Dismissal of claims against a Pennsylvania city and a police officer.
In this civil rights litigation, we obtained summary judgment and the dismissal of all claims against a Pennsylvania City and one of its police officers. The court found that the traffic stop of the plaintiff was proper and did not violate his constitutional rights. The plaintiff filed a federal civil rights action against the police officer and the City, alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated because of unlawful search and seizure as well as a malicious prosecution. The plaintiff further alleged that the City was liable for the constitutional violation based upon a failure to train its officers. These claims were based, in part, upon the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Commonwealth v. Hicks, which was filed approximately two months before the plaintiff’s arrest. In this civil rights case, the parties agree to forego discovery and instead rely solely upon the record developed in the plaintiff’s state criminal prosecution. After considering the record evidence, the arguments of each side, and the motions and briefs submitted, the District Court issued an opinion finding that the police officer possessed a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, justifying the traffic stop of the plaintiff’s vehicle. Because the court concluded that the plaintiff’s constitutional rights had not been violated, an analysis of qualified immunity was unnecessary. Finally, after finding that the officer did not violate the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, the court dismissed the Monell claims raised against the City.