United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
E. Jones III
Brandon Reilly brings the above-captioned action pursuant to
allegations of a deprivation of Fourteenth Amendment rights
by Defendants, Lebanon County and its Sheriff Bruce Klingler.
Presently pending before the Court is the Defendants'
motion to dismiss (the “Motion”) (Doc. 17),
seeking to dismiss both counts of Plaintiff's amended
complaint. (Doc. 9). The Motion has been fully briefed (Docs.
18, 32, 34) and is therefore ripe for our review. For the
reasons that follow, the Motion shall be granted.
accordance with the standard of review applicable to a motion
to dismiss, the following facts are derived from
Plaintiff's amended complaint and viewed in the light
most favorable to him.
3, 2014 around 2:30a.m., Plaintiff Brandon Reilly was sitting
outside the Reamstown Athletic Association building in
Reamstown, Pennsylvania. (Doc. 9, ¶ 6) (see
also Doc. 17, att. 1). East Cocalico Township Police
Officers arrived at the building after receiving reports of
disorderly conduct from within. (Doc. 9, ¶ 7). Plaintiff
was not inside the building when the alleged disorderly
conduct took place. (Id., at ¶ 8). The officers
approached Plaintiff and asked him what he was doing.
(Id., at ¶ 9). Plaintiff told the officers that
he was waiting for a friend to pick him up. (Id., at
¶ 10). Without conducting any meaningful investigation,
the officers demanded Plaintiff to get in the police car and
took him to the police station. (Id., at
¶¶ 11-12). There was no investigation conducted at
the police station and Plaintiff was picked up by a friend.
(Id., at ¶ 12).
week later, Plaintiff received a citation for public
drunkenness in the mail. (Id., at ¶ 14). He
attended a hearing and paid a fine for public drunkenness.
(Id., at ¶ 15). During the hearing, a police
officer admitted to making false statements in the citation
and that his only basis for the citation was that the
Plaintiff repeated himself. (Id.).
months later, around November 2014, Plaintiff was informed by
his employer that the Lebanon County Sherriff was revoking his
concealed carry license due to the public drunkenness
citation. (Id., at ¶ 16). Plaintiff called the
Sheriff and asked why his permit was being revoked and was
told that the East Cocalico Township Police had directed him
to do so. (Id., at ¶ 17). Plaintiff asked the
Sheriff if there was a way to challenge the revocation, and
he said no. (Id., at ¶ 18). Plaintiff was never
contacted in writing that his concealed carry permit was
being revoked. (Id., at ¶ 20). The Lebanon
County Sheriff did not conduct a meaningful background check
before revoking the Plaintiff's concealed carry permit.
(Id.). It was a custom and practice of the Lebanon
County Sheriff's office to revoke concealed gun carry
permits without conducting meaningful investigation.
(Id., at ¶ 22). As a result of the revocation,
the Plaintiff suffered financial loss, the loss of his
permit, and severe emotional distress. (Id., at
filed an amended complaint on June 14, 2016 bringing two
counts against the Defendants. (Doc. 9). In Count I,
Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants violated his
substantive and procedural due process rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment. (Id., at ¶¶ 23-27).
Count II is labeled only as “Monell”,
though the Court recognizes this as a reference to Monell
v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978),
and alleges that it was the custom and policy of the
Defendants that deprived the Plaintiff of his rights.
(Id., at ¶¶ 28-30). While Plaintiff's
claim does not delineate his Counts as such, the Court
assumes that Count I is against Defendant Bruce Klingler and
Count II is against Lebanon County, both for claims of
deprivation of procedural and substantive due process.
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on July 22, 2016 (Doc.
17) and a brief in support on August 1, 2016. (Doc. 18).
After several extensions, Plaintiff filed a brief in
opposition on October 10, 2016. (Doc. 32). Defendants filed a
reply on October 14, 2016. (Doc. 34). Plaintiff filed a
motion for leave to file a sur-reply on November 1, 2016, but
provided the Court with no argument or brief in support of
that motion. (Doc. 35). We denied Plaintiff's motion to
file a sur-reply by Order dated December 1, 2016. (Doc. 38).
For the reasons that follow, we shall grant the
Defendants' motion to dismiss.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6),
courts “accept all factual allegations as true,
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable
reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to
relief.” Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Pinker v. Roche
Holdings, Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002)).
In resolving a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a
court generally should consider only the allegations in the
complaint, as well as “documents that are attached to
or submitted with the complaint, . . . and any matters
incorporated by reference or integral to the claim, items
subject to judicial notice, matters of public record, orders,
[and] items appearing in the record of the case.”
Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260
(3d Cir. 2006).
12(b)(6) motion tests the sufficiency of the complaint
against the pleading requirement of Rule 8(a). Rule 8(a)(2)
requires that a complaint contain 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 upon which it rests.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a
complaint attacked by Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss need
not contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). To survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff
must allege facts that “raise a right to relief above
the speculative level….” Victaulic Co. v.
Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 235 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Accordingly, to satisfy
the plausibility standard, the complaint must indicate that
defendant's liability is more than “a sheer
possibility.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely
consistent with' a defendant's liability, it
‘stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
the two-pronged approach articulated in Twombly and
later formalized in Iqbal, a district court must
first identify all factual allegations that constitute
nothing more than “legal conclusions” or
“naked assertions.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555, 557. Such allegations are “not entitled to the
assumption of truth” and must be disregarded for
purposes of resolving a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Next, the district court
must identify “the ‘nub' of the …
complaint - the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual
allegation[s].” Id. Taking these allegations
as true, the district judge must then determine whether the
complaint states a plausible claim for relief. See
“a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it
appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or
will ultimately prevail on the merits.”
Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556-57). Rule 8 “does not impose a
probability requirement at the pleading stage, but instead
simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the
necessary element.” Id. at 234.