United States District Court, D. Delaware
BOOKER T. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
DETECTIVE BRADLEY CORDREY, et al., Defendants.
T. Martin, Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown,
Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
StephaniJ. Ballard, Esquire, Law Offices of StephaniJ.
Ballard, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants
Bradley Cordrey, Joel Diaz, and John Tyndall.
Michael F. McTaggart, Deputy Attorney General Deputy,
Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel
for Defendant Casey Ewart.
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Booker T. Martin ("Plaintiff'), an inmate at the
Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, Delaware filed
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 3) He
appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. Pending are Defendants'
motions to dismiss. (D.I. 16, 19) Because Plaintiff had taken
no action in the case, he was ordered to show cause why the
case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute.
Plaintiff responded to the show cause order and asks the
Court to deny the motions to dismiss. (D.I. 22) The Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will grant in part and deny in
part the motion to dismiss filed by Defendants detective
Bradley A. Cordrey ("Cordrey"), Cpl. Joel Diaz
("Diaz"), and Sgt. John Tyndall
("Tyndall"), will deny as premature without
prejudice to renew their motion for summary judgment, and
will grant Defendant Casey Ewart's Motion to dismiss.
complaint (D.I. 3) alleges that on August 9 and 10, 2014,
Plaintiff was arrested and charged with robbery, resisting
arrest, possession of a firearm during the commission of a
crime, tampering with evidence, and possession of a firearm
by a person prohibited. Plaintiff alleges that he was
acquitted. The Court takes judicial notice that Plaintiff was
convicted of all charges after a four-day jury trial, his
attorney filed a post-trial motion for judgment of acquittal,
it was granted by the Superior Court of the State of
Delaware, and all charges, except resisting arrest, were
dismissed. See Miller v. State, 150 A.3d 1193
(table), 2016 WL 6471899 (Del. Nov. 1, 2016).
raises the following claims: (1) Diaz violated his
constitutional rights when he tased Plaintiff twice and used
excessive force that caused physical damage to Plaintiffs
face and left elbow at the time of Plaintiffs arrest, and
Diaz did not seek medical care for him; (2) he was searched
by Tyndall without a search warrant or probable cause after
Plaintiff had already been searched and patted down by Diaz
who had taken money from Plaintiffs pockets; (3) Cordrey left
him overnight in a cold holding cell without water and
medical attention, Cordrey filed false charges, and Cordrey
perjured himself on the stand (apparently during Plaintiffs
criminal trial); (4) he was maliciously prosecuted by
attorney Ewart, and she conspired with Cordrey to support a
false arrest that was not supported by probable cause.
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Cordrey, Diaz, and Tyndall (collectively "Georgetown
Police Defendants") move to dismiss or, or in the
alternative for summary judgment, on the grounds that they
are immune from suit under the doctrine of qualified immunity
and/or the complaint fails to assert facts that could state a
claim beyond a purely speculative level. (D.I. 16, 17) Ewart
moves for dismissal on the grounds that the complaint fails
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, and she
has prosecutorial immunity. (D.I. 19, 20) Plaintiff opposes
the motions. (D.I. 22)
a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) requires the Court to accept as true all material
allegations of the complaint. See Spruill v. Gillis,
372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). "The issue is not
whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the
claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the
claims." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec.
Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1420 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Thus, the Court may grant such a
motion to dismiss only if, after "accepting all
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true, and
viewing them in the light most favorable to plaintiff,
plaintiff is not entitled to relief." Maio
v. Aetna, Inc., 221 F.3d 472, 481-82 (3d Cir. 2000)
(internal quotation marks omitted). A well-pleaded complaint
must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A
plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim
has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of
Shelby, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A
complaint may not dismissed, however, for imperfect
statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted.
See Id. at 346. "To survive a motion to
dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that 'raise
a right to relief above the speculative level on the
assumption that the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).'" Victaulic Co. v.
Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A claim is facially
plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. At bottom, "[t]he
complaint must state enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [each]
necessary element" of a plaintiffs claim. Wilkerson
v. New Media Tech. Charter Sch. Inc., 522 F.3d 315, 321
(3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court
is not obligated to accept as true "bald assertions,
" Morse v. Lower Merlon Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d
902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (internal quotation marks omitted),
"unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences,
" Schuylkill Energy Res., Inc. v. Pennsylvania Power
<& Eight Co., 113 F.3d 405, 417 (3d Cir. 1997),
or allegations that are "self-evidently false, "
Nam v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 69 (3d Cir. 1996).
initial matter, the Court finds it appropriate to consider
the Georgetown Police Defendants' exhibits without
converting their motion to dismiss to a motion for summary
judgment. Although courts generally consider only the
complaint, exhibits, and matters of public record in
adjudicating a motion to dismiss, an undisputedly authentic
document attached to the motion which forms the basis of a
plaintiffs claim may be considered without converting to a
summary judgment motion. See Pension Ben. Guar. Corp. v.
White Consol. Indus., Inc.,998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
1993). A document forms the basis of a claim if it is
"integral to or explicidy relied upon in the
complaint." In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec.
Litig., 114 F.3d at 1426. The allegations in the
complaint must be based on the document; but the document
does not need to be specifically cited in the complaint.
See Id. The main concern with such documents is
notice to the plaintiff, but this is not an issue when the
plaintiff has relied upon the document in drafting the
complaint. See Id. The Court may also take judicial
notice of another court's record without converting to a
summary judgment motion. See Pryor v. National Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n,288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002).
Georgetown Police Defendants' exhibits consists of a
Superior Court criminal docket, arrest warrant, police
reports, and a prisoner detention log - all of which will be
considered by the Court. (D.I. 17) The Court ...