United States District Court, D. Delaware
Brandon Troy Shoswell, Sussex Correctional Institution,
Georgetown, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.
STARKJ, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Brandon Troy Showell ("Plaintiff'), a pretrial
detainee at the Sussex Correctional Institution
("SCI") in Georgetown, Delaware, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 1) He appears
pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in
forma pauperis. (D.I. 4) On April 8, 2019, Plaintiff an
Amended Complaint adding claims. (D.I. 8) Plaintiff requests
counsel. (D.I. 6)
original Complaint (D.I. 1) alleges that on June 5, 2018,
Plaintiff was involved in a physical altercation with
Defendant State Police Trooper Tover Quintero
("Quintero") who tased Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges
that he advised Quintero that he had a heart condition but
Quintero ignored Plaintiffs pleas for medical attention and
instead, handed Plaintiff over to Defendant Trooper Perry
("Perry") to transport Plaintiff to Delaware State
Police Troop 5. Plaintiff alleges that he passed out in the
cruiser and later regained consciousness upon his arrival at
Troop 5. Plaintiff alleges that he was not provided any
medical attention before he was transferred to the SCI.
was arrested as a result of the June 5, 2018 incident and
charged with several felonies. Based upon the allegations in
the Amended Complaint (D.I. 8), it appears that his criminal
trial is pending. The Amended Complaint adds claims that
Defendants lacked probable cause to arrest Plaintiff on June
5, 2018, fabricated evidence, committed perjury, and used
false statements with regard to his arrest. Plaintiff bases
the allegations upon discovery received in the pending
criminal matter. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiffs Complaint and its
amendment alleges various constitutional violations,
including that Defendants arrested him without probable
cause, fabricated evidence, perjured themselves, and used
false statements with regard to his arrest, and also pleads
claims of excessive force and deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs. Section 1983 creates a private cause
of action to redress constitutional wrongs committed by state
officials. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To establish § 1983
liability, a plaintiff must prove a deprivation of a
"right secured by the Constitution and the laws of the
United States ... by a person acting under color of state
law." Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199, 1204 (3d
Cir. 1996) (internal quotation marks omitted).
ultimate success of some of Plaintiffs claims requires that
he show Defendants lacked probable cause to arrest him.
See, e.g., Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628,
634 (3d Cir. 1995) (requiring § 1983 plaintiff to
demonstrate lack of probable cause to prove false arrest
claim); Koss/er v. Crisanti, 564 F.3d 181, 186 (3d
Cir. 2009) (requiring that § 1983 plaintiff bringing
malicious prosecution claim show that "the proceeding
was initiated without probable cause"). This
determination is complicated by the present procedural
posture of Plaintiffs criminal prosecution. "[T]f a
plaintiff files a false arrest claim before he has been
convicted ... it is within the power of the district court,
and in accord with common practice to stay the civil action
until the criminal case . . . has ended." Wallace v.
Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 393-94 (2007). Given the importance
of the question of probable cause in Plaintiffs pending
criminal case and in the instant civil case, the Court will
stay these proceedings. Not doing so would cause the Court to
inappropriately "speculate about whether [the]
prosecution . . . will result in a conviction, and whether
the impending civil action will impugn that verdict. . .
." Id. at 393.
Plaintiffs request for counsel will be denied without
prejudice to renew as premature. (D.I. 6) Plaintiff may renew
his request when the stay is lifted.
above reasons, the Court will: (1) deny Plaintiffs request
for counsel without prejudice to renew (D.I. 6); and (2) stay
this matter pending final resolution of die criminal
proceedings mat form the basis of this complaint. Plaintiff
will be ...