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Simmons v. Fitzgerald

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 30, 2015

WILLIAM T. SIMMONS, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD FITZGERALD, in his individual and official capacity as Allegheny County Executive and WILLIAM McKAIN, in his individual and official capacity as Allegheny County Manager, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM ORDER OF COURT RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 7)

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This case centers on alleged violations of William T. Simmons' ("Plaintiff's") constitutional rights while he was employed as the Director of the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center ("Shuman Center"). Doc. Nos. 2 and 3. Pro se Plaintiff initiated this lawsuit on December 19, 2014, by filing a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis and an accompanying five page Complaint. Doc. No. 1. On December 23, 2014, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis and ordered Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint because the specific nature of his claims were unclear. 12/23/2014 Text Order. A four-page Amended Complaint was docketed by the Clerk's Office on January 9, 2015. Doc. No. 3.

Presently before this Court is a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim filed by Defendant Richard Fitzgerald ("Fitzgerald") and Defendant William McKain ("McKain"). Doc. No. 7. Plaintiff wholly opposes Defendants' Motion. Doc. Nos. 12 and 13.

For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 7) will be DENIED.

II. Standard of Review

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, 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 take 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. Finally, where 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.

Connelly v. Steel Valley Sch. Dist., 706 F.3d 209, 212 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

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." Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013). "While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a Complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664.

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 v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 212 (3d Cir. 2009).

In short, a Motion to Dismiss should not be granted if a party alleges facts, which could, if established at trial, entitle him/her to ...


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