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Kiriakidis v. Borough of Vintondale

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 6, 2014

ZOLINDA KIRIAKIDIS and JULIAN BABITZ, Plaintiffs,
v.
BOROUGH OF VINTONDALE and ERIC YACKULICH, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

KIM R. GIBSON, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This civil rights matter returns to the Court on Plaintiffs' first amended complaint after the Court dismissed the original complaint without prejudice. Defendants again move for dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 32). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

II. Jurisdiction and venue

The Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1391(b)(2).

III. Background

The Court set forth the factual allegations in this case in its September 26, 2013 decision, Kiriakdis v. Borough of Vintondale Police Dep't, CIV.A. 3:12-188, 2013 WL 5414110 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 26, 2013) (ECF No. 27). For purposes of this decision, some facts deserve reiteration and emphasis.

Plaintiffs Zolinda Kiriakidis and Julian Babitz filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit on August 29, 2012, alleging claims of excessive force, malicious prosecution, and municipal liability. (ECF No. 1). The Court dismissed the action in its entirety for failure to state a claim. Specifically, the Court found that (1) the excessive force claim was time barred; (2) Babitz failed to state a malicious prosecution claim because he did not sufficiently allege that any criminal proceeding ended in his favor; and (3) Plaintiffs failed to sue a proper governmental entity for purposes of § 1983 municipal liability.

Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against Defendants on October 16, 2013. The factual allegations in the amended complaint are consistent with those in the original complaint, with the exception that Defendant Eric Yackulich ("Officer Yackulich") did not allegedly pull Plaintiff Kiriakidis from her vehicle. The amended complaint now states that, on August 28, 2010, Officer Yackulich "drove up to where Plaintiff Kiriakidis had been stopped, approached her, [and] violently threw her to the ground." (Am. Compl. ¶ 8). This encounter allegedly caused Kiriakidis to suffer "severe injuries, " though Kiriakidis does not elaborate on these injuries in the amended complaint. ( Id. ).

On the morning of August 29, 2010, at about 1:00 a.m., Officer Yackulich transported Kiriakidis to the police barracks where she allegedly underwent "extreme indignities and humiliation." ( Id. ¶ 11). According to Kiriakidis, Officer Yackulich kept her handcuffed and falsely accused her of physically attacking him. ( Id. ¶ 9). Kiriakidis was then charged with several criminal offenses. ( Id. ). These allegations form the basis of Kiriakidis's claims of excessive force, malicious prosecution, and municipal liability found in Counts I and II of the amended complaint.

In Count III of the amended complaint, Plaintiff Babitz also brings a malicious prosecution claim. Babitz avers that he saw Officer Yackulich commit the "physically violent acts" against Kiriakidis. (Am. Compl. ¶ 20). Officer Yackulich apparently yelled obscenities at Babitz and later charged him with several criminal offenses. ( Id. ¶ 22). At a non-jury trial, a judge purportedly reduced these charges to "one minor summary offense" of disorderly conduct, for which Babitz paid a $100 fine. ( Id. ¶ 23).

Defendants now move to dismiss the amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.

IV. Standard of review

In determining the sufficiency of a complaint on a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge, the court must conduct a two-part analysis. First, the court must separate the factual allegations from the legal conclusions asserted. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). Second, the court must decide whether the factual allegations are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 211 (quotation omitted). The complaint need not include detailed factual allegations. Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008). As well, the court must accept as true the factual allegations and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Id. at 233. Nevertheless, "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action" do not suffice. ...


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