BROWN v. MCGLYNN et al
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE THOMAS N. ONEILL, JR ON 5/18/15. 5/18/15 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE.(gs)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
HELEN FITZPATATRICK, et al.
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Plaintiff Raymond Brown brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Helen
Fitzpatrick (identified in the caption as Helen Fitzpatatrick), Joseph McGlynn, Frederick Buck,
Thomas Fitzpatrick, Richard Crawford, Austin Fraser, Jason Potts, Lt. Bennis, Lt. David Van,
and Lt. Michael Young. He seeks to proceed in forma pauper is. For the following reasons, the
Court will grant plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss his complaint for failure
to state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
Ms. Fitzpatrick and Mr. McGlynn are Assistant District Attorneys who prosecuted several
criminal cases against plaintiff in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. 1 Plaintiff alleges
that those defendants prosecuted criminal charges against him without probable cause and
violated his right to a fair trial by proffering the false testimony of Buck and Fitzpatrick, Officers
of the Philadelphia Police Department in the Swat Unit, and another individual. Plaintiff alleges
that Buck and Fitzpatrick filed a false complaint with internal affairs "about discharge of [a]
The complaint references several criminal cases in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas:
CP-51-13921-2011; CP-51-13922-2011; CP-51-13923-2011; CP-51-13924-2011; CP-51-139252011; CP-51-13926-2011; CP-51-13927-2011; CP-51-13928-2011; CP-51-13929-2011; CP-5113930-2011. The dockets for those cases reflect that plaintiff was acquitted in several, but not
all, of those cases.
police fire arm" in addition to testifying falsely against him at trial. He further alleges that
defendants Potts, Crawford, Fraser, and Bennis, who are also officers in the swat unit, failed to
arrest and/or investigate Buck and Fitzpatrick in the wake of their behavior. Likewise, plaintiff
contends that defendants Van and Young, officers in the Internal Affairs Division, failed to "take
actions against the swat unit for making false reports on paper and to the courts under oath."
Based on those allegations, plaintiff initiated this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He
seeks a declaratory judgment that his rights have been violated, an injunction disbarring the
prosecutors and removing the officers from their jobs, and punitive damages from all of the
defendants except for the prosecutors.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court grants plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the complaint if it fails to state a
claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the
same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to
determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(quotations omitted). As plaintiff is proceeding prose, the Court will construe his allegations
liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff's claims against Crawford, Fraser, Potts, Bennis, Van, and Young fail because those
defendants' failure to investigate the alleged constitutional violations of Buck and Fitzpatrick
and/or their failure to arrest Buck and Fitzpatrick in the wake of their conduct does not establish
independent basis for a constitutional claim. See Aruanno v. Fishman, 443 F. App'x 679, 680-81
(3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam) ("[B]ecause Aruanno does not have a legally cognizable interest in
compelling federal prosecutors to investigate or prosecute alleged violations of his rights, the
complaint was properly dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.")
(citing Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973)); Graw v. Fantasky, 68 F. App'x 378,
383 (3d Cir. 2003) ("[A]n allegation of a failure to investigate, without another recognizable
constitutional right, is not sufficient to sustain a section 1983 claim." (quotations omitted)).
Plaintiffs request for declaratory relief also fails because declaratory judgment is unavailable
"solely to adjudicate past conduct" or "to proclaim that one party is liable to another." Corliss v
O'Brien, 200 F. App'x 80, 84 (3d Cir. 2006) (per curiam); see also Andela v. Administrative
Office of US Courts, 569 F. App'x 80, 83 (3d Cir. 2014) (per curiam). Likewise, plaintiff is not
entitled to injunctive relief to remedy past violations of his rights. See Blakeney v. Marisco, 340
F. App'x 778, 780 (3d Cir. 2009) (per curiam) ("Even if defendants violated Blakeney's rights in
the past as he alleges, he does not allege that he has any reason to believe that he might suffer
such treatment in the future.") (citing City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, 461 U.S. 95, 101-110
(1983)). Finally, plaintiffs remaining claim for damages against Buck and Fitzpatrick are
barred by absolute witness immunity. Briscoe v. LaHue, 460 U.S. 325, 326 (1983). In the event
plaintiff also intended to bring a claim against the officers for their alleged filing of a false report
to internal affairs, it is not clear how any report to internal affairs could have violated plaintiffs
For the foregoing reasons, plaintiffs complaint will be dismissed with prejudice for failure to
state a claim. Plaintiff will not be permitted to file an amended complaint because amendment
would be futile. An appropriate order follows.
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