Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Section 1983 Civil Rights Complaint Dismissed Where Court Finds that Probable Cause Existed to Support the Police Officer's Actions

In the case of Raj v. Dickson City Borough, No. 3:17-692 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 14, 2020 Mannion, J.), the court addressed a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants in a §1983 civil rights action arising out of a traffic stop and a vehicle search that allegedly revealed cocaine in the vehicle. 

The Plaintiff brought §1983 claim for unreasonable search and seizure, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and municipal liability. 

After finding that there was probable cause to arrest the Plaintiff, the court dismissed each of the Plaintiff’s claims under §1983 for unlawful search and seizure, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and for municipal liability. The court noted that, where there was probable cause for the arrest, there was no constitutional violation such that the Plaintiff’s §1983 claims failed as a matter of law. 

The court also noted that there is no evidence presented that the police disregarded the truth in his application for an arrest warrant. Nor was there any evidence of additional information which would have confirmed that there was no probable cause to support the officer's actions. 

Given that there was no lack of probable cause in this matter to support the arrest warrant, the court also granted summary judgment on the Plaintiff’s supplemental state law claims based upon claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution. 

In the end, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the defense on these allegations in the Plaintiff’s Complaint and dismissed the matter. 

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney Patrick J. Murphy of the Scranton, PA office of Bardsley, Benedict & Scholden, LLP for bringing this case to my attention. 

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