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Boyer v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

August 7, 2019

ANDRE BOYER, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, COMMISSIONER CHARLES RAMSEY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM

          DuBois, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pro se plaintiff, Andre Boyer, is an African American male who was employed by the City of Philadelphia (the “City”) as a police officer from 1997 until his termination in September 2013. Plaintiff alleges that, in terminating his employment, the City and former Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         The facts are set forth in detail in the Court's Memorandum dated February 22, 2019, (Document No. 148). The Court will not repeat the factual history here except as necessary to explain its decision.

         Summary judgment motions were originally filed in this case in April of 2017 (Document Nos. 60 & 61). On July 14, 2017, the Court granted defendant Angel Ortiz's motion for summary judgment and granted in part and denied in part defendants City of Philadelphia, Charles Ramsey, Roland Lee, and Karyn Baldini's (“City defendants”) motion for summary judgment. After that ruling, plaintiff's only remaining claims were (1) an Equal Protection claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against individual defendants Ramsey, Lee, Baldini, and “two Jane or John Does” and (2) a § 1983 Monell claim against the City with respect to its alleged custom of using different disciplinary proceedings for police officers based on their race.

         Following a Final Pretrial Conference on December 20, 2018, plaintiff's claims as to defendants Lee, Baldini, and “two Jane or John Does” were dismissed with prejudice after the parties submitted a Joint Statement of Uncontested Facts stating that neither Lee nor Baldini had any involvement in the decision to discipline and subsequently terminate plaintiff. Joint Stmt. Uncontested Facts 3. At that same conference, plaintiff identified three proposed comparators whose testimony he planned to introduce at trial in support of his claims-John McCloskey, Jeffrey Cujdik, [1] and Angel Ortiz. Dec. 20, 2018 Hr'g Tr. 34:1-47:11. When the Court asked plaintiff whether he had any other proposed comparators plaintiff said “I don't believe so.” Dec. 20, 2018 Hr'g Tr. 46:23-47:11.

         Based on plaintiff's representations at the Final Pretrial Conference, Defendants filed a Motion in Limine seeking to exclude plaintiff's proposed comparator evidence from McCloskey, Jeffrey Cujdik, and Ortiz on December 28, 2018. By Memorandum and Order dated February 22, 2019, the Court granted Defendant's motion in limine and excluded plaintiff's proposed comparator evidence from McCloskey, Jeffrey Cujdik, and Ortiz (Document No. 148).[2]

         Presently before the Court is Defendants City of Philadelphia and Charles Ramsey's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 152, filed April 18, 2019). Plaintiff did not file a timely response to this motion. On May 15, 2019, the Court ordered plaintiff to file and serve a response to the renewed motion for summary judgment on or before May 28, 2019 and stated “in the event plaintiff fails to comply with this Order, the Court will decide the Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment on the then-present state of the record without further notice to plaintiff.” May 15, 2019 Order at 2, Document No. 153. Plaintiff failed to comply with the May 15, 2019 Order. Accordingly, defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment is ripe for decision and the Court considers defendant's motion on the present state of the record.

         II. APPLICABLE LAW

         The Court will grant a motion for summary judgment if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is material when it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         The Court's role at the summary judgment stage “is not . . . to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether . . . there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Id. at 249. However, the existence of a mere “scintilla” of evidence in support of the nonmoving party is insufficient. Id. at 252. In making this determination, “the court is required to examine the evidence of record in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment, and resolve all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Wishkin v. Potter, 476 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal citations omitted). The party opposing summary judgment must, however, identify evidence that supports each element on which it has the burden of proof. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.

         “A moving party may renew a motion for summary judgment notwithstanding denial of an earlier motion by showing a different set of facts or some other reason justifying renewal of the motion.” Carnegie Mellon Univ. v. Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., 148 F.Supp.2d 1004, 1010 (N.D. Cal. 2001), aff'd, 541 F.3d 1115 (Fed. Cir. 2008).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Plaintiffs has two remaining claims: (1) a Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection claim against Charles Ramsey, and (2) a Monell claim against the City asserting a custom of using different disciplinary proceedings based on race. Defendants argue that summary judgment must be granted on both of plaintiff's claims ...


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