United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Robert Brazzell brings this civil action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 based on an incident in which he was
forcibly taken to a hospital by police officers and
administered medication without consent. Plaintiff seeks to
proceed in forma pauperis. For the following
reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff leave to proceed
in forma pauperis and dismiss his complaint without
prejudice to plaintiff filing an amended complaint.
alleges that on November 7, 2015, officers of the Allentown
Police Department arrived at his home in response to a call
about a dispute involving plaintiff. Plaintiff was yelling at
a neighbor who had complained about plaintiff's dog
barking. After police arrived, plaintiff got into a
disagreement with one of the officers. The officers left and
subsequently returned, arrested plaintiff, and took him to
St. Luke's Hospital where a nurse injected him with
something that put him to sleep even though he did not
consent to the administration of medication. When plaintiff
woke up, he was in pain on his left side.
on those events, plaintiff initiated this civil rights action
against the Allentown Police Department, St. Luke's
Hospital, and the “Philly Phyc Ward.” He seeks
$300 million in damages.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
is granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
because it appears that he is unable to pay the costs of
filing suit. As plaintiff is proceeding in forma
pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies,
which requires the Court to dismiss the complaint if it fails
to state a claim. To survive dismissal, a complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (quotations omitted). “[M]ere conclusory
statements do not suffice.” Id. As plaintiff
is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Court understands plaintiff to be bringing Fourth Amendment
claims based on his arrest and Fourteenth Amendment claims
based on the fact that he was administered medication without
consent. See Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210,
229, 110 S.Ct. 1028, 1041, 108 L.Ed.2d 178 (1990) (“The
forcible injection of medication into a nonconsenting
person's body represents a substantial interference with
that person's liberty.”); Orsatti v. N.J. State
Police, 71 F.3d 480, 482 (3d Cir. 1995) (“[T]he
Fourth Amendment prohibits a police officer from arresting a
citizen except upon probable cause”). “To state a
claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the
violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of
the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation
was committed by a person acting under color of state
law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
To state a basis for municipal liability under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege that the municipal defendant's
policies or customs caused the alleged constitutional
violation. See Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of
N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). The plaintiff
“must identify [the] custom or policy, and specify what
exactly that custom or policy was” to satisfy the
pleading standard. McTernan v. City of York, 564
F.3d 636, 658 (3d Cir. 2009).
plaintiff does not allege that the deprivation of his rights
stemmed from a policy or custom of the defendants. He alleges
that he was improperly arrested by an officer of the
Allentown Police Department and injected by a nurse at St.
Luke's Hospital without consent, but he does not allege
that those individuals' conduct stemmed from a policy of
the Allentown Police Department or St. Luke's Hospital.
Accordingly, plaintiff has not stated a claim against those
defendants. See Doby v. DeCrescenzo, 171 F.3d
858, 867 (3d Cir. 1999). Furthermore, it is not clear why
plaintiff named “Philly Phyc Ward” as a
defendant, because nothing in his affidavit or complaint
explains how that defendant is involved in the events giving
rise to his claims.
foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss the complaint.
However, plaintiff will be given an opportunity to file an
amended complaint in the event he can cure the defects in his
claims. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d
103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002). An appropriate order follows.