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Williams v. Baker
United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
April 12, 2017
DAVID WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
OFFICER ERIC BAKER, OFFICER BRENDAN NEE, OFFICER NATHAN AUVIL, and STEPHEN MATAKOVICH, Defendants.
MEMORANUM ORDER OF COURT
J. Schwab United States District Judge
NOW, this 12th day of April, 2017, the Court will
grant in part and deny in part Defendant Matakovich's
Supplemental Objections to the Court's Final Jury
Instructions. Doc. no. 246. Plaintiff filed a Response
in Opposition to Defendant's Supplemental Objections.
Doc. no. 250. This matter is now ripe for adjudication.
the Court previously deferred ruling on an objection made on
behalf of Defendant Matakovich and all other Defendants when
he was represented by Attorney Krepps. The Court's prior
Order (doc. no. 215) reads in relevant part:
. . . [T]he Court will DEFER RULING Defendants' singular
Objection to the Court's Proposed Final Jury Instructions
(doc. no. 210) with respect to Plaintiff's malicious
The Parties agree that all of the criminal charges Defendants
filed against Plaintiff were withdrawn; however, the Exhibit
List does not reference an exhibit indicating same.
The Court's Proposed Final Jury Instructions currently
list the five elements necessary for Plaintiff to prove his
malicious prosecution claim. The third element in the
Proposed Jury Instruction reads, “[t]he criminal
proceeding ended in the Plaintiff's favor.” Doc.
no. 202, p. 16. The Court's Proposed Final Jury
Instructions also instructs that jury, “that the
criminal proceeding ended in the Plaintiff's favor[,
]” thus, removing the third element from the jury's
consideration. Id. at p. 17.
Defendants' Objection contends that merely withdrawing
charges does not equate to a Court instruction directing the
jury to find that the criminal proceeding ended in the
Plaintiff's favor. Defendants further argue that this
Court cannot instruct the jury as a matter of law on this
point because they have “evidence” to support
their belief that the criminal proceeding ended either
because of a “compromise” or “mercy.”
This Court recognizes the United Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit has concluded that “while a grant of
nolle prosequi can be sufficient to satisfy the
favorable termination requirement for malicious prosecution,
not all cases where the prosecutor abandons criminal charges
are considered to have terminated favorably.”
DiFronzo v. Chiovero, 406 F. App'x 605, 609 (3d
Cir. 2011). More specifically the Court of Appeals has held
that, “. . . a malicious prosecution claim cannot be
predicated on an underlying criminal proceeding which
terminated in a manner not indicative of the innocence of the
accused.” Kossler v. Crisanti, 564 F.3d 181,
187 (3d Cir. 2009). As the Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit in Kossler further explained:
A plaintiff may attempt to indicate his innocence by
demonstrating that his prior criminal proceeding terminated
in one of the following ways:
(a) a discharge by a magistrate at a preliminary hearing, or
(b) the refusal of a grand jury to indict, or
(c) the formal abandonment of the proceedings by the public
(d) the quashing of an indictment or ...
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