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Anderson v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 12, 2015

RAHEEM ANDERSON,
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, et al..

MEMORANDUM

MARK A. KEARNEY, District Judge.

Plaintiffs seeking to impose civil rights Section 1983 liability upon a municipality based upon its police officers' alleged false arrest and lack of probable cause must first specifically plead a municipal policy or custom relating to these constitutional claims. Absent the pleading of a policy or custom having a nexus to plaintiff's alleged constitutional claim, the Court cannot rely on broad conclusory allegations of "policies" or "customs" unrelated to the claim. After two attempts, Plaintiff Raheem Anderson does not plead a plausible policy or custom. He instead relies upon inapposite "stop and frisk" allegations and newspaper reports of aggregate settlement payments in all types of unknown cases. Even with our owed deference to the Amended Complaint, we are unable to discern a threshold policy or custom relating to his claims or any facts supporting a plausible claim for "failure to" supervise or train officers which may allow § 1983 supervisory liability. We dismiss his Monelll [1] claim (Count II) in the accompanying Order.

I. ALLEGED FACTS

On February 25, 2014, Philadelphia police detective Paul Perez ("Detective Perez"), arrested Plaintiff Raheem Anderson ("Anderson") based on a June 21, 2013 affidavit of probable cause alleging robbery and conspiracy.[2] (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 8, 10.)

On June 14, 2013, Anderson and a man known as "Mook" approached Arthur Barnes ("Barnes"). ( Id ) Mook demanded money for a bike he sold Barnes. ( Id. ) Alongside Mook, Anderson stated, "give it up, give it up, give it up." ( Id. ) When Barnes stated he did not have any money, Mook punched him, took the bike, and chased him around the corner. ( Id. ) Mook struck Barnes with the bike and stole two cell phones and $100-$140 from Barnes. ( Id. ) Barnes then ran into a "Chinese store" to call police. ( Id. ) Mook and Anderson followed Barnes into the store where Mook again assaulted Barnes. ( Id. )

After police are involved, Barnes identified Anderson as Mook's associate in a photo array arranged by Detective Perez. ( Id. ) After Barnes identified Anderson, Detective Perez went to the "Chinese store" where he could not locate witnesses and the store told him its video surveillance did not record the incident. ( Id. )

On February 26, 2014, the Commonwealth charged Anderson with robbery of Barnes and conspiracy to rob Barnes, and a state court set bail at $50, 000. Anderson could not post bail. The Commonwealth incarcerated him. ( Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) The state court twice rescheduled his hearing because Barnes failed to appear in court. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 16-17.) On June 18, 2014, after Barnes failed to appear a third time, the Commonwealth withdrew prosecution. ( Id. ¶ 19.) For unknown reasons, a week later on June 26, 2014, the Commonwealth re-filed the complaint. The state court held a preliminary hearing on July 30, 2014. ( Id. ¶¶ 20, 22.) Following Barnes' testimony, the state court dismissed the case against Anderson for lack of evidence. ( Id. ¶ 22.)

Anderson sued alleging Detective Perez violated his Fourth Amendment rights (Count I) for which the City is liable as his employer (Count H); Detective Perez violated his rights under Article I, Section 8 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the City is liable as his employer under common law (Counts III, V); Detective Perez is liable for state law malicious prosecution and the City is liable as his employer under common law (Counts IV, V), and Detective Perez is liable for Pennsylvania torts of false arrest, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy (false light) and intentional infliction of emotional distress and the City is liable as his employer (Count V, VI). The City presently seeks only to dismiss the municipal liability claim under § 1983, i.e., Monell claim.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure examines the sufficiency of the complaint. See Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). A plaintiff is obligated to plead "a short and plain statement of the claim." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint need not contain "detailed factual allegations" but must set forth "sufficient factual matter to show that the claim is facially plausible, ' thus enabling the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for misconduct alleged.' Warren Gen. Hosp. v. Amgen, 643 F.3d 77, 84 (quoting Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 587 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009).

We must "accept all the factual allegations as true [and] construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Warren Gen. Hosp., 643 F.3d at 84 (citing Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)). We may "consider only the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these documents." Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)).

The Third Circuit requires a three-part analysis when we evaluate a 12(b)(6) motion:

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." 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."

Santiago v. Warminster Township, 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir.2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 679) (alteration in original). A plaintiff is obligated to plead "a short and plain statement of the claim." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, any "pleading offering only labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" Fowler, 587 F.3d at 210 (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929). A complaint that does nó more than allege a plaintiffs entitlement to relief is insufficient; it must ...


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