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Rosembert v. Borough of East Lansdowne

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 9, 2014

STEVEN ROSEMBERT, Plaintiff,
v.
BOROUGH OF EAST LANSDOWNE, et al., Defendants

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For STEVEN ROSEMBERT, Plaintiff: GEOFFREY V. SEAY, LEAD ATTORNEY, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For BOROUGH OF EAST LANSDOWNE, JESSE HARTNETT, PAUL MCGRENERA, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, Defendants: SUZANNE MCDONOUGH, HOLSTEN & ASSOCIATES, MEDIA, PA.

For TINA SELIMIS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, OFFICER ALBERTOLI, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, BOROUGH OF LANSDOWNE, Defendants: MICHAEL P. LAFFEY, HOLSTEN & ASSOCIATES, MEDIA, PA.

For SHAWN BURNS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, BOROUGH OF YEADON, Defendants: ROBERT P. DIDOMENICIS, HOLSTEN & ASSOCIATES, MEDIA, PA.

OPINION

Page 637

Mitchell S. Goldberg, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This case involves the alleged illegal search, arrest and incarceration of Plaintiff, Steven Rosembert. Plaintiff alleges that numerous police officers unlawfully entered his home to perform an arrest, unnecessarily used a Taser gun, and maliciously prosecuted him because he is an African-American. Plaintiff has also brought claims against the municipalities employing these officers pursuant to Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). Defendants have filed four motions to dismiss, as well as a motion to strike. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[1]

Plaintiff alleges that on the night of May 24, 2011, he was driving a motorcycle in the Borough of East Lansdowne. (Am. Compl. ¶ 23.) He acknowledges that at some point while operating his motorcycle, Defendant police officers McGrenera, Hartnett, Selimis, Albertoli, Burns and " Does 1-5" (collectively, " Defendant Officers" ) observed him violate the motor vehicle code. (Id. at ¶ 25.) These officers attempted to pull over Plaintiff, and when Plaintiff did not comply, a chase resulted. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 23-24.) In the course of fleeing from the police, Plaintiff ran into his home, which the Officers entered without a warrant. (Id. at ¶ 27.)

Plaintiff alleges that, once inside his home, the Defendant Officers used excessive force to apprehend him, despite the fact that he did not offer any resistance. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 30-31.) Plaintiff claims that all Defendant Officers repeatedly struck him on his face and upper body, that Officers Burns and McGrenera excessively used Taser guns on him, and that Officer McGrenera " pistol whipped" him in the face with a Taser. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 33-36.) Plaintiff asserts that he suffered serious bodily injury and long-term pain and suffering from the attack. (Id.)

Plaintiff claims that Officer McGrenera then unlawfully arrested him and wrongfully charged him with numerous crimes related to this incident. (Id. at ¶ 37.)

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Plaintiff ultimately negotiated a plea agreement, wherein he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and fleeing or attempting to elude police, and, in return, the other twenty-eight charges against him were dismissed.[2] (Defs. McGrenera & Hartnett's Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. No. 29, Exs. B-D.)[3]

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, Borough of Lansdowne, Borough of East Lansdowne and Borough of Yeadon (collectively, " Defendant Boroughs" ) have an agreement that their police officers may assist officers from neighboring boroughs in their respective police functions.[4] (Am. Compl. ¶ 20.) According to Plaintiff, these Boroughs were on notice that the Defendant Officers have a history of violating African-American citizens' constitutional rights, but have chosen to ignore these unconstitutional actions, and have failed to implement training or discipline to correct the issue. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 21-22.) Plaintiff alleges he has witnessed violent beatings of African-Americans by police officers employed by these Boroughs, and that the Defendant Boroughs have an unlawful custom, policy and practice of maliciously arresting African-American citizens. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 54-55.) Plaintiff asserts that his injuries are a direct result of these policies and/or customs. (Id. at ¶ 63.)

On June 10, 2013, Plaintiff brought suit against the Defendant Officers in both their individual and official capacities,[5] as well as the Defendant Boroughs, for violations of his ...


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