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Forehand v. Elmore County

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

June 5, 2014

THORNTON FOREHAND, Plaintiff,
v.
ELMORE COUNTY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

W. HAROLD ALBRITTON, Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This action is before the court on Defendant Deputy C.S. Kearley's Partial Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Doc. # 7) filed on April 17, 2014, Defendant Elmore County's Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc. # 10) filed on April 17, 2014, and Defendant Elmore County Sheriff Department's Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc. # 12) filed on April 17, 2014.

Thornton Forehand ("Forehand") filed a Complaint in this case on March 24, 2014. The Complaint brings claims for a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 (Claim I), assault and battery under state law (Claim II), negligence under state law (Claim III), and wantonness under state law (Claim III).[1] The Complaint only expressly seeks monetary damages; the Plaintiff does not seek any injunctive relief.

For reasons to be discussed, all three motions are due to be GRANTED.

II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)

A Rule 12(b)(1) motion challenges the district court's subject-matter jurisdiction and takes one of two forms: a "facial attack" or a "factual attack." A "facial attack" on the complaint requires the court to assess whether the plaintiff has alleged a sufficient basis for subject-matter jurisdiction. Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d 1525, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990); Hayden v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ala., 855 F.Supp. 344, 347 (M.D. Ala. 1994). A "factual attack, " on the other hand, challenges the existence of subject-matter jurisdiction based on matters outside the pleadings. Lawrence, 919 F.2d at 1529.

B. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

The court accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as true, Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984), and construes the complaint in the plaintiff's favor, Duke v. Cleland, 5 F.3d 1399, 1402 (11th Cir. 1993). In analyzing the sufficiency of pleading, the court is guided by a two-prong approach: one, the court is not bound to accept conclusory statements of the elements of a cause of action and, two, where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to entitlement to relief. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). "[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need not contain "detailed factual allegations, " but instead the complaint must contain "only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. The factual allegations "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555.

III. FACTS

The Plaintiff alleges the following facts:

On March 29, 2012, Elmore County Sheriff's Deputy C.S. Kearley ("Kearley") attempted to arrest Plaintiff Forehand for criminal littering. While attempting to arrest Forehand, Kearley used excessive force, "causing injury and damage to the Plaintiff's ...


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