United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
TIMOTHY J. SAVAGE, J.
Bernard Scott, a prisoner incarcerated at the Philadelphia
Detention Center, brings this pro se civil action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking damages for
injuries he sustained while being transported by a police
officer. He seeks to proceed in forma pauperis. We
shall grant Scott leave to proceed in forma pauperis
and dismiss his Complaint without prejudice for failure to
state a claim.
names as defendants the City of Philadelphia, the
Philadelphia Police Department, and police officers Robert
Heeney and Katie Lankford. He alleges that on October 7,
2018, Heeney arrested him and placed him in the back of a
patrol car. Because he refused to provide Heeney with
identification, Heeney transported him to the police station.
Lankford identified him, Heeney drove away at a high rate of
speed with Lankford following in her car. According to Scott,
while he was in the police vehicle, Heeney slammed on the
brakes when he tried to roll down the window, causing him to
slide forward, hit his head on the back of the front seat,
and pass out. As a result, he sustained injuries and was
taken to the hospital, where he awoke with intravenous tubes
in his arms and a heart monitor.
seeks damages for “pain and suffering, mental anguish,
emotional distress, deliberate indifference, excessive force,
assault and battery.” He also alleges that he lost his
business and work vehicle, and that his home was foreclosed
upon because he was incarcerated.
it appears that he is not capable of paying the fees to
commence this civil action, Scott will be granted leave to
proceed in forma pauperis. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), we must dismiss the Complaint if it
fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a
claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same
standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v.
McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which
means the 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.
Because Scott is proceeding pro se, we construe his
allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655
F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
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).
For the following reasons, Scott has not stated a claim
against the defendants.
Philadelphia Police Department is not a separate entity from
the City and is not a person subject to suit under §
1983. See Gremo v. Karlin, 363 F.Supp.2d 771, 780
(E.D. Pa. 2005); see also 53 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann.
§ 16257. Therefore, we shall dismiss Scott's claims
against the Philadelphia Police Department.
state a § 1983 claim against a municipality, a plaintiff
must allege that the 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). A
plaintiff may also state a basis for municipal liability by
“alleging failure-to-supervise, train, or discipline .
. . [and alleging facts showing] that said failure amounts to
deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of those
affected.” Forrest v. Parry, --- F.3d ---, No.
16-4351, 2019 WL 2998601, at *8 (3d Cir. July 10, 2019).
“This consists of a showing as to whether (1) municipal
policymakers know that ...