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Bynum v. Trustees of University of Pennsylvania

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

November 18, 2014

BRANDON BYNUM
v.
TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, et al.

MEMORANDUM

STEWART DALZELL, District Judge.

I. Introduction

We consider here the motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) of defendants Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania ("Trustees"), University of Pennsylvania ("University"), and University of Pennsylvania Police Officer Cooper, Badge No. 111 ("Officer Cooper") to dismiss part of plaintiff's Complaint.

Brandon Bynum ("Bynum") brings this action against these defendants, as well as University of Pennsylvania Police Officers John Doe Numbers 1 through 10 ("Officers Doe #1-10"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law.

We have federal question jurisdiction over Bynum's Section 1983 claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. We have supplemental jurisdiction over Bynum's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

Defendants move to dismiss all counts against the University with prejudice, Counts I and II in their entirety, Counts III, IV, and V as to the Trustees only, all official capacity claims against the individual defendants, an allegedly duplicative portion of Count V's false imprisonment claim, and one part of Count VI's state law claim.

II. Standard of Review

A defendant moving to dismiss under Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) bears the burden of proving that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); see also, e.g., Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a facially plausible claim to relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

As the Supreme Court stresses, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action...do not suffice." Id . Courts "are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

In the wake of Twombly and Iqbal, our Court of Appeals laid out a two-part test to apply when considering a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6):

First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated. The District Court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Second, a District Court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief.'

Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted). In deciding a motion to dismiss, we may consider "the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record, " and any "undisputedly authentic document that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the document." Pension Benefits Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).

We recite the facts as they appear in ...


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