Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., No. 2:13–cv–00070.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
Writing for the CourtMARK R. HORNAK
Citation979 F.Supp.2d 612
PartiesAngelica DAVILA, Plaintiff, v. NORTHERN REGIONAL JOINT POLICE BOARD, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. 2:13–cv–00070.
Decision Date21 October 2013

979 F.Supp.2d 612

Angelica DAVILA, Plaintiff,
v.
NORTHERN REGIONAL JOINT POLICE BOARD, et al., Defendants.

No. 2:13–cv–00070.

United States District Court,
W.D. Pennsylvania.

Oct. 21, 2013.


[979 F.Supp.2d 620]


Sara Rose, ACLU, Witold J. Walczak, ACLF of PA, Emily McNally, Thomas J. Farrell, Farrell & Reisinger LLC, Pittsburgh, PA, for Plaintiff.

Sheryl L. Brown, Andrew J. Bellwoar, Siana, Bellwoar and McAndrew, LLP, Chester Springs, PA, for Defendants.


OPINION

MARK R. HORNAK, District Judge.

Angelica Davila (“Ms. Davila”) filed this suit alleging the violation of her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, actionable via 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the authority of Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971). She alleges that the Northern Regional Joint Police Board, two Northern Regional Joint Police Board officers, a Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, and the Allegheny County Jail violated her federal constitutional rights in conjunction with a traffic stop which she generally asserts was based on her Hispanic heritage and led to her seizure and custody without probable cause.

Pending before the Court are three (3) Motions to Dismiss for failure to state a claim, the first filed by Defendants Northern Regional Joint Police Board, Patrolman Andrew Bienemann, and Sergeant John Sicilia (collectively, “Local Police Defendants”), (ECF No. 60), the second filed by Defendant Allegheny County, (ECF No. 62), and the third filed by Defendant Special Agent Brianna Tetrault of United

[979 F.Supp.2d 621]

States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) (ECF No. 66). Each Defendant seeks to have all claims against them dismissed. Having considered the Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) 1, ECF No. 55, the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, ECF Nos. 60, 62, and 66, the respective Briefs in Support of those Motions, ECF Nos. 61, 63, and 68, Plaintiff's Responses, ECF Nos. 70 and 78, Defendants' Reply Briefs, ECF Nos. 73, 81, and Plaintiff's Sur–Reply Brief, ECF No. 76, the Local Police Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part, Allegheny County's Motion is granted, and Special Agent Tetrault's Motion is granted.2

I. BACKGROUND AND FACTS

When considering a Motion to Dismiss filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true the factual allegations in the Complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in the Plaintiff's favor. Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir.2011). For the purposes of the disposition of Defendants' Motions to Dismiss, the essential facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, are as follows.

The Plaintiff is a United States citizen who was born in Mexico.3 SAC ¶ 13. She legally immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her parents when she was two years old and became a lawful permanent resident at the age of 16. Id. ¶¶ 18, 21. She has lived in the Pittsburgh area for five years. Id. ¶ 14.

On January 22, 2011, Ms. Davila drove with her friend Joel Garrete (“Mr. Garrete”) as a passenger to a Mexican grocery store in Pine Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Id. ¶¶ 28, 30. Around 5:45 p.m., Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete drove out of the grocery store parking lot onto Perry Highway. Id. ¶ 29. Ms. Davila had driven approximately 250 feet on the highway when Defendant Officer Andrew Bienemann (“Officer Bienemann”), who had been sitting in his patrol car in a parking lot adjacent to the Mexican grocery store, pulled Davila over. Id. ¶¶ 31–35. Officer Bienemann informed Ms. Davila that he

[979 F.Supp.2d 622]

had stopped her because her headlights were off. Id. ¶ 36. He then asked Ms. Davila for her driver's license, proof of registration, and insurance. Id. ¶ 36. Ms. Davila, a licensed Pennsylvania driver, provided all three. Id. ¶¶ 16, 37. Officer Bienemann then asked for identification from Mr. Garrete. Id. ¶¶ 39. Since Mr. Garrete did not speak English, Officer Bienemann asked Ms. Davila to act as a translator for him, and she obliged. Id. ¶¶ 40–42. As identification, Mr. Garrete gave Officer Bienemann a pay stub showing his address. Id. ¶¶ 44–45. Officer Bienemann asked Mr. Garrete whether he was legally present in the United States, and Mr. Garrete replied that he was not. Id. ¶¶ 46–47. Officer Bienemann then walked to his patrol car and requested that the police department's dispatcher check the immigration statuses of both Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). Id. ¶ 49.

After about twenty minutes, Officer Bienemann returned to Ms. Davila's car and told her and Mr. Garrete that he was waiting for a call back from ICE. Id. ¶¶ 54–55. Eventually, Defendant Special Agent Tetrault (“Agent Tetrault”) returned Officer Bienemann's call and asked to speak to Ms. Davila. Id. ¶ 57. Officer Bienemann gave Ms. Davila his cellular phone, and she provided Agent Tetrault with her name, date of birth, and country of origin. Id. ¶¶ 58–59. She also told Agent Tetrault that she was a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Id. ¶ 60.4 Agent Tetrault asked Ms. Davila to act as a translator for Mr. Garrete, and Ms. Davila agreed. Id. ¶¶ 63–64. Agent Tetrault then asked Officer Bienemann to detain Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete and take them to the Allegheny County Jail “if possible.” Id. ¶ 67. She instructed Officer Bienemann that she would execute immigration detainers for Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete and fax them to Officer Bienemann's local police station. Id. ¶ 68. Defendant Sergeant John Sicilia (“Sergeant Siclia”) then appeared on the scene and, according to Ms. Davila, approved Agent Tetrault's request and asked Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete to step out of the car. Id. ¶¶ 69–70. Sergeant Siclia asked Ms. Davila if there was anyone she could call to pick up her car. Id. ¶ 70. Officer Bienemann then handcuffed Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete, placed them in his patrol car, and transported them to the Northern Regional Police Department station. Id. ¶ 71. This occurred approximately two (2) hours after Officer Bienemann initially pulled Ms. Davila's car over. Id. ¶ 71.

At the local police station, Ms. Davila asked why she was being held, and was told that ICE had instructed Officer Bienemann to detain her. Id. ¶ 73. Ms. Davila advised local police that she was legally present in the United States, worked in Pittsburgh, and had applied for a certificate showing her United States citizenship. Id. ¶ 74. She and Mr. Garrete were then held at the police station for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. Id. ¶ 85. Meanwhile, Agent Tetrault signed detainers for Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete and faxed them to the police station. Id. ¶ 77. The detainer for Ms. Davila misspelled her last name as Devila–Gareoa.5Id. ¶ 78.

[979 F.Supp.2d 623]

Officer Bienemann then transported Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete to the Allegheny County Jail (“Jail”), where Ms. Davila was imprisoned on an “immigration hold.” Id. ¶¶ 86, 97. At the Jail, Ms. Davila's wristband misspelled her name as “Devila–Garcca,” and she attempted to inform several guards that the name on her wristband was wrong. Id. ¶¶ 101–102.

After taking Ms. Davila and Mr. Garrete to the Jail, Officer Bienemann contacted his local police dispatcher, who told him that ICE Special Agent Jason Kenwood (“Agent Kenwood”) wished to speak with him. Id. ¶ 87. Agent Kenwood asked Officer Bienemann to view a photo which Kenwood sent to Bienemann on his e-mail and to confirm to Kenwood whether or not the photo was that of Ms. Davila. Id. ¶ 88. Officer Bienemann did so and advised Agent Kenwood that the woman in the photo was Ms. Davila. Id. ¶¶ 89. Agent Kenwood told Officer Bienemann that a mistake had been made regarding Ms. Davila's identity and that she may have been incorrectly detained. Id. ¶ 90. Agent Kenwood stated that he would contact Agent Tetrault and notify her of the error. Id. ¶ 91. At 9:50 p.m., Officer Bienemann received confirmation from ICE that Ms. Davila was legally present in the United States. Id. ¶ 92. However, he took no steps to have Ms. Davila released from the Jail. Id. ¶ 93. At 7:30 a.m. the next morning, Ms. Davila was told that ICE had “changed its mind,” and she was released from the Allegheny County Jail. Id. ¶ 94, 120.

Ms. Davila filed suit in this Court on January 15, 2013 against the above-named Defendants. She uses 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to bring the following claims against the Local Police Defendants in their official and individual capacities and Allegheny County: 6

1) Against Officer Bienemann, Ms. Davila asserts two Fourth Amendment “unreasonable seizure” claims, one based on her claim that Officer Bienemann lacked probable cause to detain her, and the other based on her claim that Officer Bienemann caused an unlawful immigration detainer to issue against her. Ms. Davila also brings a Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim against Officer Bienemann asserting that he detained her based on her Hispanic ethnicity, and Fourth Amendment “unreasonable seizure” and “false imprisonment” claims on the basis that Officer Bienemann unlawfully imprisoned her on an immigration detainer. Finally, Ms. Davila brings a Fourth Amendment “false imprisonment” claim against Officer Bienemann, maintaining that he owed her a duty to inform the Allegheny County Jail that she had been incorrectly detained.

[979 F.Supp.2d 624]

2) Against Sergeant Sicilia, Ms. Davila brings a Fourth Amendment “unreasonable seizure” claim for approving her transfer to the Allegheny County Jail on the immigration detainer.

3) Against the Northern Regional Joint Police Board, Ms. Davila asserts two Fourth Amendment “unreasonable seizure” claims, on the basis that both her allegedly unlawful detention and her transfer to the Allegheny County Jail resulted from an unconstitutional custom, policy, or practice of the Police Board. Ms. Davila also brings a Fourteenth...

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17 practice notes
  • Davila v. United States, Civil Action Nos. 2:14–070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 28, 2017
    ...stage in No. 13–cv–70. See No. 13–cv–70, ECF No. 84 at 27–28; see also Davila v. Northern Regional Joint Police Bd. ( Davila I ) , 979 F.Supp.2d 612, 636–37 (W.D.Pa.2013). Davila subsequently incorporated the information referenced here into her Complaint against the United States in No. 14......
  • Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., 2:13-cv-00070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • February 27, 2019
    ...a lengthy opinion addressing the Defendants' motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd. , 979 F.Supp.2d 612 (W.D. Pa. 2013) (" Davila I "). That Opinion was later vacated in part on further consideration. No. 13-70, 2014 WL 3735631 (W.D. Pa. July 28......
  • Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-00070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • July 28, 2014
    ...Brianna Tetrault ("Agent Tetrault") under the doctrine of qualified immunity. See ECF No. 84; Davila v. N. Joint Reg'l Police Bd., 979 F.Supp.2d 612 (W.D. Pa. 2013) . Then, on January 16, 2014, Ms. Davila filed suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.......
  • Roamingwood Sewer & Water Ass'n v. Nat'l Diversified Sales, Inc., Civil No. 1:20-CV-00640
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • December 21, 2020
    ...They also "may not serve as an avenue to procure the dismissal of all or part of a complaint." Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd. , 979 F. Supp. 2d 612, 624 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 21, 2013), vacated in part on reconsideration , 2014 WL 3735631, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102143 (July 28, 2014) (citing ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Davila v. United States, Civil Action Nos. 2:14–070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • March 28, 2017
    ...stage in No. 13–cv–70. See No. 13–cv–70, ECF No. 84 at 27–28; see also Davila v. Northern Regional Joint Police Bd. ( Davila I ) , 979 F.Supp.2d 612, 636–37 (W.D.Pa.2013). Davila subsequently incorporated the information referenced here into her Complaint against the United States in No. 14......
  • Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., 2:13-cv-00070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • February 27, 2019
    ...a lengthy opinion addressing the Defendants' motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd. , 979 F.Supp.2d 612 (W.D. Pa. 2013) (" Davila I "). That Opinion was later vacated in part on further consideration. No. 13-70, 2014 WL 3735631 (W.D. Pa. July 28......
  • Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd., Civil Action No. 2:13-cv-00070
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. Western District of Pennsylvania
    • July 28, 2014
    ...Brianna Tetrault ("Agent Tetrault") under the doctrine of qualified immunity. See ECF No. 84; Davila v. N. Joint Reg'l Police Bd., 979 F.Supp.2d 612 (W.D. Pa. 2013) . Then, on January 16, 2014, Ms. Davila filed suit against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.......
  • Roamingwood Sewer & Water Ass'n v. Nat'l Diversified Sales, Inc., Civil No. 1:20-CV-00640
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Pennsylvania
    • December 21, 2020
    ...They also "may not serve as an avenue to procure the dismissal of all or part of a complaint." Davila v. N. Reg'l Joint Police Bd. , 979 F. Supp. 2d 612, 624 (W.D. Pa. Oct. 21, 2013), vacated in part on reconsideration , 2014 WL 3735631, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102143 (July 28, 2014) (citing ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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