United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
R. Sánchez, C.J.
Ronald Byrd brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Special Agent Patrick
Mangold, City of Philadelphia Police Officer Gregory
Gillespie, former Philadelphia District Attorney Seth
Williams, former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane,
the City of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. Byrd alleges violations of his Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights arising out of his arrest and
prosecution on charges that were ultimately withdrawn. Byrd
asserts constitutional claims for false arrest, false
imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. He also asserts a
host of related state law claims. All Defendants move to
dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Commonwealth
and former Attorney General Kane also move to dismiss the
Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Because Byrd's
constitutional claims are barred by the applicable statute of
limitations, the Court will grant Defendants' motions to
dismiss as to those claims, which will be dismissed with
prejudice. Byrd's state law claims will be dismissed
without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).
Finally, because the Commonwealth and former Attorney General
Kane are entitled to sovereign immunity, the Court will grant
their motions and dismiss all claims against them with
25, 2015, Defendant Special Agent Patrick Mangold applied for
a search warrant to search for firearms at a residence
located at 2234 W. Ontario Street, Philadelphia (the
Residence). Compl. ¶ 14. In his sworn Affidavit of
Probable Cause in support of the search warrant (the Search
Warrant Affidavit), Agent Mangold described an exchange of
firearms that occurred at the Residence on July 24, 2015.
Id. He alleged that a credible and reliable source
identified Nyeem Gordon as an individual who exchanged
firearms with Melanie Barbour, the alleged girlfriend of
Nyeem Gordon's brother, Hakeem Gordon, at the Residence,
where Barbour lived. The Search Warrant Affidavit stated
Barbour, on behalf of Hakeem Gordon, provided Nyeem Gordon
with a .38 caliber revolver in exchange for a .40 caliber
Glock handgun, on July 24, 2015.
that same day, Agent Mangold, accompanied by Philadelphia
SWAT Unit Police Officers, executed the search warrant at the
Residence. Police recovered a .40 caliber Glock handgun and
other firearms from the Residence. After executing the search
warrant, Agent Mangold presented Barbour with an Instagram
photograph of Byrd. Compl. ¶ 18. Barbour initially told
Agent Mangold that Byrd was not the person who gave her the
.40 caliber Glock handgun. Id. ¶ 20. She later
identified Byrd and signed a statement falsely implicating
him in the gun exchange after Agent Mangold threatened her
with immediate arrest if she did not do so. Id.
¶¶ 19, 21-22.
September 16, 2015, Agent Mangold sought a warrant for
Byrd's arrest. In the Affidavit of Probable Cause in
support of the arrest warrant (the Arrest Warrant Affidavit),
Agent Mangold falsely alleged that on July 25, 2015, the same
reliable and credible source who provided the information in
the Search Warrant Affidavit identified Byrd as the
individual who transferred the .40 caliber Glock handgun to
Barbour, identified Albert Shields as Barbour's
boyfriend, and alleged Shields and Byrd conspired to
illegally transfer firearms. Agent Mangold, through the
Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, filed felony
firearm charges against Byrd and Shields. Barbour was neither
arrested nor prosecuted.
September 17, 2015, Byrd was arrested and charged with three
violations of the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act and
criminal conspiracy. Id. ¶ 26. Byrd's
preliminary arraignment was held on September 18, 2015.
See Def. Williams's Ex. A (municipal court
docket), ECF No. 7-1. At the arraignment, Agent Mangold
requested a high bail of $750, 000, which Byrd was unable to
pay. As a result, Byrd remained incarcerated while the
criminal charges were pending.
Byrd's preliminary hearing, Agent Mangold and Defendant
Officer Gregory Gillespie conspired to present false
testimony against Byrd. Officer Gillespie testified that on
July 24, 2015, at approximately 1:00 p.m., he personally
observed Byrd exit the front passenger seat of an Audi A8 and
enter the Residence. Compl. ¶ 31. He further falsely
represented that he observed Byrd exit the Residence and
re-enter the front passenger side of the Audi A8, which then
drove away. Id. Byrd alleges Agent Mangold also
presented false testimony to the court by asserting Byrd was
involved in illegally transferring firearms on July 24, 2015.
Id. ¶ 32.
was subsequently held for trial on all charges, and his case
was transferred to the Court of Common Pleas. On November 5,
2015, the Commonwealth, through the Philadelphia District
Attorney's Office, provided Byrd with “partial
criminal discovery” pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of
Criminal Procedure 573; however, the Search Warrant Affidavit
was “conspicuously omitted from the discovery package
provided to Byrd.” Id. ¶ 35. Byrd
repeatedly requested the Search Warrant Affidavit, but it was
never produced to him. Id. ¶ 36. On March 14,
2016, the Commonwealth and Philadelphia District
Attorney's Office withdrew all charges against Byrd.
a year later, on February 6, 2017, Byrd received a copy of
the Search Warrant Affidavit from Shields, his co-defendant
in the criminal case, and learned for the first time the
facts described therein. Id. ¶ 37. Byrd alleges
Defendants maliciously and willfully obstructed him from
securing the Search Warrant Affidavit.
filed this action on February 4, 2019, asserting
constitutional claims for false arrest, false imprisonment,
and malicious prosecution in violation of his Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights. He also alleges state tort
claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious
prosecution, abuse of process, assault and battery, civil
conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
According to the Complaint, Byrd sues Agent Mangold and
Officer Gillespie in their official and individual
capacities. He also asserts claims against former Attorney
General Kathleen Kane, former Philadelphia District Attorney
Seth Williams, the City of Philadelphia, and the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania. All Defendants have moved separately to
dismiss the Complaint. The Court heard oral argument on the
motions on October 7, 2019.
withstand dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
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.'” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible when
the facts pleaded “allow the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id.
statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that
ordinarily should be raised in a defendant's answer.
See Robinson v. Johnson, 313 F.3d 128, 134-35 (3d
Cir. 2002). The statute of limitations may be raised in a
motion to dismiss only when “the time alleged in the
statement of a 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).
Unless the time bar is apparent on the face of the complaint,
it may not afford the basis for dismissal of the complaint
under Rule 12(b)(6). See Id. While a court may
entertain a motion to dismiss on statute of limitations
grounds, it may not allocate the burden of invoking ...