United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
ANTHONY K. KEFFER, Plaintiff,
THE CITY OF CONNELLSVILLE et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION ECF NO. 45
Pupo Lenihan, United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court in this civil rights action is a Motion to
Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
filed by Defendant City of Connellsville. (ECF No. 45.) For
the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with prejudice.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Brief Procedural History
March 15, 2017, Plaintiff Anthony K. Keffer
("Plaintiff), pro se, initiated the present lawsuit by
filing a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis which
was granted on April 10, 2017. On April 11, 2017, the
Complaint was filed alleging that Defendants acted with the
purpose and intent of depriving Plaintiff of his rights under
the United States Constitution. (ECF No. 5.)
response to Plaintiffs Complaint, Defendant City of
Connellsville ("Connellsville") filed a Motion to
Dismiss the Complaint on September 25, 2017, under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No.
13.) Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to the Motion to
Dismiss. (ECF No. 26.)
January 19, 2018, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion
granting Connellsville's motion as it related to
Plaintiffs claims for failure to train and failure supervise
without prejudice to Plaintiff filing an amended complaint.
(ECF No. 31.) The Court denied the motion as it related to
the statute of limitations defense without prejudice to the
renewal of the statute of limitations defense on a motion for
summary judgement. (Id.) On the same day, the Court
issued a corresponding Order instructing Plaintiff to file
any amended complaint no later than February 5, 2018. (ECF
No. 32.) After the Court granted Plaintiffs two motions for
extension of time to amend his Complaint, Plaintiff was
instructed to file an amended complaint by March 15, 2018.
(ECF Nos. 34 & 38.) On March 15, 2018, Plaintiff filed
his First Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 39.)
March 28, 2018, the Court issued an Order stating in relevant
Plaintiff. . . stated in his Amended Complaint that he
re-alleges and incorporates all claims made in his Original
Complaint. (ECF No. 39 at Introduction, p.2.)
The Filing of an amended complaint completely
replaces any previous complaint filed in a civil action, and
therefore, the Court will not incorporate claims from the
Original Complaint that are not fully set out in the Amended
complaint... . [T]he Court will strike Plaintiffs
Amended Complaint at ECF No. 39, and grant Plaintiff leave to
file an amended complaint by April 18, 2018.
(ECF No. 40) (emphasis in original).
subsequently filed his new Amended Complaint on April 18,
2018, and despite the Court's instruction, attempted to
reincorporate factual claims made in the Original Complaint
by stating, "Plaintiff does incorporate section IV Facts
of Original Complaint 14 through 51 and remov[es] any
references to claims dismissed against any prior defendants
excluding surviving claims against any defendants) for
failure to train." (ECF No. 41 at Introduction.) Then,
on May 4, 2018, Connellsville filed the present Motion to
Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure with supporting brief. (ECF Nos. 45 & 46.) The
Court issued an Order instructing Plaintiff to file his
responsive brief by May 30, 2018. (ECF No. 47.) Plaintiff
then filed a Motion for Extension of Time until June 13, 2018
to file a response to any pending motions to dismiss. (ECF
No. 48.) On June 1, 2018, the Court granted the motion. (ECF
No. 49.) Plaintiff has failed to file any further motions for
extension of time. He has filed no response to the present
Motion to Dismiss.
because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will
consider all relevant allegations stated in both his Original
and Amended Complaints in its analysis of the present Motion
to Dismiss. (ECF Nos. 5 & 41.) Additionally, the Court
will consider Plaintiffs brief in response (ECF No. 26) to
Connellsville's initial Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 13).
Relevant Factual Allegations
alleges the following facts in his Original and Amended
Complaints, which the Court accepts as true for the purposes
of the Motion to Dismiss. (ECF Nos. 5 & 41.) Plaintiff
avers that all relevant times, Defendant Ryan Reese
("Reese") was a police officer employed by the City
of Connellsville Police Department. (Amend. Compl. ¶ 4,
ECF No. 41.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant
Connellsville is responsible for the polices, practices, and
customs of its employees. (Id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff
asserts that Connellsville had a duty to train and discipline
its employees for unlawful conduct. (Id.
¶¶ 5, 6.) Plaintiff also asserts that in 2002 or
2003, Reese was assigned to the Fayette County Drug Task
Force, "a coordinated effort among local municipal
police departments and the Office of Attorney General to
investigate violations of the state Controlled Substances,
Drug[s], Device and Cosmetic Act." (Id. ¶
19.) Plaintiff contends that Reese was appointed as the
supervisor of the task force in 2009, but "[a]t some
point," was removed from this position and continued
working with the task force. (Id.)
September 30, 2009, Plaintiff was arrested by Defendant Reese
based on evidence provided by a confidential informant
regarding a controlled purchase of Oxycontin. (Compl. ¶
14, ECF No. 5.) Plaintiff was charged with Possession with
the Intent to Deliver and remanded to Fayette County Prison.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Reese
fabricated and falsified the evidence leading to his arrest.
(Id.) Plaintiff also avers that Reese knowingly
utilized a confidential informant who had no personal
knowledge of any prior criminal activity by Plaintiff.
(Id. ¶ 56.) Plaintiff further alleges that
Reese was aware that the confidential informant was offering
his services in the hopes of leniency for a criminally
charged family member. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 56.)
September 9, 2010, Plaintiff was convicted of all charges.
(Id. ¶ 19.) On September 23, 2010, Plaintiff
was sentenced to 27 to 54 months of incarceration.
(Id. ¶ 20.) After a series of appeals,
Plaintiff was awarded a new trial. (Id. ¶¶
22-24, 28-30, 32.) Eventually, a nol pros was entered in the
Court of Common Pleas for Fayette County citing the
Commonwealth's inability to sustain its burden of proof
against Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 50.) Plaintiff
alleges that Connellsville failed to develop required
policies and procedures to properly train Defendant Reese
resulting in the deprivation of Plaintiff s civil rights.
(Amend. Compl. ¶ 20, ECF No. 41.) Additionally,
Plaintiff alleges that Connellsville knew or should have
known of the illegal conduct of Defendant Reese but failed to
properly supervise or discipline him to discourage his
unlawful abuse of authority. (Id. ¶¶
22-25.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on November 1,
2012, Reese was suspended from the Attorney General's
taskforce because he admitted to having sexual relations with
female informants. (Id. ¶ 19.) At this time
through February 2013, the task force supervisor met several
times with the Connellsville Police Chief, Mayor, and others.
(Id.) During these meetings, Reese's sexual
conduct with two female confidential informants was
discussed. (Id.) The Police Chief was also informed
that in addition to Reese's admission to sexual contact
with the two female informants, further allegations were made
by six other women that from 2005 to 2012, he engaged in
sexual relations with them in exchange for money and/or
drugs. (Id.) Other allegations conveyed to the
Police Chief included that Reese paid a woman to plant
controlled substances in a residence and that he had stolen
money from drug suspects. (Id.) It was also alleged
that Reese took women with whom he was having sexual
relations along with him in a Connellsville police patrol
when responding to police calls. (Id.) On February
11, 2013, Reese was dismissed from the task force.
(Id.) The reasons for the dismissal included the
information learned during the task force supervisor's
November 9, 2016, Reese was convicted of corruption of a
minor due to his conduct while interacting with confidential
informants. (Id. ¶ 14.) On December 12, 2017,
Defendant Reese was convicted of "Official
Oppression-Arrest Search etc." due to his conduct while
interacting with confidential informants. (Id.
¶ 15.) In instituting the present suit, Plaintiff seeks
to hold Defendant City of Connellsville liable under
Monell v. Dep 't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658
STANDARD OF REVIEW
deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Courts
apply the following standard as ...