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Gwynn v. City of Philadelphia

United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

June 19, 2013

MICHAEL GWYNN; BRENDON RYAN, Appellants.
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA; CHARLES RAMSEY; PATRICK KELLY; MELVIN SINGLETON; SALVATORE FEDE; FRANK PALOMBO

Argued April 16, 2013

On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 11-cv-01128) District Judge: Honorable Robert E. Kelly

Brian M. Puricelli [ARGUED] Law Offices of Brian Puricelli Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellants.

Kelly S. Diffily Jane L. Istvan [ARGUED] Shant H. Zakarian City of Philadelphia Law Department Attorneys for Defendant-Appellees.

Before: AMBRO, HARDIMAN and COWEN, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

HARDIMAN, Circuit Judge.

City of Philadelphia Police Officers Michael Gwynn and Brendon Ryan appeal a summary judgment entered in favor of several of their fellow officers and the City. Appellants asserted constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, statutory claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and various state law claims. For the reasons that follow, we will affirm the judgment of the District Court.

I

As this appeal comes to us following summary judgment, we review the facts in the light most favorable to Appellants. See Montone v. City of Jersey City, 709 F.3d 181, 189 (3d Cir. 2013).

A

On December 15, 2009, while on duty, Appellants stopped and frisked men they believed were engaged in an illegal drug transaction. One of the men they frisked, Keyshawn Artis, accused Appellants of stealing money from him. Appellants denied the accusation, and told Artis to "move along."

When Appellants returned to headquarters, a superior officer, Sergeant Salvatore Fede, ordered them into his office. After informing Appellants that a complaint about their behavior had been made to the Internal Affairs Bureau, Sergeant Fede took Appellants to Captain Melvin Singleton's office. Appellants did not feel free to leave because they had been "ordered to be in the captain's office." App. 285. After waiting fifteen to twenty minutes, Appellants and Sergeant Fede were joined by Captain Singleton, then-Sergeant Patrick Kelly, and Lieutenant Frank Palumbo.

Appellants were instructed to stay in Captain Singleton's office until officers from the Internal Affairs Bureau arrived. While Appellants waited, Captain Singleton offered them water and told them that they could watch television, but instructed them not to use their cell phones. Appellants then were questioned about their interaction with Artis, including whether they had taken money from him. In that regard, Appellants were asked to remove their jackets and Gwynn was asked to remove his outer vest. Appellants also were told to pull out their pockets, pull up their pant legs and pull down their socks, and open their wallets. Finally, Appellants were told that cooperation would be in their "best interest" insofar as it could demonstrate to Internal Affairs that they did not have Artis's money when they returned from their patrol. During the hour or so they spent in Captain Singleton's office while awaiting the arrival of Internal Affairs officers, Appellants did as they were told because the orders came from their "superiors and supervisors, " and they feared "discipline and possible loss of employment" if they disobeyed. App. 241.

Upon their arrival at Captain Singleton's office, two Internal Affairs officers questioned Appellants for about fifteen to twenty minutes and then left briefly to talk to Artis, the complainant. Appellants were told to stay put until the Internal Affairs officers returned after speaking with Artis. As Appellants waited, Gwynn asked for permission to call his wife to arrange for her to pick up their son, and then-Sergeant Kelly granted permission. The Internal Affairs officers returned, stated that they believed Artis, and told Appellants that they were not needed for anything further that day. ...


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