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Robert Young v. Oleseyi Afywape and William J. Palatucci

September 5, 2012

ROBERT YOUNG,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
OLESEYI AFYWAPE AND WILLIAM J. PALATUCCI, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

Presently before this Court are Defendants', Oleseyi Afywape and William J. Palatucci's ("Defendants"), Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and Plaintiff, Robert Young's ("Plaintiff"), Response in Opposition. For the reasons set forth below, this Motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

This incident took place at Coleman Hall, ("Coleman"), an educational and treatment center used by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Compl. at 3.) Plaintiff was a detainee at Coleman, Defendant Afywape a staff member and Defendant Palatucci was employed as the Vice President of Operations for Community Education Centers, Inc., which oversees operations at Coleman. (Id.)

On November 7, 2011, Plaintiff, while confined at Coleman in the Tranquility Unit Secured Section for a sixty day program, was accused of assault by Defendant Afywape. (Id.) As a result of this accusation, Plaintiff was arrested by the Philadelphia Police Department and placed in Philadelphia County Prison. (Id.) These charges were later dismissed. (Id.) After the dismissal, Plaintiff filed a civil complaint under the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983). (Compl. at 1.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. (Compl. at 3.)

On July 25, 2012, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Plaintiff responded with a Brief in Opposition on August 14, 2012. We must determine whether Plaintiff has satisfied the pleading requirements and adequately set forth a claim from which relief may be granted.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

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).

III. DISCUSSION

Defendants set forth two main legal arguments in support of the Motion. First, Defendants assert that the Plaintiff's claims are barred by the United States Supreme Court's ("Supreme Court") holding in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994). Second, Defendants claim that Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed because it does not satisfy the heightened pleading standard announced in Iqbal, fails to allege any personal involvement on behalf ...


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