United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
THOMAS W. DAVIES, NOW DECEASED, BY AND THROUGH HIS WIFE, MAJORIE A. DAVIES, ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS ESTATE, Plaintiff,
LACKAWANNA COUNTY, et al., Defendants.
D. MARIANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a civil rights action brought by Majorie
Davies, on behalf of her now deceased husband, Thomas Davies
("Mr. Davies"). The Fourth Amended Complaint, (Doc,
30), alleges various violations of Mr. Davies constitutional
rights stemming from his encounter with a Lackawanna Sheriffs
Sergeant, as well as statutory and constitutional violations
stemming from Mr. Davies's employment with and
termination from the Lackawanna County Sheriff's
Department. The three named defendants, Lackawanna County,
Lackawanna County Sheriff Mark McAndrew, and Lackawanna
County Sheriffs Sergeant John Acculto (collectively
"Defendants"), have moved to dismiss part of the
Fourth Amended Complaint. (Doc. 32). The Motion has been
fully briefed and is ripe for decision. For the reasons that
follow, the Court will deny Defendants' Partial Motion to
Factual Allegations and Procedural History
Fourth Amended Complaint alleges the following
County Sheriffs Sergeant John Acculto is a supervisor for the
Lackawanna County Sheriffs Department. (Doc. 30 at ¶ 3).
Mr. Davies was employed by the Lackawanna County Sheriffs
Department. (Id. at ¶¶ 46-47). On May 15,
2015, Defendant Acculto traveled to Wyoming County where he
encountered Mr. Davies. (Id. at ¶¶ 10,
13). During that encounter, Defendant Acculto took Mr.
Davies's firearm and made Mr. Davies's "strip
out of his uniform while in front of his home and in view of
his neighbors." (Id.). Defendant Acculto did
not have a warrant to search Mr. Davies or to seize his
property. (Id. at ¶10).
18, 2015, Mr. Davies was informed that a meeting would be
held on May 22, 2015, to discuss his attendance.
(Id. at ¶ 49). Before the meeting was held, Mr.
Davies hired an attorney and requested workplace
accommodations due to his diabetes. (Id.
at¶¶ 39, 50). A half an hour before the meeting was
held, Defendant McAndrew changed the scope of the meeting to
include dishonesty. (Id. at ¶ 50). At the
meeting, Mr. Davies was unable to ask the witnesses any
questions. (Id. at ¶ 51). Further, other
evidence was presented after the meeting which Mr. Davies was
never afforded an opportunity in which to respond.
[Id. at 53). On May 27, 2017, Mr. Davies was
terminated for the stated reason of "dishonesty."
(Id. at ¶46).
16, 2015, Mr. Davies led a Complaint with this
Court. (Doc. 1). After amending the Complaint
several times, Mr. Davies filed a Fourth Amended Complaint on
April 12, 2016. (Doc. 30). The Fourth Amended Complaint
alleges five claims, three of which are relevant here: Count
I, a Section 1983 action against Defendants Acculto and
Lackawanna County for unlawful search and seizure; Count II,
a Section 1983 action against Defendants Acculto and
Lackawanna County for violation of Mr. Davies's right to
privacy; and Count V, a Section 1983 action against
Defendants McAndrew and Lackawanna County for a due process
violation relating to Mr. Davies's termination.
Defendants then filed their Partial Motion to Dismiss on
April 25, 2016, (Doc. 32), seeking dismissal of Counts I, II,
Standard of Review
complaint must be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Bell Atl. Corp, v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007).
"A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).
a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of
action's elements will not do." Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555 (internal citations and alterations omitted).
In other words, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level."
Id. A court "take[s] as true all the factual
allegations in the Complaint and the reasonable inferences
that can be drawn from those facts, but... disregard[s] legal
conclusions and threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements." Ethypharm S.A. France v. Abbott
Laboratories, 707 F.3d 223, 231 n.14 (3d Cir. 2013)
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
Twombly and Iqbal require [a court] to take
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
Connelly v. Steel Valley Sen. Dist, 706 F.3d 209,
212 (3d Cir. 2013).
the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more
than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has
alleged-but it has not show[n]-that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct.
at 1950 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
This "plausibility" determination will be a
"context-specific task that requires the ...