United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42U.S.C.§1983,
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Act ("PHRA"), by plaintiff, Carrie Ann
Gula ("Gula"), in which she alleges violations of
her constitutional rights arising out of her employment with
the Pennsylvania State Police ("PSP") and an
alleged assault incident between Gula and her boyfriend on
August 1, 2012.
before the court is the partial motion for summary judgment
on Count II of plaintiff Gula's amended complaint, (Doc.
19), filed by defendants PSP Trooper Lisa Brogan
("Brogan") and Lieutenant Richard Krawetz
("Krawetz"), pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro.
56, (Doc. 28).
upon the following discussion, the partial motion for summary
judgment of Brogan and Krawetz regarding Count II of
plaintiff's amended complaint will be
August 2, 2012, Gula reported to PSP that she was assaulted
by her boyfriend, Eric Thomas, on August 1, 2012. After
Brogan and Krawetz conducted an investigation, the PSP found
that there was probable cause to arrest Gula for false
reports to law enforcement officials and unsworn
falsification to authorities. During the investigation,
Thomas alleged that Gula had unlawfully accessed his online
computer account which lead to a second investigation by
Krawetz and the filing of charges against Gula related to
unlawful use of a computer and computer trespass crimes. The
case was turned over to the Luzerne County District
Attorney's Office which determined that criminal charges
against Gula were warranted based on both investigations. On
December 13, 2012, Gula was arrested. Subsequently, she had a
preliminary hearing and the charges against her were bound
over to the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas for criminal
trial. After her trial was concluded in March 2014, Gula was
found not guilty of all charges.
November 19, 2014, Gula filed her original complaint under
§1983, Title VII and the PHRA. (Doc. 1). She is
currently proceeding on her amended complaint which was filed
on August 29, 2016. (Doc. 19). The plaintiffs amended
complaint is comprised of eight counts. The claims against
the remaining defendants are: (1) First Amendment retaliation
claim and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim based
on her sex, against the individual defendants in violation of
42 U.S.C.§1983; (2) malicious prosecution in violation
of the Fourth Amendment and §1983 against Krawetz, and
Brogan; (3) sex discrimination claims under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.§2000e, et seq.,
against PSP; (4) sex discrimination claims against all
defendants under the PHRA, 43 Pa. Stat.§95. et seq.; (5)
hostile work environment claim based on sex under Title VII
against PSP; (6) hostile work environment claim based on sex
against all defendants under the PHRA; (7) retaliation claim
under Title VII against PSP; and (8) a retaliation claim
against all defendants under the PHRA.
March 22, 2017, Brogan and Krawetz filed their partial motion
for summary judgment regarding plaintiffs Fourth Amendment
claim of malicious prosecution in Count II of her amended
complaint. (Doc. 28). They simultaneously filed their
statement of facts with exhibits and a brief in support.
(Doc. 29, Doc. 30, Docs. 37-63). The plaintiff filed her
brief in opposition to Brogan and Krawetz's motion and
her response to their statement of facts on May 10, 2017.
(Doc. 84, Doc. 87). Plaintiff filed exhibits in support of
her brief. (Docs. 76-83). Brogan and Krawetz filed a reply
brief on June 7, 2017. (Doc. 93). Their motion is now ripe.
court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28
U.S.C.§51331 and 1343. The court can exercise pendent
jurisdiction over the state law claims under 28 U.S.C.
§1337. Venue is proper in this district.
employed as a trooper with the PSP and in August of 2012, she
was stationed in Troop N, at the Fern Ridge Barracks in
Monroe County, PA. On August 2, 2012, Gula reported to the
PSP that she was assaulted by her boyfriend, Eric Thomas, on
August 1, 2012, in his house in Luzerne County, PA., while
she was wearing her uniform. The Criminal Investigation Unit
at Troop P, PSP Wyoming, in Luzerne County, was assigned to
investigate the alleged domestic assault incident since it
occurred in that county. Gula was directed to report to
Krawetz at PSP Wyoming. Brogan was directed by Krawetz to
investigate Gula's assault allegations. As part of the
investigation, Brogan instructed Gula to make a written
statement on August 2, 2012. At the completion of the
investigation, Brogan prepared an Incident Report. (Doc. 40
at 59-65). Krawetz then prepared his own report.
(Id. at 66-68).
and Krawetz determined that Gula's domestic violence
allegations were "unfounded" due to
inconsistencies, such as Gula had no visible injuries.
However, Gula described non-visible injuries, including a
headache and sore neck. They also believed that Gula's
allegations were "unfounded" since there was no
property damage in Thomas' house. Consequently, they
concluded the criminal investigation into Gula's alleged
assault incident. (Doc. 40).
then initiated a criminal investigation into Gula for the
crime of False Reports regarding her assault allegations
against Thomas. During the course of this investigation,
Thomas reported that Gula had "illegally accessed his
'My Verizon' online account" and he
"provided evidence during the course of that
investigation that indicated [Gula] had stolen various notes
belonging to [him] that contained login information for a
number of his online accounts." (Id.).
on August 8, 2012, Krawetz commenced a computer crimes
investigation, in addition to the false report investigation,
regarding Gula. (Doc. 40 at 76), According to the August 8,
2012 Incident Report:
THOMAS received six notifications from Verizon indicating
that the password on his Verizon Account had been changed.
THOMAS related that at no time did he authorize any changes
to his password on his account. THOMAS stated he did not and
he never gave anyone permission to access his account. It can
be inferred from this information that an unknown individual
had accessed his Verizon account without authorization.
conclusion of the investigations, the PSP and its officials
determined that Gula should be charged with making false
statements to law enforcement officials and for computer
trespass crimes. On November 13, 2012, Krawetz referred the
case to the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office
and, he met with the DA, and an Assistant DA and provided
them with a copy of his investigation. He requested that a
prosecutorial decision regarding Gula be made.
December 4, 2012, Krawetz indicated that he met with the DA
and that the DA recommended four felony computer charges and
three misdemeanor charges relating to false reports be filed
against Gula. The basis of the "false report" that
Gula allegedly made was her verbal "report [of] an
incident where she alleged that she was the victim, and she
implicated another in that incident." The basis of
Krawetz's charges against Gula for unlawful use of a
computer and related offenses was Thomas' ...