Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Boyer v. The City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 14, 2017

ANDRE BOYER, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, COMMISSIONER CHARLES RAMSEY, TWO JANE OR JOHN DOES, CAPTAIN ROLLIN LEE, LIEUTENANT KARYN BALDINI, and OFFICER ANGEL ORTIZ, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          DUBOIS, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, 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.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The 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. ¶ 4.

         At some 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.

         On 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.

         On 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.

         At the 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.

         The IAD investigation report was sent to the Police Board of Inquiry (“PBI”), which held a hearing on July 23, 2013.[1] 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, [2] and recommended that plaintiff be dismissed.[3] Ramsey approved the recommendation on July 30, 2013. Id.

         On 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.

         III. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On 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.

         On 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.

         By 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.

         By 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.

         Presently 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.

         IV. APPLICABLE LAW

         The 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.