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Nelling v. County of Delaware

United States District Court, Third Circuit

October 25, 2013

SUZANNE NELLING
v.
COUNTY OF DELAWARE ET AL.

MEMORANDUM RE: DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BAYLSON, J.

I. Introduction

The Plaintiff, Suzanne Nelling was incarcerated on the basis of a rescinded bench warrant from October 2 through October 21 2010. In her Third Amended Complaint, Nelling brings claims against her former parole officer, Defendant Amy Theodore, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating her due process rights, state-created danger, and under state law for the tort of false imprisonment. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint, which this Court granted with leave to allow Plaintiff to file a Third Amended Complaint. Nelling v. Cnty. of Delaware, No. 11-6973, 2012 WL 3996113 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 11, 2012). This Court denied Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint and ordered limited discovery. Nelling v. Theodore, No. 11-6973, 2013 WL 140105 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2013).

Defendant now moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint and also asserts qualified immunity. In support of her Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant submitted a copy of: the original criminal complaint against Plaintiff; the request Theodore filed for a bench warrant for Nelling’s arrest; the incident report for Nelling’s arrest on October 2, 2010; Nelling’s deposition; Theodore’s deposition with attached exhibits that include a copy of Theodore’s request to rescind Nelling’s bench warrant, a copy of the prison progress report recording a phone call to PO Amy Theodore on October 4, 2010, and a copy of the rescinded bench warrant; and Susan Renler’s deposition with an attached exhibit of the copy of the rescinded bench warrant Renler faxed to the prison on October 20, 2010.

Plaintiff responds that summary judgment is inappropriate because discovery has produced a prison record indicating a phone call was placed to Theodore on October 4, 2010, and deposition testimony that Theodore did not act to secure Nelling’s release until October 20, 2010.[1]

II. Factual Background

The following facts are not in dispute. Plaintiff Suzanne Nelling was convicted of theft by unlawful taking in 2007, and was sentenced to four days to twenty-three months imprisonment with immediate parole. Defendant Amy Theodore was Nelling’s parole officer from 2007 to 2009. On July 17, 2009 Theodore requested a bench warrant for Plaintiff’s arrest because Plaintiff failed to pay all of the restitution she owed under the terms of her parole. After Plaintiff paid the restitution, Theodore requested that the bench warrant be rescinded on August 7, 2009. On September 9, 2009 the bench warrant was rescinded, but was not removed from the NCIC database, and Nelling was arrested on a the basis of that warrant on October 2, 2010.

Nelling was incarcerated at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County from October 2 through October 21, 2010. Nelling was released after Theodore contacted Susan Renler in the Criminal Division of the Office of Judicial Support (OJS) for Delaware County and provided her with a copy of the rescinded warrant. Renler faxed a copy of the rescinded warrant to the Records Department the Delaware County Prison on October 20, 2010. (ECF No. 74 Ex. 6 at 16). Nelling was released the following day.

III. Legal Background

A. Jurisdiction and Venue

The court has jurisdiction over the constitutional claims under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. This Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state law claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

B. Summary Judgment

A district court should grant a motion for summary judgment if the movant can show “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). A dispute is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A factual dispute is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Id. Under Rule 56, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to ...


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