Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Barr v. Jefferson County Barber Commission

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

April 25, 2017

GETA BARR, Plaintiff,
v.
THE JEFFERSON COUNTY BARBER COMMISSION, FLORENCE JOHNSON, TRINA PAULDING, THE CITY OF CENTER POINT, THOMAS HENDERSON, and JOHN WATKINS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Geta Barr (“Ms. Barr”) initiated this action on July 18, 2016, in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama, alleging constitutional violations associated with the closure of her business and revocation and non-renewal of her business licenses. (Doc. 1-1). On August 17, 2016, this case was removed to federal court. (Doc. 1). On September 26, 2016, three defendants, the Jefferson County Barber Commission (“JCBC”), Florence Johnson (“Ms. Johnson”), and Trina Paulding (“Ms. Paulding”) (collectively and for the purposes of this opinion only, the “Defendants”), filed a Motion To Dismiss.[1] (Doc. 4).

         On September 27, 2016, Ms. Barr filed a Motion To Remand (doc. 7), to which the removing defendants responded on September 30, 2016 (doc. 9). The case was re-assigned to the undersigned on November 14, 2016, and on November 18, 2016, this Court denied the Motion To Remand and ordered briefing on the Motion To Dismiss. Defendants responded on November 28, 2016 (doc. 20), and Ms. Barr replied on December 5, 2016 (doc. 22). The Motion To Dismiss is now under submission.

         For the reasons stated herein, the Motion To Dismiss will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         II. STANDARD[2]

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion attacks the legal sufficiency of the complaint. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (“[A] party may assert the following defenses by motion: (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted[.]”). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that the complaint provide “‘a short and plain statement of the claim' that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 103, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957) (footnote omitted) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)), abrogated by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a) (setting forth general pleading requirements for a complaint including providing “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”).

         While a plaintiff must provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief, Rule 8 does not mandate the inclusion of “detailed factual allegations” within a complaint. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964 (quoting Conley, 355 U.S. at 47, 78 S.Ct. at 103). However, at the same time, “it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). “[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563, 127 S.Ct. at 1969.

         “[A] court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Id. “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. (emphasis added). “Under Twombly's construction of Rule 8 . . . [a plaintiff's] complaint [must] ‘nudge[] [any] claims' . . . ‘across the line from conceivable to plausible.' Ibid.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680, 129 S.Ct. at 1950-51.

         A claim is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965).

         III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT

         The following pertinent factual allegations appear as stated in the Complaint:

5. Plaintiff, Geta Barr, is an individual over the age of nineteen and [is a] resident citizen of Jefferson County, Alabama who at all times pertinent to this Complaint was the majority member of Maxi Tax Resource LLC d/b/a Barr Sisters Barber & Style Shop I and d/b/a Barr Sisters Barber & Style Shop II; and was a licensee of the Jefferson County Barber Commission licensed to operate a barber shop and work as a journey barber in Jefferson County, Alabama.
6. Defendant, the Jefferson County Barber Commission, is a county governmental entity comprised of three elected Commissioners with the power and authority to promulgate and enforce reasonable rules of sanitation and reasonable regulations for the conduct of barbers and barber shops within the territorial limits of Jefferson County, Alabama.
7. Defendant, Florence Johnson, is an individual over the age of nineteen and a resident citizen of Jefferson County, Alabama who at all times pertinent to this complaint was a Commissioner and Chairman of the Jefferson County Barber Commission. This Defendant is sued in both her official capacity and in her individual capacity.
8. Defendant, Trina Paulding, is an individual over the age of nineteen and a resident citizen of Jefferson County, Alabama who at all time pertinent to this complaint was an Inspector of the Jefferson County Barber Commission with the power and authority to arrest persons guilty of violating health and sanitations laws or having violated the printed rules and adopted regulations of the Jefferson County Barber Commission. This Defendant is sued in both her official capacity and in her individual capacity.
14. Plaintiff, Geta Barr, (hereinafter BARR) originates from Kingston Jamaica and by trade is a hair-stylist. After immigrating to the United States and spending a few years in Miami, Florida, working as a hair-stylist, BARR settled in Center Point, Alabama.
15. BARR obtained her cosmetology license from the Alabama State Board of Cosmetology as well as her journey barber and barber shop licenses from the Jefferson County Barber Commission. She also obtain[ed] her business license from the City of Center Point, and on or about February 10, 2009, Barr open[ed] a beauty salon / barber shop located at 1849 Center Point Parkway, Center Point, AL 35215, called Barr Sisters Barber & Style Shop.
16. Over the years BARR's business prospered and in January of 2014 she obtained another business license from the City of Center Point and open[ed] a barber shop located at 1687 Center Point Parkway, Center Point, Alabama 35215, called Barr Sisters Barber & Style Shop II.
17. BARR continue[ed] to operate both of her hair salons uneventfully until on or about August 19, 2014 when Trina Paulding (hereinafter PAULDING), an inspector and employee of the Jefferson County Barber Commission (hereinafter Commission), wrote BARR a Citation for Violation for allegedly having three (3) student barbers working without having a journey barber present to supervise their activities.
18. Inspector PAULDING summarily levie[d] a fine in the amount of $50 for the alleged violation of the Commission's printed rules and demand[ed] that BARR pay the fine by August 25, 2014 before 2 p.m.
19. On or about August 21, 2014, Kay Wallace, (hereinafter WALLACE), another inspector and employee of the Commission, returned to BARR's business and issued her another Citation for Violation for, again, allegedly having student barbers working without a journey barber present and levie[d] another fine in the amount [of] $50, but WALLACE d[id] not indicate when the amount was due to be paid.
20. BARR did not pay the $100 in Commission fines by August 25, 2014.
21. On August 25, 2014, inspector PAULDING returned and issued BARR another Citation for Violation demanding she appear before the Commission on August 26, 2014 at 9:00 A.M. to provide names of all the students working in her shop and stating that a failure to report would result in the closing of her barber shop. However, no mention was made in the Citation of any fines.
22. On August 26, 2014, BARR appeared at a regular meeting before the Commission. At the meeting BARR requested to have her attorney present before she answered any questions pertaining to her business. The Commission agreed and allowed BARR to return the following week on September 3, 2014 with her attorney.
23. Notwithstanding the Commission's express agreement to re-schedule the meeting, after BARR left, they sent inspector PAULDING to shut down both of BARR's places of business located in Center Point, Alabama.
24. On August 26, 2014, PAULDING enlisted the assistance of the Mayor of Center Point, Thomas Henderson, (hereinafter HENDERSON) who was reportedly more than happy to chain and lock the doors to BARR's businesses.
25. On August 26, 2014, HENDERSON dispatched John Wood, (hereinafter WOOD) a laborer with the City Inspection Department, along with six (6) police cruisers to evict everyone and chain-lock the doors to both of her businesses located at 1849 Center Point Pkwy address and1687 Center Point Pkwy.
26. After shutting down both of her businesses, WOOD issued BARR a Notice of Violation from the City of Center Point for allegedly operating a business in the City Limits without a license.
27. On September 3, 2014, BARR returned with her attorney to the Commission to resume her meeting. At its conclusion, the Commission assessed BARR with a fine in the total amount of $250 and required her to sign a document stating that she would comply with rules and regulations of the Commission.
28. BARR did not admit fault but agreed to sign the document and returned later that afternoon to make payment in full.
29. On or about September 4, 2015, the City of Center Point removed the chains and locks from to BARR's business doors and allowed her to her to re-open at both locations.
30. On or about September 12, 2014, BARR received a notice in the mail from the City of Center Point advising her that a Public Hearing had been set for October 9, 2014 to “discuss the revocation of her business licenses.” 31. On or about October 9, 2014, BARR appeared at the City of Center Point Public Hearing with her attorney and provided documentary proof that she had proper business and occupational licenses to operate a barber shop in the City of Center Point.
32. Upon seeing BARR was in compliance with their licensing ordinance, and without providing BARR prior notice of any other allegations affecting her business licenses, the City Council then questioned BARR about various signs on her buildings and then verbally demanded that she make application for certain sign permits and/or remove other signs from her buildings. The council then gave BARR until October 17, 2014, to comply with the City's signage ordinance.
33. Prior to October 17, 2014, BARR complied with the City's demands by applying and paying for certain sign permits and removing other allegedly ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.