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Heather Hagan, et al. v. Rochelle Bilal

July 20, 2012

HEATHER HAGAN, ET AL.
v.
ROCHELLE BILAL, ET AL.



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

MEMORANDUM

This action arises from Heather Hagan's traffic violation and subsequent altercation with an off duty police officer. Heather Hagan and her daughter, Skylar Hagan, filed a complaint against the City of Philadelphia and police officer Rochelle Bilal under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of her rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as state intentional tort claims against Officer Bilal.

The defendants move for summary judgment. The plaintiffs did not challenge the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the majority of the claims against Officer Bilal, or any claim against the City of Philadelphia. Therefore, the only remaining claims arise under § 1983 for violation of the Fourth Amendment and potentially under Pennsylvania state law for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court will grant the defendants' motion.

I. Summary Judgment Motion

The facts presented here are undisputed unless

otherwise noted.*fn1 Disputed facts are read in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the nonmoving party. See Sheridan v. NGK Metals Corp., 609 F.3d 239, 250 n.12 (3d Cir. 2010).

On October 7, 2009, at approximately 12:30 P.M., Heather Hagan ("Mrs. Hagan") was driving north in the left lane of Broad Street with her daughter, Skylar Hagan ("Skylar"). See Defs.' Exhibit A, Internal Affairs Division Investigation File No. 09-0591: Citizen's Complaint of Heather A. Hagan and Statement of Heather Hagan, Internal Affairs Division Investigation No. 09-591 at 16 ("Defs.' Exhibit A").*fn2

Mrs. Hagan was driving to St. Joseph's Preparatory School ("St. Joe's Prep"), to which she had never driven before, to pick up her stepson. Her husband, Pennsylvania state trooper Keith Hagan, had given her directions and warned her that the neighborhood was "rough." Because of this warning, Mrs. Hagan did not want to deviate from her husband's directions. See Defs.' Exhibit A at 16.

Mrs. Hagan saw a traffic sign prohibiting left turns as she prepared to turn left on Girard Avenue. A woman, later identified as the defendant police officer Rochelle Bilal ("Officer Bilal"), pulled alongside the right side of Mrs. Hagan's car. Officer Bilal yelled at or told Mrs. Hagan not to make a left turn. Mrs. Hagan shook her head to acknowledge that she could not turn, but because of Officer Bilal's car, Mrs. Hagan could not continue straight on Broad Street. See Defs.' Exhibit A at 12, 16.

Officer Bilal was dressed in civilian clothes and was not driving a police car. Officer Bilal yelled at Mrs. Hagan to roll her window down "because she was a police officer." Mrs. Hagan rolled her window down and asked for Officer Bilal's identification. Officer Bilal responded that she was off duty, that she did not have to show Mrs. Hagan identification, and that she would give Mrs. Hagan a ticket if she completed the turn.

Mrs. Hagan told Officer Bilal to give her a ticket, turned her hazard lights on and completed the left turn onto Girard Avenue to get out of traffic. See Defs.' Exhibit A at 12, 16.

Officer Bilal also turned left and followed Mrs. Hagan to her destination, St. Joe's Prep's parking lot. Mrs. Hagan pulled into a parking space, and Officer Bilal placed her car behind Mrs. Hagan's and blocked her so she could not pull out. Officer Bilal then exited her vehicle and approached Mrs. Hagan's driver's side window. Officer Bilal told Mrs. Hagan that she was not permitted to make the turn and that she was a police officer. At some point, Mrs. Hagan again asked Officer Bilal for identification, which Officer Bilal said she did not have to give. See Defs.' Exhibit A at 12, 16-17.

As Officer Bilal approached the car, Mrs. Hagan was talking to her husband on her cell phone. Mrs. Hagan told Officer Bilal that her husband is a State Trooper, and he spoke to Officer Bilal. Mrs. Hagan's husband told her to call 9-1-1 because they did not know who the woman - that is, Officer Bilal - was. See Defs.' Exhibit A at 17-18.

Mrs. Hagan then exited the car with her daughter, went inside the school and called 9-1-1. Mrs. Hagan waited inside the school with her daughter for the police to arrive. Officer Bilal remained parked behind Mrs. Hagan's car and blocked her ...


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