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Dutrieuille v. Bureau of Corrections

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 20, 2014



LISA PUPO LENIHAN, Chief District Judge.


For the reasons stated herein, it is respectfully recommended that the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 20) be granted and that Plaintiff's Complaint be dismissed without prejudice as to all Defendants except for Defendant Allegheny County Bureau of Corrections, which should be dismissed with prejudice. It is recommended that Plaintiff have thirty (30) days to file an amended complaint in order to state a claim and that his Complaint be dismissed with prejudice if he fails to file an amended complaint within that time.


Plaintiff Antoine Dutrieuille filed this action under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 alleging that officers at the Allegheny County Jail used excessive force and assaulted him while in the intake unit on January 30, 2013. The entirety of Plaintiff's Complaint reads as follows:

Matthew Kohler choked me and punched me three times in my right rib cage and once in the back of my neck. Dave Younkins pushed my right arm in the opposite direction very forcibly. Mark Brody pulled my left arm in the opposite direction very forcibly as Sgt. Robert Bytner directed his unit team to hold me there until I said I understood. I never resisted. I pulled my lips down and up from the outside of my mouth. Opened my mouth wide as possible before and after I was stripped out. Richard Lee forcibly bent my right wrist and thumb while I was already handcuffed.

(ECF No. 3 at pp.2-3.) Following the incident, Plaintiff filed a grievance and requested to speak to the Warden. He also requested the address of the United States Department of Justice. He did not receive a reply to his grievance or his requests and he was later charged with assault. He seeks $3.5 million in compensatory damages as well as the termination and incarceration of all employees involved in the incident.

A. Standard of Review

Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss for Plaintiff's failure to state a clam upon which relief can be granted. In considering a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, Federal Courts require notice pleading, as opposed to the heightened standard of fact pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ' in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds on which it rests.'" Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

Building upon the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions in Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit explained that a District Court must undertake the following three steps to determine the sufficiency of a complaint:

First, the court must "tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim." Second, the court should identify allegations that, "because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Third, "whe[n] there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief." This means that our inquiry is normally broken into three parts: (1) identifying the elements of the claim, (2) reviewing the Complaint to strike conclusory allegations, and then (3) looking at the well-pleaded components of the Complaint and evaluating whether all of the elements identified in part one of the inquiry are sufficiently alleged.

Malleus v. George , 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 675, 679).

The third step of the sequential evaluation requires this Court to consider the specific nature of the claims presented and to determine whether the facts pled to substantiate the claims are sufficient to show a "plausible claim for relief." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a Complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Id. at 210-11; see also Malleus , 641 F.3d at 560.

This Court may not dismiss a Complaint merely because it appears unlikely or improbable that Plaintiff can prove the facts alleged or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Twombly , 550 U.S. at 563 n.8. Instead, this Court must ask whether the facts alleged raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements. Id. at 556. Generally speaking, a Complaint that provides adequate facts to establish "how, when, and where" will survive a Motion to Dismiss. Fowler , 578 F.3d at 212; see also Guirguis v. Movers Specialty Servs., Inc. , 346 F.App'x. 774, 776 (3d Cir. 2009). In short, a ...

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