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Kramer v. City of New Kensington

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 4, 2014

MICHAEL KRAMER, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW KENSINGTON; THE NEW KENSINGTON POLICE DEPT.; ANTHONY GRILLO, in their individual Capacities; RUSSELL BAKER, in their Individual and official capacities; GARY SCHUBERT, in their individual and official capacities; WILLIAM WEBER, Arnold Police Dept.; in their individual and official capacities; ARNOLD POLICE DEPT., Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION Re: ECF No. 42

MAUREEN P. KELLY, Magistrate Judge.

I. RECOMMENDATION

For the reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of William Weber [ECF No. 42] be granted with regard to Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment excessive use of force claim, Fourth Amendment excessive use of force claim, and due process claims, but denied in all other respects.

II. REPORT

A. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Michael Kramer ("Plaintiff") filed this pro se civil rights action against the City of New Kensington ("the City") and various police officers employed by the New Kensington Police Department or the Arnold Police Department, alleging the violation of his rights under the Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. [ECF No. 39].

Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, taken as true solely for purposes of consideration of the Motion to Dismiss, alleges Plaintiff's constitutional rights were violated during the course of his arrest on the evening of July 16, 2011, when he was standing on a balcony of a three story residence smoking a cigarette and Defendant Russell Baker pushed Plaintiff from the balcony. As a result, Plaintiff sustained serious bodily injuries. He was further injured when handcuffed and taken into custody by Defendant Police Officers Baker, Grillo and Shubert, because these Defendants moved Plaintiff in disregard of his obvious injuries. Plaintiff alleges that the named Defendants, including Defendant William Weber ("Weber"), were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's obvious need for medical treatment when they failed to call an ambulance to the location of his arrest or otherwise obtain medical care for him. Plaintiff contends he was denied medical treatment until he was transported to the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh ("SCI - Pittsburgh") early in the morning on July 17, 2011. Once incarcerated at SCI - Pittsburgh, Plaintiff was evaluated in the medical unit and transferred to Allegheny General Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a "broken neck." Plaintiff was provided pain medication and a neck brace and returned to SCI - Pittsburgh. [ECF No. 39, ¶¶ 9-30].

Plaintiff also alleges in the Amended Complaint that he later learned that he was charged by the New Kensington Police Department with various crimes arising out of his arrest. Specifically, he was charged with falsification of identification, escape, resisting arrest and aggravated assault.

In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts three claims: (1) use of excessive force; (2) deliberate indifference to medical needs; and, (3) violation of due process. [ECF No. 39, ¶¶ 41-50]. Plaintiff alleges that his constitutional rights to due process were violated because the charges were improperly based upon a false affidavit of probable cause drafted by Defendant Grillo.[1] Plaintiff alleges that each of the remaining Defendants were parties to the creation of the false affidavit.

Plaintiff currently is incarcerated on unrelated federal and state charges. However, he asserts that the charges against him arising out of the arrest at issue here resulted in a detainer which prevented his parole. This detainer was not lifted until April 26, 2013, approximately fourteen months after the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County granted the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Motion for Nolle Prosse.[2]

Defendant Weber has filed a Motion to Dismiss, [ECF No. 42], contending that the claims asserted against him in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint are unsustainable as a matter of law.

B. STANDARD OF REVIEW

When deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court must read the complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all well-pleaded, material allegations in the complaint must be taken as true. See Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman , 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994). The court is bound to give the plaintiff the benefit of every reasonable inference to be drawn from the "well-pleaded" allegations of the complaint. The United States Supreme Court has recognized that "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In Twombly, the Supreme Court held that it would not require a "heightened fact pleading of specifics, " but only "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570.

The United States Supreme Court revisited the requirements for surviving a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662 (2009). In Iqbal, the Supreme Court made clear that "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements [are] not suffic[ient]" to defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. at 678. Only "a ...


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