United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
alleges that, while being held as a pre-trial detainee at the
Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center
(“PICC”), he was assaulted by Correctional
Officer Frederick Robinson on April 14, 2015. According to
the allegations contained in the Second Amended Complaint,
Robinson instigated a “verbal dispute” with
Plaintiff and then sprayed pepper spray in Plaintiff's
face, beat Plaintiff on the back of his head with a
walkie-talkie and punched Plaintiff in his “face, and
body area.” (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff filed
this Section 1983 action against the City of Philadelphia and
Robinson for violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights as well as state law claims for assault and
battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution and intentional
infliction of emotional distress.
before me is a motion for summary judgment in which the City
of Philadelphia urges that Plaintiff has adduced no evidence
that a custom, policy or practice of the City was the moving
force behind Plaintiff's alleged constitutional
injuries. For the reasons that follow, the
City's motion will be granted.
opposition to the City of Philadelphia's motion for
summary judgment, Plaintiff offers the following:
asserts that “Defendant Robinson has also been
implicated in another unprovoked attack on an inmate.
Robinson also used pepper spray on Orlando Kelly, another
pretrial detainee and then failed to get Kelly
treatment.” (Pl.'s Resp. p. 2.) Plaintiff, however,
offers no evidence regarding this alleged attack. As such,
the Court must disregard Plaintiff's unsupported
assertion. See Betts v. New Castle Youth Dev. Ctr.,
621 F.3d 249, 252 (3d Cir. 2010) (“Unsupported
assertions, conclusory allegations, or mere suspicions are
insufficient to overcome a motion for summary
also attaches what appears to be a grievance or an affidavit
from another individual who alleges that correctional
officers, without provocation, beat him while he was detained
at PICC on October 5, 2015. (Pl.'s Resp., Ex. A.)
a newspaper article from Philly.com, Plaintiff notes that
“recently three PICC guards were charged with
aggravated assault, conspiracy, simple assault and other
offenses.” (Id. at pp. 2-3.) According to the
newspaper article, three correctional officers allegedly beat
an individual incarcerated at PICC on June 21, 2016.
last accessed Apr. 20, 2017.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating that there are no genuine issues of material
fact and that judgment is appropriate as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once a properly supported motion for
summary judgment has been made, the burden shifts to the
non-moving party, who must set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986). An issue is “genuine” if a reasonable
jury could rule in favor of the non-moving party based on the
evidence presented. Kaucher v. Cnty. of Bucks, 455
F.3d 418, 423 (3d Cir. 2006). The non-moving party cannot
avert summary judgment with conclusory, self-serving
statements, but rather must cite to specific facts in the
record. Kirleis v. Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote,
P.C., 560 F.3d 156, 161 (3d Cir. 2009); Fed.R.Civ.P.
motion for summary judgment, the court considers the evidence
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. Courts may not make
credibility determinations at the summary judgment stage.
Boyle v. Cnty. of Allegheny, Pa., 139 F.3d 386, 393
(3d Cir. 1998) (citing Petruzzi's IGA Supermarkets,
Inc. v. Darling-Delaware Co., Inc., 998 F.2d 1224, 1230
(3d Cir. 1993) cert. denied, 510 U.S. 994 (1993)).
The same burdens and standards apply with regard to
cross-motions for summary judgment. Appelmans v. City of
Phila., 826 F.2d 214, 216 (3d Cir. 1987).
municipality may be held liable for its employee's
violation of a citizen's constitutional rights under
section 1983, although not on a respondeat superior
theory of liability. Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs. of
City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 690-92 (1978). To
prevail on a Monell claim, a plaintiff must show a
policy or custom created by a policymaker that
caused the alleged constitutional violation. Natale v.
Camden Cnty. Corr. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 583-84 (3d
Cir. 2003) (citing Bd. of the Cnty. Comm'rs of Bryan
Cnty. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997)). To establish
causation, “there must be an affirmative link between
the policy and the particular constitutional violation
alleged.” City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471
U.S. 808, 823 (1985).
policy at issue “concerns a failure to train or
supervise municipal employees, liability under section 1983
requires a showing that the failure amounts to deliberate
indifference to the rights of persons with whom those
employees will come into contact.” Thomas v.
Cumberland County, 749 F.3d 217, 222 (3d Cir. 2014)
(internal quotation marks omitted). In most circumstances, a
“pattern of similar constitutional violations by