United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
CYNTHIA REED EDDY, United States Magistrate Judge.
before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss
Plaintiffs' Complaint [ECF No. 13]. For the reasons that
follow, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied
Tanisha Cook and Jamarr Harrison filed the instant civil
rights case against Defendants West Homestead Police
Department (“WHPD”), Borough of West Homestead
(“Borough”), Officer Paul Fleming, Officer James
Ciocco and John Does 1-10 related to a high speed chase in
which Plaintiffs were injured.
October 4, 2015, Officer Fleming spotted Jesse Warren's
(a non-party to this action) vehicle and suspected that the
vehicle that Warren was driving matched the description of a
vehicle that had been reported stolen. Officer Fleming
followed Warren in his marked police vehicle until it stopped
on West 8th Avenue in West Homestead, the driver seemingly
intending to park the vehicle on the street. Without waiting
for backup, and not knowing the identity of the driver,
Officer Fleming activated his flashing lights, got out of his
cruiser and approached the vehicle with his weapon drawn. As
Officer Fleming approached the vehicle on foot, Warren pulled
away and traveled down 8th Avenue, passing a second police
car driven by Officer Ciocco, who was approaching the site of
the traffic stop from the opposite direction. Officer Ciocco
made a U-turn and commended pursuit of Warren, while Officer
Fleming returned to his car and followed the pursuit. The two
officers employed their sirens and flashing lights, but
Warren accelerated to speeds approximating 70 miles per hour
and the pursuing officers kept pace through the densely
populated commercial and residential Borough neighborhoods.
Warren refused to stop and disregarded traffic control signs
with Officers Fleming and Ciocco pursuing him and eventually
crossed a double-yellow line and entered a one-way underpass
headed in the wrong direction. The police officers followed.
When the pursuit then reached a divided section of state
highway 837, Officer Ciocco attempted to pass Warren, but
Warren blocked the maneuver. Officer Ciocco pulled back
behind Warren's vehicle. The pursuit ended abruptly at
the intersection of state route 837 and Commonwealth Avenue
in the City of Duquesne where Warren veered into opposing
traffic and struck the Plaintiffs' vehicle head-on at a
high rate of speed. The Plaintiffs sustained serious bodily
injuries from the collision.
commenced the instant action on August 24, 2016 against the
WHPD, the Borough, Officer Fleming, Officer Ciocco and
certain John Does alleging the following claims in connection
with the high speed pursuit: (1) a state law negligence claim
against WHPD, the Borough and Officers Fleming and Ciocco
(Count I); (2) a Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process
claim for “injury to bodily integrity” pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against all of the Defendants (Count
II); and (3) a Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process
claim for “injury [caused] as a result of a state
created danger” pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against all of the Defendants (Count III). See
Compl. [ECF No. 1] at p. 15, 16. Plaintiffs seek compensatory
and punitive damages for their injuries. Defendants presently
move to dismiss the constitutional claims levied against
them, but do not move to dismiss the state law claims.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
applicable inquiry under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) is well settled. Under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8, a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule
12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be dismissed for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “To survive a
motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.' ”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A complaint that merely alleges entitlement to
relief, without alleging facts that show entitlement, must be
dismissed. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 211 (3d Cir. 2009). This “‘does not impose a
probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but
instead ‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence
of' the necessary elements.” Phillips v. Cnty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Nevertheless,
the court need not accept as true “unsupported
conclusions and unwarranted inferences, ” Doug
Grant, Inc. v. Great Bay Casino Corp., 232 F.3d 173,
183-84 (3d Cir. 2000), or the plaintiff's “bald
assertions” or “legal conclusions.”
Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906
(3d Cir. 1997).
a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations to
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint must provide more
than labels and conclusions. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. (citing Papasan v. Allain,
478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). “Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level” and “sufficient to state a claim for
relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Facial plausibility exists
“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 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability
requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. . . .
Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely
consistent with” a defendant's liability, it
“stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.'”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556)
(internal citations omitted).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court's role is
limited to determining whether a plaintiff is entitled to
offer evidence in support of his claims. See Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The court does not
consider whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail.
Id. A defendant bears the burden of establishing
that a plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim.
Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d
generally consider the allegations of the complaint, attached
exhibits, and matters of public record in deciding motions to
dismiss. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol.
Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).
Factual allegations within documents described or identified
in the complaint also may be considered if the
plaintiff's claims are based upon those documents.
Id. (citations omitted). In addition, a district
court may consider indisputably authentic documents without
converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment. Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d
Cir. 2004); Lum v. Bank of America, 361 F.3d 217,
222 (3d Cir. 2004) (in resolving a motion to dismiss pursuant
to Rule ...