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Wilson v. Dewees

United States District Court, Third Circuit

July 8, 2013

KEVIN WILSON, ET AL.
v.
JOSHUA DEWEES, ET AL.

MEMORANDUM

R. BARCLAY SURRICK

Presently before the Court is the Motion of Defendants, Officer Joshua Dewees, Officer David Brockway, and the City of Chester for Partial Dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Complaint Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 8.) For the following reasons, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Kevin Wilson and Julius Bradley brought this lawsuit against the City of Chester, the City of Chester Housing Authority (“CCHA”), and individual police officers Joshua Dewees, David Brockway, and Edward Corangi.[1] The Complaint alleges that on the evening of October 9, 2009, Wilson left a dance at Seventh and Yarnall Streets in Chester County, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶¶ 14-15, ECF No. 1.) While crossing the intersection of Tenth and Yarnall Streets, Wilson was approached by Defendants Officer Joshua Dewees and Officer David Brockway, both City of Chester police officers, who exited their police cars and ran towards Wilson. (Id. at ¶ 16.) At the same time, Edward Corangi, a police officer for the CCHA, stopped his police car and ran towards Wilson. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that without warning, justification, or probable cause, all three police officers tackled him, struck him in the head several times with a metal flashlight, and forcibly handcuffed him. (Id. at ¶ 17.)

At around the same time, Julius Bradley was riding his bicycle on Yarnall Street. (Id. at ¶¶ 22-23.) When Bradley saw Wilson laying on the ground bleeding, he stopped to offer assistance. (Id. at ¶ 24.) Plaintiff alleges that without warning, justification or probable cause, Officer Dewees forcefully pulled Bradley from his bicycle, and handcuffed him. (Id.) Wilson and Bradley were both taken into custody and transported to the Chester Police Department, where they were booked on multiple charges. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19, 25-26.) Wilson was charged with aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, harassment, resisting arrest, and failure to disperse upon official order. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Bradley was charged with obstructing the administration of the law, failure to disperse upon official order, and disorderly conduct. (Id. at ¶ 26.) Both Wilson and Bradley were held in a holding cell for several hours before being released. (Id. at ¶¶ 19, 25.) On April 4, 2010, Chester Magisterial District Judge Dawn Vann dismissed all charges against Wilson and Bradley. (Id. at ¶¶ 20, 27.)

On August 5, 2010, Wilson and Bradley filed this Complaint asserting the following causes of action against Defendants: violation of their Fourth Amendment right to be secure in their persons (Count I); false arrest and imprisonment (Count II); deprivation of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, including claims of excessive force (Count III); negligent failure to train and supervise under Monell v. New York Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978) (Count IV); assault and battery (Count V, against the individual police officers only); malicious prosecution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Pennsylvania common law (Count VI); and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VII). (Compl.)[2]

Defendants have filed a Motion for Partial Dismissal (Defs.’ Mot., ECF No. 8) and a supporting Memorandum of Law (Defs.’ Br., ECF No. 8). Plaintiff has filed a response to the Motion (Pl.’s Resp., ECF No. 10), along with an accompanying Memorandum of Law (Pl.’s Br., ECF No. 10).

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” “To survive a motion to dismiss, 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint that merely alleges entitlement to relief, without alleging facts that show entitlement, must be dismissed. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 211 (3d Cir. 2009). This “‘does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ’ but instead ‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of’ the necessary elements.” Phillips v. Cnty of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

For purposes of this Motion, we accept as true the facts alleged in Plaintiff’s Complaint. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), all factual allegations are viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the nonmoving party. Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233; see also Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (“When assessing whether the complaint satisfies [the 12(b)(6)] standard, courts must treat a complaint’s allegations as true.”).

III. DISCUSSION

In their Motion, Defendants sought dismissal of the following claims: (1) all claims asserted under the Pennsylvania Constitution in Count II; (2) all claims asserted under the Fourteenth Amendment in Count III and all claims against Officers Dewees and Brockway in Count III; (3) the claim for failure to train and supervise asserted under Monell (Count IV); (4) the malicious prosecution claims (Count VI); (5) the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim asserted against the City of Chester (Count VII); (6) Bradley’s claims against Officer Brockway (Counts I, II, III, VI and VII)[3]; and (7) all claims for punitive damages against the City of Chester.

Plaintiff has agreed to the dismissal of many of these claims. In his Response to the Motion, Plaintiff agreed to dismiss all claims asserted under the Pennsylvania Constitution, the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against the City of Chester, the state law malicious prosecution claim against the City of Chester, and any claims for punitive damages against the City of Chester. (Pl.’s Resp.) At a hearing held on June 21, 2013, counsel for Plaintiff also agreed to dismiss all Monell claims, and all claims asserted under the Fourteenth Amendment. (June 21 Hr’g Tr. 5-8, ECF No. 26.)[4] Since Plaintiff has abandoned the Monell claims, there are no remaining causes of action ...


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