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Houser v. New Kensington Police Department

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 16, 2015

ALAN TROY HOUSER, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW KENSINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. Doc. no. 3. The [Second] Complaint, filed by pro se Plaintiff, asserts that Defendant violated his constitutional rights during and shortly after Plaintiff's arrest on September 6, 2013. Doc. no. 1-4.

Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. Doc. no. 7. For the reasons set forth herein, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss will be granted.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5)

A plaintiff is required to effectuate service upon all defendants. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4. If the defendant files a Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5) for failure to effectuate service, "In resolving a motion under Rule 12(b)(5), "the party making the service has the burden of demonstrating its validity when an objection to service is made." Reed v. Weeks Marine, Inc., 166 F.Supp.2d 1052, 1054 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (citing Grand Entertainment Group, Ltd. v. Star Media Sales, Inc., 988 F.2d 476, 488-89 (3d Cir.1993)).

B. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

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).

However, to survive a Motion to Dismiss, a Complaint - even a pro se Complaint such as the one present here - "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" ...


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