United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
PLAINTIFF'S THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT
a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (“Section 1983”), in which Plaintiff Emma
Zahner alleges she was involuntarily and erroneously
incarcerated in violation of her Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. The Court has previously issued orders on
two motions to dismiss and one motion for judgment on the
Procedural and Factual Background
initiated this action by filing a Complaint in the Court of
Common Pleas, Philadelphia County on January 11, 2016.
(See ECF 1 at 4). Plaintiff then filed an Amended
Complaint on May 11, 2016, which defendants City of
Philadelphia and Terence Clark (together, the “City
Defendants”) timely removed to this Court on May 27,
2016. (See ECF 1, Notice of Removal). Defendants
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, Robert Smith and
Lamper (together, the “Corrections Defendants”)
consented to the removal. (Id. at 2). On May 31,
2016, the City Defendants and the Corrections Defendants
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. (ECF
3-4). On June 30, 2016, this Court issued an Order as
follows: (1) Counts One, Two and Four were dismissed without
prejudice, and with leave to file a Second Amended Complaint;
(2) Counts Three and Six were dismissed with prejudice; and
(3) the motion to dismiss Count Five was denied. See
Zahner v. City of Philadelphia, No. CV 16-2635, 2016 WL
3569255, at *1 (E.D. Pa. July 1, 2016), appeal
dismissed (Oct. 27, 2016).
12, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (ECF
11), which contained all of the Counts originally alleged in
the Amended Complaint. On July 13, 2016, the City Defendants
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint,
and on July 25, 2016, the Corrections Defendants did the
same. (ECF 12, 14). On August 18, 2016, the Court granted
both Motions, and ordered that Counts One, Two, Three, Four
and Six would be dismissed, this time with
prejudice. See Zahner v. City of
Philadelphia, No. CV 16-2635, 2016 WL 4409105, at *1
(E.D. Pa. Aug. 18, 2016). Because the defendants had not
challenged Count Five of the Second Amended Complaint, the
Court ordered that the case would continue against Lamper
September 16, 2016, Lamper filed an Answer to the allegations
contained in Count Five of the Second Amended Complaint (ECF
21), and on October 27, 2016, Lamper filed a Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings. On January 18, 2017, this Court
ordered as follows: Lamper's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings would be denied and the case would proceed as to
Count Five. See Zahner v. City of Philadephia, No.
CV 16-2635, 2017 WL 262006, at *1 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 18, 2017).
April 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the
Complaint, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. (ECF 32). On June 28,
2017, the Court issued an Order granting the unopposed Motion
to Amend. (ECF 37).
3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Complaint (ECF 38),
which contained one count, entitled
“Monell” claim, against Lamper for
violations of Section 1983. On August 2, 2017, Lamper moved
to dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. (ECF 39,
“Def.'s Mot.”). On August 7, 2017, Plaintiff
filed a Response in opposition to Lamper's Motion. (ECF
40, “Pl.'s Opp'n.”).
following facts are taken from the Third Amended Complaint,
and are accepted as true for purposes of the pending motion.
See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); James v. City of
Wilkes-Barre, 700 F.3d 675, 679 (3d Cir. 2012). Lamper
is an employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(“DOC”) and serves as a supervisor of the
Intermediate Punishment Program and the Records Department at
the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute-Muncy
(“Muncy”). (Third Compl. ¶¶ 7, 9). On
January 5, 2012, Plaintiff received a 2-year state
intermediate sentence for drug-related offenses to be served
at Gaudenzia Addiction Treatment and Recovery Center
(“Gaudenzia”). (Id. ¶¶ 29-30).
In May 2013, Plaintiff absconded from official detention at
Gaundenzia resulting in the issuance of an arrest warrant.
(Id. ¶¶ 31-32). On March 10, 2014,
Plaintiff “surrendered herself” to Judge Rayford
A. Means of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia County.
(Id. ¶ 33). That same day, Judge Means revoked
the state intermediate sentence, and ordered a new eighteen
(18) month telephone reporting probation. (Id.
December 23, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested by Philadelphia law
enforcement in relation to her absconding from Gaudenzia.
(Id. ¶ 35). She was charged with an escape
violation under 18 Pa. C.S.A. § 5121, and detained at
Philadelphia Riverside Correctional Facility
(“Riverside”). (Id. ¶ 39). Bail was
set at $50, 000. (Id. ¶ 36). That same day, the
DOC issued a command detainer requesting that Plaintiff be
detained until she could be returned to the custody of the
DOC. (Id. ¶ 37). On January 14, 2015, Plaintiff
explained to her “captures” that Judge Means had
revoked the state intermediate sentence and that she was now
being unlawfully detained. (Id. ¶ 40). On
January 22, 2015, Plaintiff participated in a Disciplinary
Hearing at Muncy by hearing examiner L.S. Kerns Barns in
which Plaintiff informed L.S. Kerns Barns in writing and
testified during the hearing that Judge Means had entered an
order revoking the state intermediate punishment sentence
previously imposed on her, as a result of which she was being
unlawfully detained. (Id. ¶¶ 41-43).
Hearing examiner L.S. Kerns Barns prepared a written
Disciplinary Hearing Report documenting Plaintiff's
testimony and placed the Disciplinary Hearing Report in
Plaintiff's inmate file maintained by Muncy.
(Id. ¶¶ 44-45).
March 17, 2015, the judge hearing Plaintiff's escape
violation case issued an order modifying Plaintiff's bail
terms to unsecured bail in the amount of $50, 000
(“March 17, 2015 Order”). (Id. ¶
49). Despite the new bail terms, which should have enabled
Plaintiff to leave prison, Plaintiff remained incarcerated at
Riverside from March 17, 2015 through March 26, 2015, and was
then transferred to Muncy and incarcerated there from March
26, 2015 through June 10, 2015. (Id. ¶¶
51, 53). On June 10, 2015, Plaintiff was transferred back to
Riverside until June 29, 2015, when she was transferred back
to Muncy and held there until her release from custody on
July 2, 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 53-55). Plaintiff
alleges that the DOC detainer from December 23, 2014 caused
the City of Philadelphia prison system not to issue the
release of Plaintiff from custody in accordance with the
modified bail terms from the March 17, 2015 Order.
(Id. ¶ 50).
supervisor at Muncy, Lamper's duties included, among many
other things, “collecting sentencing and resentencing
orders, ” “[f]orward[ing] all sentencing and
resentencing orders to the CSCU Department at the State
Correctional Institute-Muncy, ” maintaining records
related to the release of inmates, and authorizing the
release of inmates consistent with sentencing and
resentencing orders. (Id. ¶ 10). According to
Plaintiff, Lamper “deliberately chose” not to
follow her duties when she did not timely request or review
the sentencing orders- -including the March 17, 2015 Order
modifying Plaintiff's bail terms--prior to admitting
Plaintiff into custody at Muncy. (Id. ¶¶
63-66). As the supervisor of the Records Department, Lamper
was responsible for the “scheduling/preparation of
inmate releases” and had the ability to
“authorize the release of the inmate consistent with
sentencing.” (Id. ¶ 10).