United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Andre Boyer, is an African-American who was employed by the
City of Philadelphia (the “City”) as a police
officer from 1997 until his termination in September 2013. In
his Second Amended Complaint, he alleges that the City of
Philadelphia, former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey
(“Ramsey”), Captain Rollin Lee
(“Lee”), and Lieutenant Karyn Baldini
(“Baldini”), along with two Jane or John Does
(collectively, the “City Defendants”) violated
his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
that the City, Ramsey, and Officer Angel Ortiz
(“Ortiz”) violated the Pennsylvania Whistleblower
Law, 42 Pa. Const. Stat. Ann. § 1421 et seq.
Presently before the Court are Defendants City of
Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey, Roland Lee, and Karyn
Baldini's Motion for Summary Judgment and Defendant
Police Officer Angel Ortiz's Motion for Summary Judgment.
For the reasons set forth below, the City Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in
part, and Ortiz's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.
following relevant facts, submitted by the parties, are
undisputed unless otherwise noted. Plaintiff's claims in
this case stem from a series of events leading up to his
termination as a police officer with the Philadelphia Police
Department. On September 1, 2011, plaintiff and Ortiz
conducted a traffic stop while on patrol as police officers
in Philadelphia. City Defs.' Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts (“City SOF”) ¶ 1. According
to Ortiz, he received verbal consent from the driver and
vehicle owner, James Singleton, to search the vehicle and
recovered what Ortiz suspected was heroin. Id.
¶ 2. Plaintiff and Ortiz “brought the suspected
heroin and Singleton's vehicle” to Officer Dierdre
Cuffie at the Narcotics Field Unit headquarters. Id.
point in October 2011, during the prosecution of
Singleton's case, plaintiff spoke with Assistant District
Attorney Allison Worysz, and told her that he believed
Officers Ortiz and Cuffie had falsified the police report and
other paperwork with respect to the Singleton arrest.
Id. ¶¶ 6-8.
September 6, 2011, plaintiff and Ortiz conducted another
traffic stop. Id. ¶ 18. During this stop,
plaintiff confiscated money from an occupant of the vehicle,
Wurlin Graham. Id. ¶ 19. According to Graham,
the money was part of a recent settlement in a case arising
from a serious physical injury, and he showed the officers a
withdrawal receipt from his bank during the stop.
Id.; City Defs.' Mem. in Supp. Summ. J.
(“City Defs.' Mem.), Ex. F (“Graham Police
Complaint”) at 2-3. Graham was never charged with a
crime in connection with the traffic stop. Graham Police
Complaint at 3. On September 26, 2011, Graham submitted a
complaint of police misconduct to the Philadelphia Police
Department, alleging that his money had not been returned to
him and that plaintiff had, in sum, “stolen” his
money. City Defs.' SOF ¶ 20.
October 5, 2011, Graham's complaint was received by the
Internal Affairs Division (“IAD”) of the
Philadelphia Police Department. Pl.'s Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts (“Pl.'s SOF”)
¶ 21; City Defs.' Mem., Ex. G (“IAD
Investigation”), at 1. On October 12, 2011, Lieutenant
Michael Craigshead was assigned to investigate Graham's
complaint. IAD Investigation at 1. As part of the
investigation, Lieutenant Craigshead interviewed, among
others, Ortiz on April 12, 2012, and June 11, 2012, and
plaintiff on May 11, 2012, and June 21, 2012. Id. at
2, 11, 12.
conclusion of the IAD investigation, Inspector H. Robert
Snyder determined that the “investigation could neither
prove nor disprove” Graham's allegations that
plaintiff had confiscated Graham's money, other than that
which plaintiff had recorded on a Property Receipt and which
was returned to Graham by the Police Department. Id.
at 15. However, Inspector Snyder also determined that the
investigation revealed several departmental violations,
including the fact that plaintiff “was deliberately
untruthful” during the investigation with respect to
suspected narcotics and other evidence that plaintiff
allegedly recovered during the Graham stop but did not
document, in violation of departmental procedures.
Id. at 15, 18.
investigation report was sent to the Police Board of Inquiry
(“PBI”), which held a hearing on July 23,
2013. City Defs.' Mem., Ex. H (“PBI
Hr'g”) at 1. After the hearing, at which Ortiz and
others testified, the PBI found plaintiff guilty of four
departmental violations arising from the IAD investigation,
recommended that plaintiff be dismissed. Ramsey approved
the recommendation on July 30, 2013. Id.
August 6, 2013, plaintiff was suspended from the Philadelphia
Police Department for thirty days “with the intent to
dismiss.” City Defs.' SOF ¶ 27. Plaintiff was
dismissed from the Philadelphia Police Department on
September 2, 2013. City Defs.' Mem., Ex. I
(“Arbitration Decision”) at 2. Through his union,
plaintiff filed a grievance and participated in arbitration
proceedings. City Defs.' SOF ¶ 28. After arbitration
hearings on May 23, 2014, and June 26, 2014, at which Ortiz
testified, plaintiff's grievance was denied on August 28,
2014, and his dismissal was upheld. Id. ¶ 31.
November 7, 2013, plaintiff filed the original Complaint in
this case (Document No. 1), alleging that the City, Ramsey,
and five Jane and John Does discriminated against him based
on his race and retaliated against him for opposing this
discrimination in violation of Title VII, the First and
Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to § 1983, the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), and
the Pennsylvania Constitution. On October 10, 2014, the City
and Ramsey filed a partial Motion to Dismiss (Document No.
12), which was granted in part and denied in part by Order
dated February 27, 2015.
February 6, 2015, plaintiff filed a complaint against Ortiz
and Wurlin Graham in the Court of Common Pleas in
Philadelphia County, alleging, inter alia, that
Ortiz retaliated against him by falsely testifying at his
arbitration hearing because plaintiff had reported wrongdoing
by Ortiz. That case, Civil Action No. 15-1073, was removed to
this Court on March 3, 2015, and consolidated with the
above-captioned case by Order dated May 28, 2015.
Order dated May 28, 2015, the Court granted plaintiff leave
to file an amended complaint and the Amended Complaint was
deemed filed as of May 4, 2015 (Document No. 27). The Amended
Complaint named the City, Ramsey, Captain Branville Bard,
Lee, Baldini, Ortiz and two John or Jane Does as defendants
and contained six counts: retaliation and wrongful discharge
in violation of Title VII and the PHRA, violation of the
First Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment pursuant to § 1983, and violations of the
Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law and other state law claims.
The defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (Document No. 28,
filed June 15, 2015); that Motion was granted in part and
denied in part by Order dated December 17, 2015.
Order dated April 13, 2016, the Court denied plaintiff's
Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint to the extent that
plaintiff's proposed amendments included Captain Bard,
and granted plaintiff's Motion in all other respects. The
Second Amended Complaint was deemed filed as of April 8, 2016
(Document No. 46), and contains two counts: (Count One)
violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City,
Ramsey, Lee, Baldini, and two John and Jane Doe defendants
and (Count Two) violations of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower
Law against the City, Ramsey, and Ortiz.
before the Court are Ortiz's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Document No. 60, filed Apr. 7, 2017) and the City
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 61,
filed Apr. 7, 2017). Plaintiff filed Responses to the Motions
for Summary Judgment on April 28, 2017 (Documents Nos. 62 and
63). The Motions are thus ripe for review.
Court will grant summary judgment if “the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is material when it
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine
“if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
The Court's role at the summary judgment stage “is
not . . . to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of
the matter but to determine whether . . . there is sufficient
evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a
verdict for that party.” Id. at 249. In making
this determination, “the court is required to examine
the evidence of record in the light most favorable to the
party opposing summary judgment, and resolve all ...