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Jerome K. Young v. City of Philadelphia

December 14, 2012


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



On October 22, 2009, Plaintiff Jerome Young was on the street in Northeast Philadelphia celebrating a Philadelphia Phillies' play-off victory. Thousands of other fans were also present. Philadelphia police officers, in their effort to control the crowd, began blocking off certain streets and directing participants to leave the area. While Plaintiff was attempting to walk home, he was confronted by several officers. He claims these officers repeatedly pushed him and beat him with batons. He was briefly handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, but was released without arrest.

On October 7, 2011, Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and unidentified police officers.*fn1 (Doc. No. 1.) The Complaint alleges constitutional and state tort violations against all Defendants. Both the City of Philadelphia and the unidentified officers are named as defendants in each count. Count I alleges under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 a violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights by unnamed police officers employed by the City of Philadelphia.

Count II alleges that those same police officers engaged in a conspiracy to violate Plaintiff's constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1985. Counts III through VII allege the commission of the following state torts: violation of custodial relationship, false imprisonment, assault, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on all claims. (Doc. No. 13.) For the following reasons, the Motion will be granted.


Plaintiff claims he was assaulted on October 22, 2009 by unknown police officers employed by the City of Philadelphia. (Doc. No. 13 at 3-4.) The assault occurred near the intersection of Frankford and Cottman Avenues in Philadelphia. (Id. at 4.) Plaintiff and thousands of others were celebrating a Philadelphia Phillies' victory. (Doc. No. 13-2 at 12-13.) Over twenty police officers were on the scene to control the crowd. (Id. at 14-15.) As the officers attempted to clear the streets, Plaintiff claims that one officer pushed him. (Id. at 30.) He was then surrounded by at least five officers and one of the officers hit him with his baton. (Id. at 32.) The police then proceeded to hit him over and over again and would not let him leave. (Id. at 33-34, 36-37.) Plaintiff was eventually handcuffed and thrown against a police vehicle before being placed inside. (Id. at 37-38.) He was not arrested, and was released shortly thereafter. (Doc. No. 13 at 4.) Plaintiff claims he was bruised and unable to walk or work for several days after the incident. (Doc. No. 13-2 at 56-57.)

Defendant City of Philadelphia has provided police activity logs that indicate officers were assigned to the "Phillies Detail" in the area of the alleged assault. (See, e.g., Doc. No. 14-23.) Plaintiff remains unable, however, to identify the officers involved. He contends his inability to identify them is due to the fact they were all dressed alike in riot gear, which consisted of no visible badges, black uniforms, shields, and face masks. (Doc. No. 13 at 4-5; Doc. No. 13-2 at 22, 30.)


Granting summary judgment is an extraordinary remedy. Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In reaching this decision, the Court must determine "whether the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and whether the moving party is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Macfarlan v. Ivy Hill SNF, LLC, 675 F.3d 266, 271 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). A disputed issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact-finder could find for the non-moving party. Kaucher v. County of Bucks, 455 F.3d 418, 423 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Doe v. Luzerne County, 660 F.3d 169, 175 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Gray v. York Papers, Inc., 957 F.2d 1070, 1078 (3d Cir. 1992)). The Court's task is not to resolve disputed issues of fact, but to determine whether there exist any factual issues to be tried. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-249.

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence and all reasonable inferences from the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Macfarlan, 674 F.3d at 271; Bouriez v. Carnegie Mellon Univ., 585 F.3d 765, 770 (3d Cir. 2009). Whenever a factual issue arises which cannot be resolved without a credibility determination, the Court must, at this stage of the litigation, credit the non-moving party's evidence over that presented by the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. If there is no factual issue and if only one reasonable conclusion could arise from the record regarding the potential outcome under the governing law, summary judgment must be awarded in favor of the moving party. Id. at 250.


A.Unidentified Police Officers Cannot Be Held Liable For ...

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