United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
case arises from an alleged encounter on the morning of
September 27, 2015 between plaintiff Wendell Lawson and
defendant Police Officer Reuben Ondarza. Lawson asserts
claims against Ondarza for excessive force in violation of
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, and for assault and battery under Pennsylvania state
law. Lawson also asserts a Monell claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Philadelphia
(“the City”) for the City's alleged failure
to properly supervise and discipline its police officers
generally, and Ondarza specifically, regarding the use of
force. Presently before the Court is the City's Motion
for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Court
grants the City's Motion for Summary Judgment.
testified in his deposition that on the morning of September
27, 2015, he was assaulted by a group of men in Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. Pl.'s Resp. Ex. C at 45:20-46:7. After the
assault, plaintiff called the police. Id. at
51:16-52:9. As plaintiff was speaking with police dispatch on
the telephone, he was approached by defendant Reuben Ondarza,
a police officer employed by the City. Id. at
52:23-53:5; Def. Statement Facts ¶ 1. Plaintiff
testified that Ondarza told plaintiff, “You're not
from around here, ” and pushed him to the ground.
Id. As a result, plaintiff suffered a separation of
his right shoulder that required reconstructive surgery. Am.
Compl. ¶10; Pl.'s Resp. Ex. D.
filed an Amended Complaint on December 15, 2017 (Document No.
5). Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on December 22, 2017
(Document No. 8). The Motion was granted in part and denied
in part by Memorandum and Order dated February 15, 2018
(Document Nos. 10, 11). The following claims remain in the
case: the claim of excessive force against Ondarza in
violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); the failure-to-supervise and
failure-to-discipline claims against the City (Count II); the
claim against Ondarza under Pennsylvania state law for
assault and battery (Count III).
11, 2019, the City filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
“on all claims made by” plaintiff. Plaintiff
responded on July 30, 2019 (Document No. 21). The City
replied on August 7, 2019 (Document No. 22). The Motion is
thus ripe for decision.
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.”
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. 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). 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.
Court interprets the City's Motion for Summary Judgment
“on all claims” made by plaintiff as a motion for
summary judgment on Count II of the Amended Complaint because
the City is only named as a defendant in that count and, in
its Motion, the ...