id. ¶ 81.)

III. LEGAL STANDARD

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a civil plaintiff must allege facts that "'raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). To satisfy the plausibility standard, a plaintiff's allegations must show that defendant's liability is more than "a sheer possibility." Id. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

In Twombly, the Supreme Court used a "two-pronged approach," which it later formalized in Iqbal. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950; Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-- 11 (3d Cir. 2009). Under this approach, a district court first identifies those factual allegations that constitute nothing more than "legal conclusions" or "naked assertions." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557. Such allegations are "not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must be disregarded. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950. The court then assess "the 'nub' of the plaintiff['s] complaint-the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s] . . . to determine" whether it states a plausible claim for relief. Id.

IV. DISCUSSION

The Complaint contains five counts. Count I asserts a claim against all defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. In Count II, plaintiff makes a claim against all defendants under § 1983 for violating the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Count III sets forth a claim against all defendants under Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Count IV asserts a state-law negligence claim against the individual officers. Finally, in Count V, plaintiff makes a wrongful-death claim against all defendants for "violating the Constitutional Rights of the Decedent and/or in their carelessness and negligence." (Id. ¶ 108.) The claimant in Counts I--IV is plaintiff as Administrator Decedent's Estate; he asserts the claim in Count V for the benefit of those persons entitled by law to recover damages for wrongful death. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages on all counts and sues all individual defendants in both their individual and official capacities.

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss seeks dismissal of (1) Counts III, IV, and V; (2) all claims against Commissioner Ramsey; (3) all claims for punitive damages against the City of Philadelphia; and (4) all claims against the City of Philadelphia Police Department. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants the motion with respect to Counts III, IV, and V; all claims for punitive damages against the City of Philadelphia; and all claims against the City of Philadelphia Police Department. The Court ...


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.