616 Fed.Appx. 521 (3rd Cir. 2015), 13-3704, Tripodi v. North Coventry Township

Docket Nº:13-3704
Citation:616 Fed.Appx. 521
Opinion Judge:PER CURIAM
Attorney:JOSEPHINE M. TRIPODI, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Philadelphia, PA. For TOWNSHIP OF NORTH COVENTRY, Defendant - Appellee: Andrew J. Bellwoar, Esq., Siana, Bellwoar & McAndrew, Chester Springs, PA.
Judge Panel:Before: GREENAWAY, JR., SCIRICA and RENDELL, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:October 06, 2015
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Page 521

616 Fed.Appx. 521 (3rd Cir. 2015)




No. 13-3704

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

October 6, 2015

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) October 1, 2015.


Editorial Note:

This opinion is not regarded as Precedents which bind the court under Third Circuit Internal Operating Procedure Rule 5.7. (See Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure Rule 32.1)

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. Civil Action No. 2:12-cv-04156). District Judge: Honorable Juan R. Sánchez.

JOSEPHINE M. TRIPODI, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Philadelphia, PA.

For TOWNSHIP OF NORTH COVENTRY, Defendant - Appellee: Andrew J. Bellwoar, Esq., Siana, Bellwoar & McAndrew, Chester Springs, PA.

Before: GREENAWAY, JR., SCIRICA and RENDELL, Circuit Judges.

Page 522



Josephine M. Tripodi appeals from the order of the District Court granting Defendant's motion to dismiss her complaint. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the judgment of the District Court.

Because we write primarily for the parties, who are familiar with the history and facts of the case, and because the District Court's August 8, 2013 memorandum opinion contains a detailed account, we will recount the events in summary fashion.

Tripodi owns a residential rental property in North Coventry Township, Pennsylvania (" the Township" ). In 2007, the Township conducted an inspection of Tripodi's property. Upon inspection, the Township discovered multiple building and health code violations. As a result, Tripodi was asked to remediate the code violations.

In November 2007, after the violations persisted, the Township filed a civil action against Tripodi in the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. In February 2008, the Township filed in that case a motion to enjoin all residential use of the property on grounds that the unabated code violations presented a risk to the safety of its residents.

In April 2008, the Common Pleas Court entered an order memorializing an agreement between the Township and Tripodi which established a schedule for her correction of the code violations. After Tripodi failed to satisfy her obligations under that agreement, the Common Pleas Court entered an order holding Tripodi in contempt of court. On August 26, 2009, following additional litigation in the case, the Common Pleas Court entered final judgment against Tripodi and ordered the sale of the property.

In July 2010, Tripodi filed an action in the District Court against the Township.1 Counts I, II, III and VII of the complaint alleged violations under Pennsylvania state law. Counts IV, V, and VI were brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and allege violations of rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.2 The Township filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Upon review, the District Court granted the motion. This appeal followed.3

Page 523

We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We exercise plenary review over the District Court's order dismissing Tripodi's complaint. Jones v. ABN Amro Mortg. Grp., Inc., 606 F.3d 119, 123 (3d Cir. 2010). To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), " a complaint must contain 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A plaintiff must plead " factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. We may affirm the judgment of the District Court on any basis supported by the record. See Murray v. Bledsoe, 650 F.3d 246, 247 (3d Cir. 2011) (per curiam).

Count IV alleged generally that the Township deprived Tripodi of her " civil rights" under § 1983 by refusing to consider the repairs and improvements that she has made to her property. A " local government may be sued under § 1983 only for acts implementing an official policy, practice or custom." Losch v. Borough of Parkesburg, Pa., 736 F.2d 903, 910 (3d Cir. 1984) (citing Monell v. N.Y. City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978)). " Thus, municipal liability attaches only when 'execution of a government's policy or custom . . . inflicts the injury.'" Bielevicz v. Dubinon, 915 F.2d 845, 850 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting Monell, 436 U.S. at 694).

Even assuming that Tripodi adequately alleged an underlying constitutional violation, we agree with the District Court that she failed to set forth facts from which the Court...

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