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Randolph-Ali v. Steelton Police Department

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 14, 2018

SAMIRA RANDOLPH-ALI, Plaintiff
v.
STEELTON POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants

          Conner Chief Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge

         I. Statement of Fact and of The Case

         This is a pro se civil rights lawsuit brought by the plaintiff, Samira Randolph-Ali, against an array of local law enforcement and children and youth agencies and employees. Randolph-Ali commenced this case on August 5, 2016, filing a complaint, (Doc. 1), which she later amended on September 26, 2016. (Doc. 10.)

         We most assuredly do not write upon a blank slate in this case. Quite the contrary, the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff's first amended complaint has been the subject of protracted litigation, a comprehensive Report and Recommendation by our colleague, Judge Mehalchick, (Doc. 13), and a thoughtful decision by the district court. (Doc. 21.) Because the parties are thoroughly familiar with the background of this litigation, which is fully detailed in the prior rulings of this court, we will only address those facts which in our view are necessary to an informed understanding of the present motion to dismiss.

         In its January 18, 2017 ruling which dismissed many of Randolph-Ali's claims, the district court canvassed the comprehensive Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Mehalchick, adopted that Report and Recommendation in its entirety, and then held that:

2. The following claims are DISMISSED with prejudice:
a. All claims against District Attorney Edward Marsico and Assistant District Attorneys Katie Adams and Chris Jason on the ground of prosecutorial immunity;
b. Any claim against Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth caseworker Nicole Carter based on allegedly perjured testimony during Randolph-Ali's June 30, 2016 preliminary hearing on the ground of witness immunity;
c. All claims against Detective Anthony Minium and Officer Troy Elhaj for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and invasion of privacy under either federal or state law based on Randolph-Ali's August 7, 2014 arrest;
d. Any claims against Detective William Shaub for invasion of privacy pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or for defamation under state law based on Randolph-Ali's May 26, 2016 arrest; and
e. Any claims against Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth caseworker Nicole Carter for illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment or a due process violation under the Fourteenth Amendment based on her involvement in the child abuse investigation that led to Randolph-Ali's May 26, 2016 arrest.
3. The following claims are DISMISSED without prejudice:
a. Any claims against Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth caseworker Tia Hunt for lack of personal involvement;
b. All claims against Detective William Shaub and Officer William Shaffer for malicious prosecution, and against Detective William Shaub for false arrest, under either federal or state law, based on Randolph-Ali's May 26, 2016 arrest;
c. Any supervisory liability claim against Detective Anthony Minium on the basis of his role as acting chief of the Steelton Police Department at the time of Randolph-Ali's May 26, 2016 arrest; and
d. Any First Amendment retaliation claim stemming from Randolph-Ali's May 26, 2016 arrest.
4. Randolph-Ali's demand for relief (Doc. 10 at 8) is STRICKEN to the extent it seeks specific sums certain of money damages in violation of Local Rule of Court 8.1.
5. Randolph-Ali shall be allowed to proceed on her Fourth Amendment excessive force and state law assault and battery claims against Detective Anthony Minium.
6. The Clerk of Court is directed to TERMINATE the following defendants: District Attorney Edward Marsico; Assistant District Attorneys Katie Adams and Chris Jason; Officer Troy Elhaj; and Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth caseworker Nicole Carter.
7. Randolph-Ali is granted leave to file a second amended complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of this order, consistent with the report (Doc. 13) of Magistrate Judge Mehalchick and paragraphs 2 through 6 above.

Randolph-Ali v. Steelton Police Dep't, No. 1:16-CV-1625, 2017 WL 192157, at *1-2 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 18, 2017).

         Randolph-Ali then took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the court to amend her complaint and filed a pleading styled as a second amended complaint in this case on March 20, 2017. (Doc. 23.) The defendants moved to dismiss that second amended complaint on April 3, 2017. (Doc. 25.) Randolph-Ali responded to this motion by filing a pleading styled as a motion for jury trial, (Doc. 29), which is in effect a response in opposition to this motion to dismiss. These motions are fully briefed by the parties and are, therefore, now ripe for resolution.

         A review of Randolph-Ali's second amended complaint reveals that it demands a great deal of the reader. This pleading is cast in somewhat of a stream of consciousness style, “one which presumes that the reader has a unique insight into the thoughts of the writer and can thus give meaning to seemingly unconnected ideas. In the hands of a literary stylist . . ., this manner of expression can be challenging; in the hands of [Randolph-Ali] it is sometimes incomprehensible.” Lease v. Fishel, 712 F.Supp.2d 359, 376 (M.D. Pa. 2010), aff'd, No. 1:07-CV-0003, 2010 WL 4318833 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 22, 2010). Thus, the second amended complaint begins by alleging in broad terms that Randolph-Ali has suffered Fourth and Eighth Amendment violations, as well as claiming a “1983 federal abuse of power.” (Doc. 23, p.1.)

         Looking beyond these labels, from our review of this pleading we understand that Randolph-Ali's latest amended complaint first attempts to resurrect a number of claims which have dismissed by this court with prejudice. For example, Randolph-Ali's second amended complaint continues to level allegations against the defendants arising out of an August 2014 arrest of the plaintiff. (Doc. 23, ¶¶A-F, and I.) Randolph-Ali also appears to reprise defamation and slander claims in this second amended complaint arising out of her May 2016 arrest. (Doc. 23, ¶¶I and J.) Yet, in advancing these claims, Randolph-Ali apparently ignores the law of the case, as reflected in the ...


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