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Mazzucca v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 22, 2016

Jacquelyn Mazzucca, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Police Officer Michael Blatchford, John Doe, and Jane Doe, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS

          Baylson, J.

         I. Introduction

         This case relates to the alleged actions of a Philadelphia Police Officer against Plaintiff. Specifically, Plaintiff asserts the following claims:

• Count 1: Claims for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Philadelphia and Officer Michael Blatchford based on excessive use of force.
• Count 2: State law claims for Assault and Battery against Officer Michael Blatchford.
• Count 3: Claims for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Philadelphia and Officer Michael Blatchford based on False Imprisonment and Malicious Prosecution.
• Count 4: State law claims for False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution against Officer Michael Blatchford.
• Count 5: State law claims for False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution against an unnamed married couple - John and Jane Doe.
• Count 6: Monell claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant City of Philadelphia.

         The City of Philadelphia moves to dismiss all claims against it under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Officer Michael Blatchford concedes that Plaintiff has adequately stated a § 1983 claim for excessive use of force (Count 1) and a state law claim for assault (Count 2), but moves to dismiss Counts 3 and 4. For the reasons outlined below, the motion as to the City of Philadelphia is GRANTED; the motion as to Officer Blatchford is DENIED.

         II. Factual Background

         Plaintiff's allegations stem from a September 6, 2014 incident which resulted in Plaintiff's arrest. Am. Compl. ¶ 7. Taking Plaintiff's allegations as true, as is required at this stage, the factual background is as follows. Plaintiff got into an argument with “Jane and John Doe” regarding a debt they owed her, it escalated, and she sprayed mace in their direction. Id. at ¶ 8-9. The wind then blew the mace in the direction of the couple's toddler, who was in a stroller twenty feet away. Id. at ¶ 10. Defendant Officer Michael Blatchford was flagged down as he was driving by. Id. at ¶ 11. When Officer Blatchford stopped to investigate, Jane Doe accused Plaintiff of spraying mace at her child. Id. at ¶ 12. Two other witnesses told Officer Blatchford that Plaintiff did not spray mace at Jane Doe's child. Id. at ¶ 13.

         Plaintiff alleges that after arriving on the scene and hearing the accusation of Jane Doe, Officer Blatchford grabbed Plaintiff, threw her against a parked car, accused her of spraying mace at the child, called her a “crackhead, ” and arrested her. Id. at ¶ 15. According to Plaintiff, Officer Blatchford then threw her in the back of a police wagon, did not secure her, and drove in a rough manner to the police station. Id. at ¶ 16-18. Plaintiff alleges that she sustained various injuries as a result. Id. at ¶ 19. Plaintiff further alleges that the City of Philadelphia had a practice of failing to discipline officers who violated the acceptable use of force policy that was in place. Id. at ¶ 14.

         III. ...


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