MARTINEZ v. FREUND et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE EDUARDO C. ROBRENO ON 4/10/15. 4/10/15 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(ti, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
HECTOR R. MARTINEZ,
BASTIAN FREUND et al.,
M E M O R A N D U M
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.
April 10, 2015
Plaintiff Hector R. Martinez brings this civil rights
action against Defendant Philadelphia Police Officer James W.
Arentzen. Plaintiff claims Defendant subjected him to false
arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution, in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as malicious prosecution,
false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress, in violation of state law. Defendant has moved for
summary judgment and, for the reasons that follow, the Court
will grant the motion.
On October 12, 2011, a robbery took place at Hyperion
Bank on Girard Avenue in Philadelphia (“the Hyperion Robbery”).
Compl. ¶ 11. Defendant,2 as lead investigator, interviewed three
witnesses: the bank teller complainant/victim, the bank teller
at the next counter over, and a bank customer service
representative. Pl.’s Br. 5-8;3 Def.’s Br. Ex. 1, Aff. Probable
Cause 2. Defendant presented to each witness a “photo array
consisting of eight colored photos of males,” but none was able
to identify the perpetrator. Aff. Probable Cause 2. On October
20, 2011, bank surveillance photographs taken during the robbery
were published in the Philadelphia Daily News under the “Catch
Me if You Can” segment. Id. As is evident from a photograph that
ran in a later story reporting on Plaintiff’s arrest, at least
one surveillance photograph published in the Daily News showed
“the alleged bank robber from the waist up to the head and
including the fingers on the left hand.” Pl.’s Br. 12; see also
id. Ex. A (reproducing a Philly.com article with the
surveillance photograph). As Plaintiff notes, the face in the
In accordance with the appropriate standard of review
for motions for summary judgment, the Court views the facts in
the light most favorable to Plaintiff as the nonmoving party.
As noted in the Procedural History section below, the
only Defendant remaining in the case is Police Officer Arentzen.
Because Plaintiff’s brief lacks page numbers, the
Court refers to those imposed by ECF.
photograph is “obstructed by glasses, a hat, and a hoody,”
although “the alleged robber’s left hand is clearly visible”-albeit only to the second knuckles of three or four fingers.
Pl.’s Br. 12; see also id. Ex. A. After the “Catch Me if You
Can” story ran, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“the FBI”)
received two tips identifying the man in the surveillance
photograph as Plaintiff. Aff. Probable Cause 2. Thereupon,
Defendant placed Plaintiff’s photograph in an array and again
presented it to the three witnesses. Id. This time, the bank
teller who had been working at the counter next to the
complainant identified Plaintiff as the bank robber. Id.
On October 27, 2011, after swearing out the Affidavit
of Probable Cause and obtaining an Arrest Warrant, Defendant
arrested Plaintiff for the Hyperion Robbery and charged him with
robbery, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property,
possessing instruments of crime, terroristic threats, simple
assault, and recklessly endangering another person. Pl.’s Br.
15; Compl. ¶ 12. Unable to afford the cost of posting bail,
Plaintiff remained in jail until his first preliminary hearing
on November 16, 2011, at which point he was released on
condition of house arrest. Compl. ¶¶ 13-14, 18, 23; Pl.’s Br.
Ex. B, Municipal Court Docket 3. On December 22, 2011, after a
number of additional hearings, Plaintiff’s criminal charges were
dropped. Compl. ¶ 24.
Plaintiff alleges that, upon his arrest and during his
detention, Defendant possessed information indicating that
Plaintiff could not have committed the Hyperion Robbery.
Specifically, Plaintiff has a skin condition known as
hyperlipidemia type II that causes giant warts to grow on his
hands. Id. ¶ 19; see also Pl.’s Br. 19. He alleges that, due to
this “obvious” “physical abnormality,” Defendant “knew or should
have know[n] that plaintiff was not the bank robber . . .
[since] [he] even had photographs of the real robber’s hands and
the plaintiff’s hands.” Compl. ¶¶ 19, 25. Plaintiff stresses
that Defendant “should have, at the very least, analyzed and
investigated, [sic] the evidence that was available to [him].”
Id. ¶ 26.
In light of these allegations, Plaintiff claims that
his arrest, detention, and prosecution were intentional
violations of his civil rights. Id. ¶¶ 31-32. He has pled the
following claims: civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Count I); malicious prosecution and malicious abuse of process
of law (Count II); false imprisonment (Count III); and
intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count IV). Id.
¶¶ 40-53. Accordingly, he seeks compensatory damages, punitive
damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
On October 28, 2013, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in
federal court. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff initially sued FBI Special
Agent Bastian Freund and Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth
Williams, as well as Police Officer Arentzen. Compl. ¶¶ 3-5.
However, on March 11, 2014, per the parties’ stipulation, the
Court ordered all claims against Defendant Williams dismissed.
ECF No. 20. On April 29, 2014, upon Defendant Freund’s motion to
dismiss and Plaintiff’s concession thereto, the Court dismissed
all claims against Defendant Freund. ECF No. 27. Accordingly,
Defendant Arentzen is the only remaining defendant in the case.
On February 12, 2014, Defendant filed an Answer. ECF
No. 13. During discovery, a dispute arose that led to
Defendant’s filing of a motion to compel on July 22, 2014. ECF
No. 28. In resolving the motion to compel, the Court ordered
Plaintiff to submit to a deposition. ECF No. 30. The Court also
noted “Plaintiff’s complete failure to respond to Defendant’s
discovery requests,” and imposed the following sanctions: “[a]ny
and all claims for lost wages are dismissed,” and “Plaintiff is
not entitled to any additional discovery.” ECF No. 30. On
September 11, 2014, following the close of discovery, Defendant
filed a motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 31. The Plaintiff
has responded (ECF Nos. 33, 34) and Defendant has filed a reply
(ECF No. 35). The motion is ripe for disposition.
III. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). “A motion
for summary judgment will not be defeated by ‘the mere
existence’ of some disputed facts, but will be denied when there
is a genuine issue of material fact.” Am. Eagle Outfitters v.
Lyle & Scott Ltd., 584 F.3d 575, 581 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)). A
fact is “material” if proof of its existence or nonexistence
might affect the outcome of the litigation, and a dispute is
“genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
The Court will view the facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. “After making all reasonable
inferences in the nonmoving party’s favor, there is a genuine
issue of material fact if a reasonable jury could find for the
nonmoving party.” Pignataro v. Port Auth., 593 F.3d 265, 268 (3d
Cir. 2010). While the moving party bears the initial burden of
showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, meeting
this obligation shifts the burden to the nonmoving party who
must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 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).
Here, Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights were violated when Defendant falsely arrested, falsely
imprisoned, and maliciously prosecuted him.4
There appears to be a slight discrepancy as to which
violations form the basis of Plaintiff’s claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint that Defendant
violated his “federal civil rights as guaranteed by 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 by falsely arresting, imprisoning, and charging him with
bank robbery.” Compl. ¶ 1. Count I bears the byline “Civil
Rights Violations” and accuses Defendant of violating
Plaintiff’s “right to be secure in his person and property, his
right to be free from the [sic] unlawful detention, to be free
from unlawful seizure of his person and from false arrest, and
to [sic] due process of law.” Id. ¶ 43. Defendant, on the other
hand, characterizes the § 1983 claim as based only on “federal
false arrest” and “federal malicious prosecution,” Def.’s Br. 1,
a position which Plaintiff does not correct in his response:
“[Plaintiff is] alleging federal claims for violations of
plaintiff’s Civil Rights pursuant to his right to be free from
False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution and state law claims for
Malicious Prosecution, False Arrest, False Imprisonment, and
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.” Pl.’s Br. 26. It
is thus unclear whether Plaintiff has pled false imprisonment as
part of his § 1983 claim. The Court follows the language of
Count I and the Complaint generally, and will analyze the claim
as including false imprisonment, along with false arrest and
Defendant, as a government official, may be shielded
from liability resulting from Plaintiff’s claim if qualified
immunity applies. “The doctrine of qualified immunity protects
government officials ‘from liability for civil damages insofar
as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory
or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have
known.’” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009) (quoting
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). The Supreme
Court requires courts to make two inquiries in determining
whether to award qualified immunity: whether the official
violated one of the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, and
whether that right was clearly established at the time of the
incident. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 200 (2001). Courts may
consider these inquiries in any sequence they wish. Pearson, 555
U.S. at 236. In particular, the clearly established inquiry
“turns on the ‘objective legal reasonableness of the action,
assessed in light of the legal rules that were clearly
established at the time it was taken.’” Id. at 244 (quoting
Wilson v. Layne, 526 U.S. 603, 614 (1999)).
In what follows, the Court will address whether
Defendant has violated Plaintiff’s constitutional rights and
whether Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity.
The success of a false arrest claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 depends upon the existence of probable cause. As the
Third Circuit has held, “the Fourth Amendment prohibits a police
officer from arresting a citizen except upon probable cause.”
Orsatti v. N.J. State Police, 71 F.3d 480, 482 (3d Cir. 1995)
(citing Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156, 169
The Third Circuit has held that “[p]robable cause to
arrest requires more than mere suspicion; however, it does not
require that the officer have evidence sufficient to prove guilt
beyond a reasonable doubt.” Orsatti, 71 F.3d at 482-83. Rather,
an arresting officer has probable cause “when the facts and
circumstances within [his] knowledge are sufficient in
themselves to warrant a reasonable person to believe that an
offense has been or is being committed by the person to be
arrested.” Id. at 483; see also Beck v. Ohio, 379 U.S. 89, 91
(1964) (requiring the officer at the moment of arrest to have
“had reasonably trustworthy information . . . sufficient to
warrant a prudent man in believing that [the imminent arrestee]
had committed or was committing an offense”).
Here, the circumstances surrounding Plaintiff’s arrest
support a finding that probable cause existed. As noted above,
Defendant arrested Plaintiff after swearing out an Affidavit of
Probable Cause and obtaining an Arrest Warrant from a
magistrate. In addition, Defendant triangulated the evidence
from the tipsters and the bank teller eyewitness in determining
probable cause. See Def.’s Reply Br. 3 (“Detective Arentzen used
a totality-of-the-circumstances approach.” (citing Illinois v.
Gates, 462 U.S. 213 (1983))). Plaintiff neither “contest[s] the
validity of the tipster and witness identification,” Def.’s Br.
6, nor provides any independent evidence challenging Defendant’s
finding of probable cause. Rather, Plaintiff attempts to
enshroud in doubt Defendant’s actions leading up to the arrest
by indicating several perceived weaknesses in the Affidavit.
These include: (1) the bank witnesses were asked to identify the
perpetrator from an array of eight photographs, even though the
“alleged robber [was] covered by large dark sunglasses and a
hoody,” Pl.’s Br. 8; (2) the “bank surveillance video footage”
was not attached to the Affidavit, id. at 9; (3) neither the
photograph arrays, nor any photographs at all, were included in
the Affidavit, id. at 9-10; (4) the descriptions of the other
individuals in the photograph arrays were not included in the
Affidavit, id. at 10-11; (5) only one witness--the bank customer
service representative5--could later identify the robber, id. at
Plaintiff states incorrectly that the identifying
witness was the bank customer service representative. Rather, as
11; (6) the picture printed in the Daily News shows a robber too
obscured by sunglasses, hat, and “hoody” to help a tipster make
an identification; id. at 12; (7) the Daily News picture shows
part of the robber’s left hand, which apparently has no visible
warts, id.; and (8) Defendant “should have seen [Plaintiff’s]
hands” at the time of the arrest, and therefore known that
Plaintiff was not the robber, id. at 21. Although Plaintiff
provides additional examples, these relate to the period after
his arrest, and therefore are not relevant for determining the
crucial question of whether probable cause existed at the time
of his arrest. See Beck, 379 U.S. at 91 (locating the probable
cause inquiry “at the moment the arrest was made”). In addition,
Plaintiff’s legal argument notes in particular the lack of
photographs attached to the Affidavit, and contends that
“[t]here is not sufficient information upon which a reasonable
officer could act.” Pl.’s Br. 31, 33. Aside from this and other
patently conclusory statements, Plaintiff offers no argument.
Plaintiff appears to believe the Affidavit’s alleged
problems speak for themselves in damning the document’s ability
to support probable cause. They do not. Proceeding through the
litany of “disturbing” factors and weaknesses Plaintiff alleges
the Affidavit makes clear, it was the bank teller next to the
complainant/victim who made the identification. Aff. Probable
the Affidavit to contain, id. at 8, the Court notes the
following. First, the fact that one eyewitness believed he was
able to identify the robber from the photograph array militates
against Plaintiff’s contention that the robber was too covered
up to be identifiable. Similarly, as Defendant notes, the fact
that two tipsters believed they were able to identify the robber
counters Plaintiff’s argument that the picture printed in the
Daily News did not provide sufficient detail. See Def.’s Reply
Br. 3. Second, as Defendant asserts, the Affidavit itself only
references bank photographs, not a surveillance video, and
Plaintiff does not provide evidence that such a video exists,
other than his own deposition testimony. See Aff. Probable Cause
2; Def.’s Reply Br. 2; Def.’s Br. Ex. 3, Martinez Dep. 26:727:2, Aug. 29, 2014.
Third, as Defendant notes, Plaintiff insinuates but
offers no evidence that Defendant’s use of the photograph arrays
to obtain identifications was flawed or fraudulent in any way.
See Def.’s Reply Br. 2. Without providing the other pictures
allegedly used in the investigation, Plaintiff has not
sufficiently undermined the identification process.
Fourth, the fact that only one eyewitness identified
Plaintiff as the robber does not destroy probable cause.
Extraneous factors such as sightlines, recall, and shock may
have prevented the other eyewitnesses from making an
identification. But, more importantly, it is “well-established”
that “probable cause may be based on a single and reasonably
reliable eyewitness identification.” Greene v. City of Phila.,
No. 97-4264, 1998 WL 254062, at *7 (E.D. Pa. May 8, 1998); see
also Wilson v. Russo, 212 F.3d 781, 790 (3d Cir. 2000) (holding
that “a positive identification by a victim witness, without
more, would usually be sufficient to establish probable cause,”
absent “[i]ndependent exculpatory evidence or substantial
evidence of the witness’s own unreliability that is known by the
arresting officers”). Plaintiff has not provided anything other
than conjecture to show that the eyewitness was unreliable or
that his identification was faulty.
Finally, the question of whether Defendant should have
seen the warts on Plaintiff’s hands and realized that he could
not have been the robber is something of a red herring. In this
case, Defendant obtained eyewitness and tipster identification,
drafted and swore out the Affidavit, and obtained the Arrest
Warrant, all before ever setting eyes on Plaintiff. At this
point, probable cause indisputably existed. It cannot be
undermined by Defendant’s alleged failure to recognize the
importance of the warts at the time of the arrest. At most, the
warts represent a “trivial discrepancy” that is more than offset
by the inculpatory evidence Defendant already possessed.6 See
Lallemand v. Univ. of R.I., 9 F.3d 214, 217 (1st Cir. 1993)
(“The discrepancies concerning assailant’s first name, hair
style, dormitory and height are trivial, given their nature and
the positive identification of Lallemand by Eckman.”); see also
Wilson, 212 F.3d at 792-93 (affirming a finding of probable
cause supported by positive identification, despite
discrepancies related to the defendant’s height, identification,
and location at the time of the incident); White v. Brown, No.
08-606, 2010 WL 1740717, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 28, 2010)
(Robreno, J.) (finding probable cause based on positive
eyewitness identification, even though eyewitness’s initial
description of perpetrator’s braided hair did not match the
defendant’s unbraided hair). Defendant’s knowledge of the warts
may be relevant on a different claim, but they do not support
the false arrest claim.
For all the reasons given above, Plaintiff has not
established a lack of probable cause, and his false arrest claim
under § 1983 must therefore fail.
Furthermore, Plaintiff has not effectively answered
the obvious question of whether Defendant should reasonably have
known that the skin condition was permanent--or even that it
existed in the same form at the time of the robbery, more than
two weeks before the arrest.
“A false imprisonment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 is
based on the Fourteenth Amendment protection against
deprivations of liberty without due process of law.” Groman v.
Twp. of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 636 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Baker
v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 142 (1979)). In this context, the
Fourth Amendment--as incorporated through the Fourteenth-“requires the States to provide a fair and reliable
determination of probable cause as a condition for any
significant pretrial restraint of liberty.” Baker, 443 U.S. at
142 (citing Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 125 (1975)).
Accordingly, “an arrest based on probable cause [cannot] become
the source of a claim for false imprisonment.” Groman, 47 F.3d
at 636 (citing Baker, 443 U.S. at 143-44)).7
Here, the Court has already established that the
circumstances surrounding Plaintiff’s arrest support a finding
of probable cause. Because Plaintiff is not able to show a lack
of probable cause, his false imprisonment claim under § 1983
necessarily founders. See id.
Notably, the Supreme Court has also held that
“since the probable cause standard for pretrial detention is the
same as that for arrest, a person arrested pursuant to a warrant
issued by a magistrate on a showing of probable-cause is not
constitutionally entitled to a separate judicial determination
that there is probable cause to detain him pending trial.”
Baker, 443 U.S. at 143.
In order to prevail on a § 1983 malicious prosecution
claim, a plaintiff must show the following:
(1) the defendants initiated a criminal proceeding;
(2) the criminal proceeding ended in the plaintiff’s
favor; (3) the proceeding was initiated without
probable cause; (4) the defendants acted maliciously
or for a purpose other than bringing the plaintiff to
justice; and (5) the plaintiff suffered a deprivation
of liberty consistent with the concept of seizure as a
consequence of a legal proceeding.
DiBella v. Borough of Beachwood, 407 F.3d 599, 601 (3d Cir.
2005) (quoting Estate of Smith v. Marasco, 318 F.3d 497, 521 (3d
The parties dispute whether the first, third, and
fourth elements of a malicious prosecution claim have been
satisfied in this case. Regarding the first element--initiating
a criminal proceeding--“a plaintiff can only proceed against a
police officer under a malicious prosecution theory” (i.e., show
that the officer “initiated” the proceeding) “if the officer
‘knowingly provided false information to the prosecutor or
otherwise interfered with the prosecutor’s informed
discretion.’” Domenech v. City of Phila., 06-1325, 2009 WL
1109316, at *8 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 23, 2009) (quoting Harris v. City
of Phila., No. 97-3666, 1998 WL 481061, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 14,
Defendant asserts that the District Attorney’s office
used the Affidavit of Probable Cause in order to assess whether
to initiate the proceedings and bring charges against Plaintiff.
Def.’s Br. 7. Because neither Plaintiff nor any of the evidence
produced in this case contradicts this assertion, the Court will
assume that the decision to initiate the proceedings followed
this course. As a result, in order to survive summary judgment
on this claim, Plaintiff must show either that the Affidavit
Defendant submitted was knowingly false or lacked information
material to the finding of probable cause. See Domenech, 2009 WL
1109316, at *8. Aside from hoping that the Court will make a
negative inference from the Affidavit’s “weaknesses” (see False
Arrest section above), Plaintiff provides no evidence that
Defendant knowingly submitted false information or omitted
material exculpatory facts in the Affidavit. As determined
above, Plaintiff has failed to show a lack of probable cause in
this case; he therefore fails to establish that Defendant
See also id. at 8-9 (noting that the Third Circuit has
not ruled directly on whether an investigating police officer
can be held liable for malicious prosecution, but citing
numerous district court opinions and the Second Restatement of
Torts in support of this proposition); Carney v. Pennsauken Twp.
Police Dep’t, No. 14-1844, 2015 WL 294379, at *2 (3d Cir. Jan.
23, 2015) (nonprecedential) (analyzing a malicious prosecution
claim against a police officer).
“initiated” the proceeding in satisfaction of this first
Plaintiff also has a timing problem. He appears to
argue that Defendant should have realized after arresting and
questioning him that there was no way he could have committed
the crime. Allegedly, Defendant has several photographs of the
bank robbery showing the robber’s hands, which Plaintiff viewed
after his arrest. See Pl.’s Br. 20; Martinez Dep. 25:12-27:14,
38:24-39:14. In addition, at some later point the eyewitnesses
were allegedly shown pictures of Plaintiff’s hands, prompting
them to deny that Plaintiff committed the crime. See Martinez
Dep. 39:14-40:2. Finally, Plaintiff avers that the prosecutor
was not made aware of the skin condition until the first
hearing. Id. at 40:2-9. Unfortunately for Plaintiff, none of
these alleged occurrences vitiate probable cause at the time of
arrest, which is the critical moment of time in a malicious
prosecution claim.9 See, e.g., Zeglen v. Miller, No. 04-1940,
2008 WL 696940, at *10 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 12, 2008) (noting that “to
prevail on [a malicious prosecution] claim, [the plaintiff] must
Moreover, given Defendant’s lack of medical knowledge
of Plaintiff’s skin condition, it would not have been reasonable
for him to believe without further investigation whether and to
what degree the condition exculpated Plaintiff. See also supra
note 6. Plaintiff does not argue, nor can he, that Defendant
should have recognized the exculpatory effect of the skin
condition before the prosecutor decided to charge Plaintiff.
show that the officers lacked probable cause to arrest her.”
(alterations in original) (quoting Johnson v. Knorr, 477 F.3d
75, 82 (3d Cir. 2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Any
negligence that Defendant may have committed after the arrest
and after the prosecutor decided to charge Plaintiff may be
relevant to a claim of unlawful continued incarceration, but is
not relevant for his claim here.10 Accordingly, he has not
satisfied the first element of his malicious prosecution claim.
The remaining disputed elements in Plaintiff’s claim
may be dispatched with more quickly. Regarding the third
element--initiating a proceeding without probable cause--the
Court has already established that the circumstances surrounding
Plaintiff’s arrest support a finding of probable cause.
Therefore, Plaintiff has not satisfied the third element of his
malicious prosecution claim. See, e.g., Zeglen, 2008 WL 696940,
at *10. Finally, regarding the fourth element--a showing that
The Third Circuit has noted that the case law is not
settled on what post-arrest duty an investigating officer has to
inform the prosecutor of exculpatory evidence. See Wilson, 212
F.3d at 792 (declining to decide this issue, but holding that
“[r]egardless of the existence and scope of an officer’s duty to
seek to release a suspect when probable cause no longer exists,
or the level of knowledge that he or she must have in order to
trigger that duty, the interview with [a witness] clearly did
not dispel the earlier probable cause”). As the Wilson court
noted, the perceived quality (or lack thereof) of post-arrest
investigations do not automatically implicate due process
concerns either. See id. at 792 n.11 (quoting Baker, 443 U.S. at
Defendant “acted maliciously or for a purpose other than
bringing the plaintiff to justice,” DiBella, 407 F.3d at 601-Plaintiff offers no evidence at all. Plaintiff argues that
because the Affidavit was allegedly “devoid on its face of any
factual support,” this fact supports an inference of malice.
Pl.’s Br. 33. However, as already discussed at length, the
Affidavit and other circumstances surrounding Plaintiff’s arrest
support a finding of probable cause. Clearly, Plaintiff “has
offered no evidence beyond speculation and inference that
[Defendant] acted out of any motivation other than to
investigate the serious charges against him,” Zeglen, 2008 WL
696940, at *9, and he cannot satisfy the fourth element of his
malicious prosecution claim.11
Because Plaintiff cannot satisfy all the elements of
his malicious prosecution claim under § 1983, it must fail.
See also Domenech, 2009 WL 1109316, at *12 (“Finally,
even assuming a failure to disclose evidence that was
exculpatory in nature, Plaintiffs point to no evidence
suggesting that the failure was intentional or malicious.”);
Merrero v. Micewski, No. 96-8534, 1998 WL 414724, at *10 (E.D.
Pa. July 22, 1998) (“The fact that Plaintiff disputes some
aspects of [one defendant’s] account of his arrest is not
sufficient to create an inference that [defendants] acted
against Plaintiff with malice or for a purpose other than to
bring Plaintiff to justice.”).
Accordingly, the Court will grant summary judgment on this
State Law Claims
Pursuant to the discussion above, the Court will grant
summary judgment on and dismiss Plaintiff’s § 1983 claim (Count
I), which is the only claim based on federal law and on which
the Court had original jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The
state law claims that remain (Counts II-IV) “form part of the
same case or controversy” as the federal law claim and were
properly before the Court on the basis of supplemental
jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). However, though the Court
retains the “constitutional power” to adjudicate pendent state
law claims after a federal law claim has dropped out of a case,
it has full discretion whether to do so or not. Lentino v.
Fringe Emp. Plans, Inc., 611 F.2d 474, 478 (3d Cir. 1979); see
also 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). Given that the remaining claims
here are tort claims brought under Pennsylvania law, the Court
declines to exercise jurisdiction over them and will dismiss
Defendant also asserts a defense of qualified
immunity, which the Court has considered. See Def.’s Br. 9-11.
Because, as discussed above, Plaintiff has not shown that
Defendant violated any of his constitutional rights, he cannot
satisfy the first element in the Saucier qualified immunity
inquiry. See Saucier, 533 U.S. at 200. Defendant is therefore
entitled to qualified immunity. For this additional reason, the
Court will grant summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff’s
§ 1983 claim.
them without prejudice. See Zeglen, 2008 WL 696940, at *11
(noting that remaining claims were “simple tort claims under
well-settled Pennsylvania law” and declining to exercise
jurisdiction over them because “[f]ederal courts have no
interest in adjudicating such state-law claims”); Borough of W.
Mifflin v. Lancaster, 45 F.3d 780, 788 (3d Cir. 1995) (“[W]here
the claim over which the district court has original
jurisdiction is dismissed before trial, the district court must
decline to decide the pendent state claims unless considerations
of judicial economy, convenience, and fairness to the parties
provide an affirmative justification for doing so.”).
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will grant
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismiss all of
Plaintiff’s claims. An appropriate order follows.
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