United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO STRIKE & MOTION TO
the Court are two pending motions in this Section 1983
action: Defendant Michael McMahon's Motion to Strike
Plaintiff Kathleen Benedict's Third Amended Complaint
(“TAC”) (ECF No. 62), and Defendant Malvern Fire
Company's (“Malvern Fire”) Motion to Dismiss,
or in the alternative, to Strike Plaintiff's Third
Amended Complaint (ECF No. 63). For the reasons explained
below, the Motion to Strike is denied and the Motion to
Dismiss is granted with prejudice.
following facts are taken from Plaintiff's TAC. On
December 10, 2013, Malvern Fire Company dispatched an
ambulance to 5 Birch Road in Malvern, Pennsylvania, in
response to a diabetic-type emergency. TAC ¶ 10. Three
medical responders entered the home and approached Plaintiff
in the kitchen, where it was apparent she was suffering from
hypoglycemia and acting erratically. Id.
¶¶ 11-12. The emergency responders were familiar
with Plaintiff because they had treated her many times prior
to the date of the subject incident. Id. ¶ 13.
Their goal in treating Plaintiff was to restore
Plaintiff's normal blood sugar level by having her ingest
glucose-fortified food and drink. Id. ¶ 14. In
order to accomplish that, they had to surround and physically
restrain her because she was attempting to leave the house.
Id. ¶¶ 15-16. In the process of doing so,
one of the paramedics, Defendant McMahon, grabbed Plaintiff
by the shirt and hit her in the head with his left elbow,
knocking her to the floor. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff
was rushed to Paoli Hospital, where she arrived in an
unresponsive state and was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma
and brain bleed, likely caused by a blow to the head.
Id. ¶¶ 59-60.
later described Plaintiff as an “asshole” and
stated that he had “knock[ed] her for a loop.”
Id. ¶ 27. This behavior was not out of the
ordinary for McMahon; both Malvern Fire and McMahon's
direct supervisor, Richard Constantine, were aware that
McMahon had anger control issues, was known by the nickname
“McAngry, ” and generally was a
“hothead” with violent propensities. Id.
¶¶ 31-32, 64-65. But, despite that knowledge,
neither Mr. Constantine nor any other individual at Malvern
Fire trained McMahon regarding the use of excessive force
while treating patients. Id. ¶ 33. In fact,
McMahon was unaware of two relevant company policies: the
Scene Control Policy, which set forth how the paramedic team
should control a potentially violent patient, and the
Self-Protection Policy, which directed paramedics to refrain
from entering the home of a potentially dangerous patient
until law enforcement could secure the scene. Id.
¶¶ 34-39. As a whole, McMahon never received any
training at all from Malvern Fire or from his supervisors,
including training on how to respond to violent patient
situations and how to use force in restraining patients.
Id. ¶¶ 40-41, 45. The aforementioned lack
of training directly led to McMahon's striking Plaintiff
in the head on the date in question. Id.
alleges that the subject incident was not the first time that
Malvern Fire's medical personnel had been involved in
dangerous interactions with her in her home. Specifically,
Plaintiff avers that such interactions took place “on
numerous occasions in the six (6) months leading up to the
December 10, 2013 incident” and states that these
“repeated interactions with [Plaintiff] prior to
December 10, 2013 involved identical and unsettling behavior
by and between [Plaintiff] and the Malvern Fire Company
emergency personnel.” Id. ¶¶ 82, 86.
December 4, 2015, Plaintiff filed suit against the Borough of
Malvern, McMahon, and Malvern Fire, alleging in Count I
excessive force in violation of Section 1983 against McMahon,
in Count II policymaker and/or supervisory liability in
violation of Section 1983 against the Borough of Malvern and
Malvern Fire, and in Count III supplemental state law claims
of unlawful seizure, negligence, gross negligence, assault,
and battery against McMahon. (ECF No. 1). On January 7, 2016,
Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint alleging the same claims
against the same defendants (ECF No. 9), to which all
defendants responded with motions to dismiss. (ECF Nos. 10,
12, 15). Judge Dalzell granted the motion of each defendant
without prejudice to Plaintiff refiling. (ECF No. 24). On
April 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Second Amended Complaint
(“SAC”), again bringing the same three counts
contained in the two prior iterations of her complaint. (ECF
No. 29). After considering the SAC as well as the
parties' various responses and replies, Judge Dalzell
denied McMahon's motion but granted those of the Borough
of Malvern and Malvern Fire, and dismissed Count II with
prejudice. (ECF No. 41).
November 2, 2016, the case was re-assigned to the undersigned
for all further proceedings. (ECF No. 52). On December 1,
2016, Plaintiff filed a Rule 60 motion in which she sought
leave to file a third amended complaint based on newly
discovered evidence. (ECF No. 55). This Court granted the
motion on December 22, 2016 (ECF No. 59), and Plaintiff
thereafter filed her TAC, which contains the following
Count I: Excessive force in violation of
Section 1983 against McMahon;
Count II: Policymaker and/or supervisory
liability in violation of Section 1983 against Malvern Fire;
Count III: Supplemental state law claims of
unlawful seizure, negligence, gross negligence, assault, and
battery against McMahon. (ECF No. 60).
the Court are McMahon's motion to strike the TAC (ECF No.
62), and the Malvern Fire Company's motion to dismiss or,
in the alternative, to strike the TAC (ECF No. 63). Plaintiff
responded to both motions on January 25, 2017 (ECF Nos. 64,
65) and Malvern Fire replied on February 1, 2017 (ECF No.