United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
James Randall sues the City of Philadelphia
(“City”), and Police Officers John Mouzon and
Leon McKnight for civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and other state-law claims. Plaintiff alleges
that the Defendant Police Officers falsely arrested him,
which resulted in a malicious prosecution against him. The
purported malicious prosecution, in turn, caused
Plaintiff's extradition to New Jersey for parole
violations - all of which culminated in Plaintiff's
detainer in another locality outside of Philadelphia.
Defendants have moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that
follow, Defendants' motion shall be granted.
following facts are taken from Plaintiff's First Amended
Complaint (“FAC”) and are taken as true. On
December 6, 2013, Plaintiff pled guilty to identity theft in
New Jersey Superior Court and was sentenced to one year of
probation. Plaintiff resided in Philadelphia and was informed
that his probation would be transferred to Pennsylvania.
December 20, 2013, Plaintiff reported to a parole office in
Philadelphia. Plaintiff had in his possession a borrowed
cellphone, which was confiscated and inspected by staff
there. Upon inspection, the cellphone contained pictures of
contraband, so Plaintiff was taken into custody. Parole
agents then went to Plaintiff's place of residence in
Philadelphia and saw illegal narcotics and a firearm in plain
same day, the Defendant Police Officers arrived at the
Plaintiff's Philadelphia residence to meet with the
parole agents. After discussion with the parole agents, the
Defendant Police Officers obtained a search-and-seizure
warrant and entered Plaintiff's residence at nighttime.
Among other things, they recovered illegal narcotics and a
firearm. Defendant Police Officers subsequently detained and
arrested Plaintiff. Plaintiff avers that the
search-and-seizure warrant was obtained “without
probable cause and/or by making false statements”
without further details.
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office prosecuted
Plaintiff based on statements provided by the Defendant
Police Officers. Plaintiff was ultimately arrested and
charged for various crimes, including, inter alia,
possession of a controlled substance. Plaintiff was also
charged in New Jersey as a Fugitive of Justice because he was
on probation there. Plaintiff was ordered to be extradited to
New Jersey once the criminal matter initiated by the
Philadelphia DA concluded. When the charges brought by the
Philadelphia DA were finally dismissed on August 24, 2015,
Plaintiff was transported to New Jersey, where he remained in
custody until December 24, 2015. As a result of
Plaintiff's arrest in Philadelphia, Plaintiff further
avers that additional criminal proceedings were instituted
against him in New Jersey and in Delaware County,
Pennsylvania. In response to this chain of events, Plaintiff
sued the City and Defendant Police Officers.
asserts a Monell claim against the City for
allegedly developing and maintaining a policy and custom
“exhibiting deliberate indifference to the
constitutional rights of citizens in the City of
Philadelphia.” Count II asserts a Section 1983 claim
against the Defendant Police Officers for false arrest and
malicious prosecution. Count III asserts a welter of
state-law claims against the Defendant Police Officers based
on their arrest of Plaintiff, including, inter alia,
false arrest, negligence, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Finally, Plaintiff asserts state-law
claims against Philadelphia for negligent hiring, retention,
and supervision of the Defendant Police Officers. Defendants
have moved to dismiss all of Plaintiff's Counts under
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “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) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint may not contain just
“labels and conclusions, ” for “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. In determining
the adequacy of a complaint, a court must “accept all
factual allegations as true [and] construe the complaint in
the light most favorable to plaintiff.” Warren.
Gen. Hosp. v. Amgen, Inc., 643 F.3d 77, 84 (3d Cir.
state a claim under Section 1983, “a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States, and must show that the
alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under
color of state law.” Abraham v. Raso, 183 F.3d
279, 287 (3d Cir. 1999) (quoting West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 48 (1988)). Under Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Svcs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978), a municipality can be
sued as a “person” under Section 1983 if it
unconstitutionally implements or executes “a policy
statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially
adopted and promulgated” by its governing bodies.
However, a municipality cannot be held liable solely on a
theory of respondeat superior. Id. at 691.
contend that all Counts should be dismissed as untimely under
the relevant statute of limitations. A statute of limitations
defense may be raised at the Rule 12(b)(6) stage only if the
time alleged in the claim “shows that the cause of
action has not been brought within the statute of
limitations.” Schmidt v. Skolas, 770 F.3d 241,
249 (3d Cir. 2014). Plaintiff's Complaint identifies two
important dates in support of his various Section 1983 claims
against both the City and Defendant Police Officers: the date
of his alleged false arrest and the date when the criminal
charges brought by the Philadelphia DA were dismissed.
Because Plaintiff has pleaded such specific dates,
Defendants' statute of limitations defense may be
considered at this juncture.
applicable statute of limitations for a Section 1983 claim
turns on the “state's statute of limitations for
personal injury.” Sameric Corp. of Del., Inc. v.
City of Phila., 142 F.3d 582, 599 (3d Cir. 1998). As
Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for personal injury
is two years, 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5524,
Plaintiff's Section 1983 claims are subject to a two-year
statute of limitations. Id. Plaintiff filed his
Complaint on December 26, 2017, so any viable Section 1983
claims would arise only from events that took place on or
after December 26, 2015. As to when Plaintiff's Section
1983 claims began to accrue, that occurred when he had
“a complete and present cause of action” - that
is, when ...