United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RYAN A. HEILIMANN, Plaintiff
STATE TROOPER THOMAS O'BRIEN, Individually and as a State Trooper for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; STATE TROOPER PETER P. NEMSHICK, Individually and as a State Trooper for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; CORY MOODY; AGENT CHRISTOPHER CARDONI, Individually and as an employee of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board; MOUNT AIRY, NO. 1, LLC d/b/a MT. AIRY CASINO; JOHN DOE CASINO DEFENDANTS #1-25, Individually and as employees of Mt. Airy Casino; and JANE DOE CASINO DEFENDANTS #1-25, Individually and as employees of Mt. Airy Casino, Defendants
M. MUNLEY JUDGE United States District Court
Ryan A. Heilimann (hereinafter “plaintiff”) avers
that two Pennsylvania state troopers, a Pennsylvania Gaming
Control Board (hereinafter “GCB”) agent, and
casino security violated Pennsylvania state law and his civil
rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (hereinafter
“section 1983”) for events related to his
detainment and arrest inside Mount Airy Casino. Before the
court for disposition is Defendants State Trooper Thomas
O'Brien, State Trooper Peter P. Nemshick, and GCB Agent
Christopher Cardoni's (collectively “the
Commonwealth defendants”) motion for partial summary
judgment on plaintiff's section 1983 malicious
prosecution claim. (Doc. 43). For the reasons that follow, we
will grant the motion.
August 25, 2012, plaintiff visited Gypsies nightclub inside
Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. (Defs.'
Statement of Material Facts (hereinafter “SOF”)
¶¶ 1-2). While dancing with a woman, plaintiff was
escorted off the dance floor by Defendant State Troopers
O'Brien and Nemshick along with casino employees. (SOF
¶ 2). After a casino employee physically led plaintiff
from the dance floor, State Trooper O'Brien pushed
plaintiff against a rack of chairs in the hallway. (SOF
¶ 3). A verbal exchange ensued, and troopers then
arrested and escorted plaintiff to the Pennsylvania State
Police office located inside the casino. (SOF ¶ 4).
to plaintiff's arrest, Defendant GCB Agent Cardoni
arrived at the State Police office. (SOF ¶ 5). Inside
the office, State Trooper O'Brien threw plaintiff, who
was handcuffed and had one leg shackled to a bench, to the
ground, and broke plaintiff's ankle. (SOF ¶ 6;
Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6). State Troopers O'Brien and
Nemshick eventually took plaintiff to Pocono Medical Center,
and then to the Monroe County Correctional Facility. (SOF
result of the night's events, the Commonwealth charged
plaintiff with aggravated assault under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat.
Ann. § 2702(a)(3), resisting arrest under 18 Pa. Cons.
Stat. Ann. § 5104, disorderly conduct under 18 Pa. Cons.
Stat. Ann. § 5503(a)(1), harassment under 18 Pa. Cons.
Stat. Ann. § 2709(a)(1), and public drunkenness under 18
Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5505. (SOF ¶ 9; Pl.'s
SOF ¶ 9). A jury found plaintiff not guilty of
aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, and a Monroe
County Court of Common Pleas judge dismissed plaintiff's
resisting arrest charge on a motion for judgment of
acquittal. (SOF ¶ 11; Pl.'s SOF ¶ 11). The
judge, however, found plaintiff guilty of harassment and
public drunkenness. (SOF ¶ 11).
1, 2014, plaintiff filed a thirteen-count complaint against
the Commonwealth defendants as well as Mount Airy Casino and
casino security officer Cory Moody (collectively “the
casino defendants”). The sole count relevant to the
instant motion, Count XI, asserts a section 1983 malicious
prosecution claim against the Commonwealth
defendants.(Doc. 1, Compl.).
March 7, 2016, the Commonwealth defendants moved for partial
summary judgment on plaintiff's section 1983 malicious
prosecution claim. (Doc. 43). The parties have briefed their
respective positions and the matter is ripe for disposition.
case is brought pursuant to section 1983 for a violation of
plaintiff's constitutional rights, we have jurisdiction
under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The district courts shall
have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under
the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United
States.”). We have supplemental jurisdiction over
plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Knabe v.
Boury, 114 F.3d 407, 410 n.4 (3d Cir. 1997) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). “[T]his standard provides that the
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is
that there be no genuine issue of material
fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must
examine the facts in the light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion. Int'l Raw Materials, Ltd. v.
Stauffer Chem. Co., 898 F.2d 946, 949 (3d Cir. 1990).
The burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could not return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 248. A fact is material when it might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law. Id. Where the
nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the
party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by
establishing that the evidentiary materials of record, if
reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to
carry the nonmovant's burden of proof at trial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the burden shifts
to the nonmoving party, who must go beyond its pleadings, and
designate specific facts by the use of affidavits,
depositions, admissions, or answers to interrogatories
demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Id. at 324.
Commonwealth defendants move for partial summary judgment on
Count XI, plaintiff's section 1983 malicious prosecution
claim. Plaintiff does not oppose the motion with respect to
GCB Agent Cardoni (Doc. 54, Pl.'s Br. in Opp'n at 4,
n.1), and therefore, we will grant as unopposed the motion
with respect to Defendant Cardoni. For the following reasons,
we will also grant the motion with respect to Defendants
O'Brien and Nemshick.
Malicious Prosecution under Section 1983
XI asserts a section 1983 malicious prosecution claim against
Defendants O'Brien and Nemshick. Section 1983 does not,
by its own terms, create substantive rights; rather, it
provides remedies for deprivations of rights established
elsewhere in the Constitution or federal law. Kneipp v.
Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199, 1204 (3d Cir. 1996). Section 1983
states, in pertinent part,
Every person who, under the color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizens of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity or other proper proceeding for redress
. . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Thus, to establish a claim under
section 1983, two criteria must be met. First, the conduct
complained of must have been committed by a person acting
under color of state law. Kaucher v. Cty. ofBucks, 455 F.3d 418 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Am.
Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 49-50
(1999)). Second, the conduct must deprive the plaintiff of