JONES v. PHILADELPHIA PARKING AUTHORITY et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE L. FELIPE RESTREPO ON 7/8/2014. 7/9/2014 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE AND E-MAILED.(sg, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
AUTHORITY, et. al
AND NOW, this 8th day of July, 2014, upon consideration of the Motion of defendant,
City of Philadelphia (“City”) to Dismiss (ECF Document 51), pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6), defendant’s brief in support thereof, and plaintiff’s Response thereto (ECF Doc. 54),1
and following oral argument by telephone, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 51) is GRANTED, and this case is DISMISSED in its entirety, without
prejudice, in accordance with this Order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that any remaining petitions, motions, and requests by
plaintiff are DISMISSED as moot.
Following plaintiff’s motion to proceed in forma pauperis, Judge Pratter granted the
motion to proceed and ordered the initial Complaint to be filed (Doc. 2). Judge Pratter
subsequently dismissed numerous claims against several named defendants, without prejudice
(Doc. 7). Plaintiff thereafter filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 9) and defendant, Philadelphia
Parking Authority (“PPA”), filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint (Doc. 14).
Although this case was assigned to the Hon. Gene E.K. Pratter, it was subsequently
reassigned to my calendar.
Plaintiff filed a response to the motion to dismiss (Doc. 17), and then filed a motion for leave to
file another Amended Complaint (Doc. 22). Judge Pratter denied plaintiff’s motion to file
another Amended Complaint and granted Philadelphia Parking Authority’s motion to dismiss
Plaintiff then filed a motion for summary judgment (Docs. 30, 31 & 37) and a motion
seeking leave to file a Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 34), and Judge Pratter granted in part
the motion to file a Second Amended Complaint and denied plaintiff’s motion for summary
judgment as moot (Doc. 38). In particular, plaintiff was granted leave to file a Second Amended
Complaint as to his claims against the City of Philadelphia (Doc. 38).
The Second Amended Complaint was filed (Doc. 39), and defendant City of Philadelphia
filed its Answer to the Amended Complaint (Doc. 41). Judge Pratter then ordered defendant City
to file a “marked-up or ‘redlined’ version of Plaintiff’s complaint” in accordance with the
Court’s previous Order which had provided a procedure for the City to file such a version of the
Complaint and an opportunity for plaintiff to object if desired (Docs. 43 & 38). After the City
complied, no objection was filed.
The case was thereafter reassigned to my calendar. Following defendant City’s motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim (Doc. 51), plaintiff’s response thereto (Doc. 54), and multiple
telephone conferences and oral argument (Doc. 49, 52, 57), the case became ripe for disposition.
Pursuant to the Court’s previous Orders and as the Court confirmed at conferences and
oral argument, plaintiff’s remaining claims in this action are his federal claims against the City of
Philadelphia, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, for alleged violations of his federal constitutional
rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments. Although the Second Amended
Complaint is far from a model of clarity, it appears to allege generally that the City has infringed
upon plaintiff’s right to travel on public roads, unlawfully searched and seized plaintiff and his
car(s), imposed illegal fines, and cited him for code violations “that are not crimes.”
In determining the sufficiency of a pro se Complaint the Court must construe the facts
stated in the Complaint liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519
(1972). However, a Complaint, including a pro se Complaint, must conform with the
requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 8(a) requires that the
Complaint be simple, concise, direct and set forth “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Leatherman v. Tarrant Cnty. Narcotics
Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993). Courts do not accept bald
assertions, unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast
in the form of factual allegations. The Supreme Court has instructed that Rule 8(a) “demands
more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation” or “naked assertions”
that are devoid of “factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal
quotations omitted). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id.
“To survive a motion to dismiss, ‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Sheridan v. NGK Metals
Corp., 609 F.3d 239, 262 n.27 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The plausibility standard “asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is
inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (the court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as
a factual allegation”) (internal quotation marks omitted). “While legal conclusions can provide
the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
Here, plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint relies on conclusory and insufficient
allegations. It alleges purported “facts” such as “the City of Philadelphia . . . infringed upon my
Right to Travel on the Public roads of the City,” and that plaintiff has been “unlawfully detained
and cited . . . for code violations that are not crimes.” The Second Amended Complaint does not
contain factual content sufficient to demonstrate that plaintiff is entitled to relief. See, e.g., Bey
v. Hillside Twp. Municipal Court, 2012 WL 714575, *7 (D. N.J. 2012). Moreover, the Second
Amended Complaint largely asserts legal conclusions, devoid of sufficient supporting factual
statements, and these legal conclusions are entitled to no weight. Santiago v. Warminster Twp.,
629 F.3d 121, 128 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).
Since the Second Amended Complaint does not “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,” see Sheridan, 609 F.3d at
262 n.27 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678), it cannot survive defendant’s motion to dismiss. In
that the Second Amended Complaint fails to comply with Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure and fails to state a claim by alleging sufficient facts to support a plausible claim on its
face, the Second Amended Complaint must be DISMISSED in its entirety.
“[I]f a [claim] is vulnerable to 12(b)(6) dismissal, a district court must permit a curative
amendment, unless an amendment would be inequitable or futile.” Wiest v. Lynch, 2014 WL
1490250, *8 (E.D. Pa. 2014) (quoting Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 236 (3d Cir.
2008)). Therefore, here, plaintiff will be given another opportunity, if so desired, and the Second
Amended Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice to plaintiff’s right to file a Third
Amended Complaint, if he can do so within the confines of Rule 11(b), see Fed. R. Civ. P. 11(b),
and in accordance with the Court’s previous Orders in this case, within twenty (20) days.
Otherwise, these claims are dismissed with prejudice.
BY THE COURT:
s/ L. Felipe Restrepo
L. FELIPE RESTREPO
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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