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Talbert v. McFadden

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 18, 2017

CHARLES TALBERT, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER MCFADDEN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          STENGEL, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pro se plaintiff, Charles Talbert, filed this action against the City of Philadelphia in which he claims he was assaulted by two Philadelphia police officers. The City filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs amended complaint. I will grant the motion to dismiss.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On July 28, 2014, the plaintiff was at the corner of 11th and Cambridge Street in Philadelphia. (Doc. No. 36 ¶ 6). This location was one block away from plaintiffs ex-girlfriend's house. (Id ¶ 7). At that time, plaintiffs ex-girlfriend had a restraining order against plaintiff. (Id.).[1]

         While plaintiff was standing at the street corner, Officer Ortiz drove up to plaintiff. (Id.). Plaintiff claims he “waved [Officer Ortiz] down to fully explain to him his purpose for waiting there due to his ex-girlfriend having a restraining order on him who lived only a block away.” (Id.). While plaintiff was talking with Officer Ortiz, another Philadelphia police officer, Officer McFadden, arrived at the scene. (Id. ¶ 8).

         Plaintiff claims Officer McFadden approached him from behind, grabbed his cane, and handcuffed plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 9). Plaintiff also claims Officer McFadden punched him in the jaw and Officer Ortiz joined in and hit him. (Id. ¶¶ 9-10). Plaintiff yelled “police brutality” and people came out from their houses to see what was happening. (Id. ¶ 11).

         An ambulance arrived on the scene and transported plaintiff to Saint Joseph's Hospital where he was admitted and stayed for several days. (Id. ¶ 12). Plaintiff had blood in his colostomy bag. (Id.).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted examines the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). The factual allegations must be sufficient to make the claim for relief more than just speculative. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss, a federal court must construe the complaint liberally, accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id.; see also D.P. Enters. v. Bucks County Cmty. Coll., 725 F.2d 943, 944 (3d Cir.1984).

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a plaintiff to plead in detail all of the facts upon which she bases her claim. Conley, 355 U.S. at 47. Rather, the Rules require a “short and plain statement” of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Id. The “complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 564. Neither “bald assertions” nor “vague and conclusory allegations” are accepted as true. See Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir.1997); Sterling v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transp. Auth., 897 F.Supp. 893 (E.D. Pa. 1995). The claim must contain enough factual matters to suggest the required elements of the claim or to “raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” those elements. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court defined a two-pronged approach to a court's review of a motion to dismiss. “First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678. Thus, while “Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era . . . it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions.” Id. at 678-79.

         A court “may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.” Brown v. Card Service Ctr., 464 F.3d 450, 456 (3d Cir. 2006) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)). Courts construe a plaintiff's allegations liberally when he or she is proceeding pro se. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).

         IV. ...


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