United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM RE: DEFENDANTS LOUIS GIOLRA AND JOHN DELANEY’S MOTION TO DISMISS
MICHAEL M. BAYLSON, U.S.D.J.
Plaintiff brings claims under Section 1983 for an alleged assault while in police custody against the City of Philadelphia, Prison Warden John Delaney, the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Prison System, Louis Giorla, and eight corrections officers: Jason Grundy, Majovie Billups, Daisy Ortiz, Donovan Bynum, Michael Capers, James Palmer, Enrique Marin and Carlos White. Plaintiff brings claims against the Commissioner, the Warden and the officers both in their official capacities and as individuals.
Presently before this Court is a motion to dismiss the claims against Defendants Giorla and Delaney (“moving Defendants”) in both their individual and official capacities. The remaining defendants, the City of Philadelphia and the eight corrections officers have not moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims against them.
I. Factual Background & Procedural History
Plaintiff alleges he was subject to excessive force while in the receiving areas of the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on April 14, 2011. Plaintiff alleges correctional officers Grundy, Billups, Ortiz, Bynum, Capers, Palmer, Marin and White used excessive force on him “including but not limited to choking the plaintiff, knocking the plaintiff down, dragging the plaintiff and kicking the plaintiff in the face and head.” Complaint at ¶ 25. Plaintiff alleges he suffered physical injuries to his eyes and damage to his eyesight, headaches, pain in his neck, shoulder and back, as well as psychological and emotional injuries. Complaint at ¶ 34.
The complaint alleges the correctional officers filed charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment against Plaintiff, who was then arrested on these charges on June 20, 2011. Complaint at ¶ 28. The complaint alleges Plaintiff was acquitted of the aggravated assault charge. Complaint at ¶ 29. The simple assault and reckless endangerment charges were nolle prosequi on January 13, 2012. Complaint at ¶ 29.
The complaint further alleges moving Defendants Delaney and Giorla caused the violation of Plaintiff’s civil rights because they “developed and maintained policies, practices and/or customs exhibiting deliberate indifference to [Plaintiff’s] constitutional rights.” Complaint at ¶ 27. The complaint further alleges moving Defendants Delaney and Giorla had the policy, practice and/or custom to condone the use of excessive force in the prison; to fail to train correctional officers in using only justified, reasonable and necessary force; and to condone false arrest and malicious prosecution of inmates to cover up assaults committed by corrections officers. Complaint at ¶ 31.
Plaintiff brings claims against the corrections officers for violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights (Count I), Eighth Amendment rights (Count II), assault and battery (Count III), and false arrest and malicious prosecution under state statute and the Fourteenth Amendment (Counts IV & V). Plaintiff brings Monell claims against the City of Philadelphia and against Defendants Delaney, Giorla, both individually and in their official capacity (Count VI).
Moving Defendants Delaney and Giorla filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (EFC No. 6).
II. The Parties’ Arguments
Moving Defendants contend the compliant fails to state a claim for constitutional violations under Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). They argue that claims against a public official for conduct in their official capacity is redundant because they are the equivalent to claims against the City of Philadelphia. Plaintiff acknowledges that dismissal for redundancy is at the court’s discretion.
Moving Defendants also contend there is no supervisory liability under Section 1983. They argue that the complaint is devoid of factual allegations the correctional officers acted under their personal direction or knowledge and acquiescence, and therefore the Complaint fails to assert a claim for individual liability. Plaintiff responds “policy makers should be personally liable for their policies.”
When deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court may look only to the facts alleged in the complaint and its attachments. Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O’Brien & Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994). The court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and view them in the light most favorable to ...