United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Flowers Conti, Chief Judge.
before the court are the two motions to dismiss filed,
respectively, by defendants Adam Summers, Neil Reinsfelder,
and Steven Centra (“University defendants”), and
defendants Rufus Jones and Gregory Boss (“City
defendants”), pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF Nos. 13 and 15). In his pro
se complaint, plaintiff Akaninyene Efiong Akan
(“Plaintiff”) asserts a single claim against all
defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution, as well as a request for
declaratory judgment by the court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 2201 and 2202. (ECF No. 1). This court exercises
subject-matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claim
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question
jurisdiction). Because the complaint shows that the claim
asserted under § 1983 is barred by the applicable
statute of limitations, defendants' motions will be
Factual and Procedural Background
complaint contains a solitary claim, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. He alleges an ongoing conspiracy to deprive him
of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by
the defendants' continued seizure of his
“person” vis-à-vis a biological/DNA sample
obtained from a discarded cigarette. The court now recites
the most pertinent facts, as pled in Plaintiff's
complaint and contained in records available to the
early morning hours of September 17, 2010, Plaintiff was
departing from a social gathering in the Oakland neighborhood
in the City of Pittsburgh. (ECF No. 1 at 7). He entered his
vehicle, which was parked in the vicinity of 3612 Bates
Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, at or around 2:20
a.m. (Id.). Almost immediately thereafter, an adult
male approached the driver's side window and ordered
Plaintiff to exit the vehicle. (Id.). The man was
Adam Summers, an officer with the University of Pittsburgh
Police. (Id. at 3). Officer Summers was in plain
clothes, but had a visible belt with a holstered weapon.
(Id. at 8). Plaintiff complied with the order out of
fear for his wellbeing. (Id. at 8 - 9). Officer
Summers had not yet identified himself or the basis for
ordering Plaintiff out of the vehicle. (Id. at 9).
other law enforcement officers arrived on the scene.
(Id.). These officers included Neil Reinsfelder and
Steven Centra of the University of Pittsburgh Police, and
Rufus Jones of the City of Pittsburgh Police. (Id.
at 4, 10 - 11). None of the officers explained the purpose of
Plaintiff's detention or provided their identities.
(Id. at 10, 16). After approximately fifty minutes,
Plaintiff accepted a cigarette offered by a University of
Pittsburgh Police Officer, “Mr. A. Fink.”
(Id. at 12 - 13). Plaintiff had mostly finished the
cigarette when Officer Centra ordered him to throw it on the
ground. (Id. at 14). Plaintiff complied.
around 3:20 a.m., Plaintiff was informed that he was free to
leave. (Id. at 15 - 16). When plaintiff inquired
about the purpose of his detention, Officer Centra stated
only that “we mistook you for a burglar.”
(Id. at 16). Officers Summers, Reinsfelder, Centra,
and Jones filed reports of their encounter with Plaintiff.
(Id. at 17). None observed any criminal conduct;
Officers Summers, Reinsfelder, and Centra, however, all
recounted that Officer Jones took the spent cigarette
discarded by Plaintiff for possible future use as a
biological sample. (Id.). Officer Jones' report
made no mention of the cigarette. (Id.).
about October 7, 2010, Gregory Boss - a detective with the
City of Pittsburgh Police - took possession of the cigarette
recovered by Officer Jones. (Id. at 5, 18).
Detective Boss was the lead investigator for a crime which
occurred in the Southside Flats neighborhood of the City of
Pittsburgh on September 5, 2010. (Id. at 18). Video
surveillance at the scene of the crime was thought to show
Plaintiff as the perpetrator. (Id. at 18 - 19). The
cigarette was sent to the Allegheny County Crime Lab (the
“Lab”) for biological/DNA testing. (Id.
November 30, 2010, Plaintiff was charged with one count of
burglary, two counts of rape, four counts of involuntary
deviate sexual intercourse, one count of sexual assault, one
count of indecent assault, one count of terroristic threats,
one count of unlawful restraint, and one count of simple
assault. (ECF No. 14-3 at 1 - 3). Following a jury trial in
the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Plaintiff was
found guilty of all charged conduct, and on June 26, 2012, he
was sentenced to four consecutive terms of eight to twenty
years' imprisonment. (Id. at 4 - 6). Judgment of
sentence was affirmed by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
on November 25, 2013. (ECF No. 14-1 at 3). Plaintiff's
petition for allowance of appeal was denied on May 30, 2014.
(Id.). On October 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Post
Conviction Relief Act petition, which was dismissed without a
hearing. (Id.). An appeal of this dismissal was also
denied on February 1, 2016. (ECF No. 14-2). Plaintiff is
currently incarcerated at SCI-Forest.
complaint in the instant case was filed by Plaintiff, pro
se, on January 19, 2017. (ECF No. 1). Motions to
dismiss, and accompanying briefs, followed on May 23, 2017.
(ECF Nos. 13 - 16). Plaintiff's response was filed on
July 3, 2017. (ECF Nos. 25 and 26). The matters are fully
briefed, and ripe for disposition.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint
contain a short and plain statement of a claim, and show that
the pleader is entitled to relief. Dismissal of a complaint
or portion of a complaint is justified under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) when a claimant fails to
sufficiently state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
Avoiding dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) requires a pleading
party's complaint to provide “enough factual
matter” to allow the case to move beyond the pleading
stage of litigation; the pleader must “‘nudge his
or her claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible.'” Phillips v. Cnty. of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 - 35 (3d Cir. 2008)
(quoting Bell Atlantic Co. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
556, 570 (2007)).
assessing the merits of a claim subject to a motion to
dismiss, a court must engage in a two-part analysis.
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 - 11 (3d
Cir. 2009). First, factual and legal elements of a claim must
be distinguished. Id. Second, it must be determined
whether the facts as alleged support a “plausible claim
for relief.” Id. In making the latter
determination, the court must be mindful that the matter
pleaded need not include “detailed factual allegations,
” Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555), and the court must
construe all alleged facts, and draw all ...