Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Iman Sharif v. C.O. Nathan Picone

June 14, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert F. Kelly, Sr. J.


Presently before the Court is Plaintiff, Iman Sharif's ("Sharif"), Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) against Defendant, Correctional Officer ("C.O.") Nathan Picone ("C.O. Picone"). For the reasons stated below, we will grant the Motion.


On July 10, 2009, Sharif filed a pro se Complaint ("Initial Complaint") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against C.O. Picone, and C.O.s Brian Potance ("C.O. Potance"), Thomas Pinto ("C.O. Pinto"), Lieutenant Joseph Kospiah ("Lt. Kospiah"), and John Doe C.O.s Nos. 1-10 (collectively, "Defendants"). Sharif alleges that on March 11, 2009, he was in his cell at Northampton County Prison when C.O. Picone was on duty collecting dinner trays. (Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-14.) Sharif asserts that when C.O. Picone opened his cell to collect his tray, C.O. Picone charged him and began to attack him, and that seconds later, C.O. Potance and C.O. Pinto entered his cell and began to attack him as well. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.) During the course of the attack, C.O. Potance put Sharif in a head lock rendering him unconscious. (Id. ¶ 18.) Sharif maintains that he awoke to being kicked in the head by John Doe C.O. No. 1, and his hands cuffed tightly behind his back. (Id. ¶ 19.) Lt. Kospiah and John Doe C.O.s Nos. 2-10 took Sharif out of his cell and put him into a suicide cell in another unit for a period of time all the while with his hands cuffed behind his back. (Id.) They later removed him from this cell and brought him to another cell where he was tightly restrained to a chair. (Id. ¶¶ 20-24.) Lt. Kospiah and John Doe C.O.s Nos. 1-10 then repeatedly attacked Sharif for up to two hours. (Id. ¶¶ 25-26.) Sharif claims that the Defendants' attacks and use of restraints caused him physical and emotional injuries. (Id. ¶ 36.)

Defendants filed an Answer to Sharif's Initial Complaint on October 6, 2009. On March 23, 2010, we granted Sharif's Petition for Appointment of Counsel and stayed this action until he was assigned counsel or released from incarceration. (Doc. No. 20). On October 15, 2010, counsel was appointed to represent Sharif. An amended Complaint ("First Amended Complaint") was filed on December 30, 2010. Defendants answered the First Amended Complaint on February 2, 2011. A second amended Complaint ("Second Amended Complaint") was filed by Sharif on April 9, 2012. Defendants filed an Answer to this Complaint on April 16, 2012. In his Answer, C.O. Picone added a state law counterclaim against Sharif for assault and battery. Sharif filed the instant Motion to Dismiss this counterclaim on May 7, 2012, and C.O. Picone filed a Response on May 22, 2012.


A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has failed to set forth a claim from which relief may be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); see also Lucas v. City of Philadelphia, No. 11-4376, 2012 WL 1555430, at *2 (E.D. Pa. May 2, 2012) (citing Hedges v.

U.S., 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005)). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the court must view any reasonable inferences from the factual allegations in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Buck v. Hamilton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir. 2002).

The Supreme Court set forth in Twombly and further defined in Iqbal a two part test to determine whether to grant or deny a motion to dismiss. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has noted that these cases signify the progression from liberal pleading requirements to more "exacting scrutiny" of the complaint. Wilson v. City of Philadelphia, 415 Fed. Appx. 434, 436 (3d Cir. 2011).

Initially, the court must ascertain whether the complaint is supported by well-pleaded factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Conclusions of law can serve as the foundation of a complaint, but to survive dismissal they must be supported by factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. These factual allegations must be explicated sufficiently to provide a defendant the type of notice that is contemplated by Rule 8. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) (requiring a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief); see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008). Where there are well-pleaded facts, courts must assume their truthfulness. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

Upon a finding of a well-pleaded complaint, the court must then determine whether these allegations "plausibly" give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id. at 679. This is a "context specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. Plausibility compels the pleadings to contain enough factual content to allow a court to make "a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 at 570). This is not a probability requirement; rather plausibility necessitates "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). In other words, a complaint must not only allege entitlement to relief, but must demonstrate such entitlement with sufficient facts to nudge the claim "across the line from conceivable to plausible." Id. at 683; see also Holmes v. Gates, 403 Fed. Appx. 670, 673 (3d Cir. 2010).


Sharif asserts in his Motion to Dismiss that C.O. Picone's counterclaim for assault and battery is time-barred under Pennsylvania's statute of limitations. We first note that there is no question that the law of Pennsylvania is applicable in this case, and that we have supplemental jurisdiction over this claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).*fn1 42 Pa. C.S. § 5524(1) states:

The following actions and proceedings must be commenced within two years: (a) An action for assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious ...

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.