United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
pro se complaint, Wayne Nelson asserts claims for
malicious prosecution, false arrest and imprisonment, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress arising out of
his arrest, subsequent imprisonment, and prosecution, which
ultimately resulted in a not guilty verdict. Moving to
dismiss, the defendants City of Philadelphia, Detective James
Miles, and Detective Glenn MacClain contend that Nelson has
failed to state claims that they deprived him of his civil
rights. The City argues that Nelson has not alleged a policy
or custom which resulted in violations of his constitutional
rights. The individual defendants contend Nelson has failed
to allege their personal involvement in wrongful conduct.
defendants are correct. Therefore, we shall grant the motion
to dismiss with leave to amend the complaint.
recited in the complaint, in the late morning of April 28,
2015, Detective Timothy Cliggett and members of the Fugitive
Task Force arrested Nelson. They transported him to the
Philadelphia Police Department's 25th District. He was
charged with attempted murder and related offenses in
connection with an incident which had occurred on April 4,
arraignment, Nelson's bail was set at one million
dollars. Unable to post bail, he remained in jail for over a
year until he was released on June 1, 2016 after he was found
April 28, 2017, two years after his arrest, Nelson filed this
action claiming a violation of his civil rights. He asserts
three claims: malicious prosecution (Count I), false
imprisonment and false arrest (Count II), and intentional
infliction of emotional distress (Count III).
Nelson alleges that it was Cliggett who arrested him, he does
not name him as a defendant. Instead, he asserts claims
against the City of Philadelphia and Detectives James Miles
and Glenn MacClain, two police officers in the Philadelphia
Police Department's 25th District, to whom he attributes
to Rule 12(b)(6), a court may dismiss all or part of an
action for “failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The complaint
must plead “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 Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). The
plaintiff must allege facts that indicate “more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. Pleading only “facts
that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability” is insufficient and cannot survive a motion
to dismiss. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
conclusory recitation of the elements of a cause of action is
not sufficient. The plaintiff must allege facts necessary to
make out each element. In other words, the complaint must
contain facts which, if proven later, support a conclusion
that the cause of action can be established.
assessing the sufficiency of a complaint, a court engages in
a three-part sequential analysis. The court must: (1)
identify the elements of the causes of action; (2) disregard
conclusory statements, leaving only factual allegations; and
(3) assuming the truth of those factual allegations,
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief. Burtch v. Millberg Factors, Inc., 662
F.3d 212, 221 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Santiago v.
Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010)).
the pro se plaintiff's pleadings are considered
deferentially, affording him the benefit of the doubt where
one exists. Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d
239, 244 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing Higgs v. Att'y
Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011)). With these
standards in mind, we shall accept as true the facts as they